His Holiness the Dalai Lama Thanks Switzerland

April 8th 2010

Zurich, Switzerland, April 8th, 2010 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended the "Merci Schwiiz – Thank You Switzerland" programme that was organised by the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association and the Tibetan Community. His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked the Swiss Government, Red Cross and the people, local governments, organisations and individual for their generous assistance to Tibetans for the last five decades. “It is our Tibetan culture and tradition to thank those who help us. Therefore, I would like to express our gratitude to you”, said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Thank You Switzerland program. Photo courtesy/Manuel Bauer

Looking back last 51 years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said there have been both sad and happy moments, sometimes no hope, sometimes some hope and at times with more confidence. He said that during difficult times, there is the good nature of human beings to show solidarity and help. He acknowledged the work of Dr. Toni Hagen, the initiator of the Tibetan settlement project.

Dr. Katrin Hagen, the daughter of late Dr. Hagen spoke about her father’s work with the Tibetan refugee project. The former director of Pestalozzi's Children Village in Trogen, Mr. Arthur Bill emotionally spoke about his first contacts with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the education of young boys and girls at Trogen. Mrs. Sigrid Joss-Arnd, a former staff of the Red Cross who was involved with the resettlement of the Tibetans since the early 1960 said, “I was extremely relieved to hear that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had safely crossed into India in 1959.”

In October 1960, 20 Tibetans boys and girls arrived for education at the Pestalozzi's Children Village in Trogen, Switzerland. The Swiss Government on 29 March 1963 approved the re-settlement of 1,000 Tibetans. Tibetans were the first non-European refugees in Switzerland and today there are about 4,000 Tibetans living in Switzerland.

His Holiness greets well wishers on his arrival at Rikon. Photo courtesy/Manuel Bauer

In the morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited the Tibet Institute in Rikon. His Holiness asked the motorcade to stop at the beginning of the long line of Tibetans waiting for his arrival in run up to the Tibetan Monastery. He walked slowly past the Tibetans, occasionally calling names of people he recognized in the crowd.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that he was very happy and impressed with the work of the Tibetan monastery especially its activities in Switzerland and within some Tibetan monasteries in India. “You have done a wonderful job,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He thanked the gathered audience for their support. “Without your help, this is not possible,” he said.

His Holiness with Mrs. Pascale Bruderer-Wyss, President of Swiss National Parliament. Photo courtesy/Manuel Bauer

Mrs. Pascale Bruderer Wyss, President of the Swiss Parliament attended the ceremony at the monastery. She called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama after the ceremony. She is a member of the Tibet Group in the Swiss Parliament and last met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2005.

At the end of the ceremony at the monastery, His Holiness walked towards a large Tibetan audience and took a group photo together. It was an extremely emotional moment for Tibetans to see their beloved leader taking so much time to meet and talk to fellow Tibetans despite the extremely busy schedule.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s last engagement of the day was meeting with the members of the Tibet Group in the Swiss Parliament.

 

 

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