By Philip Ellefson, Staff Writer
From THE BEACON
Just six days after the Chiles Center is packed for graduation, it will fill up again – this time for a visit from the Dalai Lama.
On May 9, the Dalai Lama will be the keynote speaker for an interfaith event at UP hosted by Maitripa College, a small Buddhist institution in southeast Portland. Maitripa College is hosting the Dalai Lama’s trip to Portland from May 9-11.
According to Associate Vice President of University Relations Laurie Kelley, the college contacted UP six months ago, and planning for the Dalai Lama’s visit began last month.
The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, is the spiritual leader of about eight million Tibetan Buddhists.
Kelley said having a world leader on campus is a good opportunity for UP.
“It really positions the University of Portland as a leader in bringing these leaders to campus, and I think we provide great hospitality,” Kelley said.
She also said the Dalai Lama’s visit establishes Portland as a serious, global city.
“I love ‘Portlandia,’ but I’m not just about keeping Portland weird.” Kelley said. “This brings world renown to our city.”
The Dalai Lama’s visit to Portland will focus on environmental issues. He will lead an interfaith discussion on campus called “Spirituality and the Environment.” Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana of Portland’s Congregation Beth Israel and Imam Mohammad Najieb of the Muslim Community Center of Portland, as well as other religious leaders, will join the discussion.
Later in the day, he will give a talk called “Universal Responsibility and the Inner Environment: the Nature of Mind.”
The Dalai Lama visited UP in 2001, when he sold out two sessions in the Chiles Center. During the same visit, 25,000 people gathered to hear the Dalai Lama speak in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
After speaking at the University, the Dalai Lama will hold public talks around Portland and visit Eugene.
Although ticket prices have not been set, Kelley expects the cheapest tickets to be $20-30, and the most expensive to be around $150. She hopes the University can provide discounts for UP students.