Ottawa, Canada, 28 October 2007 (CTV.ca) - The Dalai Lama arrived in Ottawa Sunday as part of a historic trip that will see the wildly popular spiritual leader meet officially with Canadian politicians and offer teachings to thousands.
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was greeted by Environment Minister John Baird and Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday morning.
The Dalai Lama, 72, is scheduled to
make a public address on "Global Citizenship Through Universal
Responsibility" to thousands later this afternoon at the Ottawa Civic
Centre. The event is hosted by the Canada Tibet Committee.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will publicly meet the Dalai Lama in his Parliament Hill office on Monday afternoon -- the first time a prime minister has ever held formal talks with the exiled spiritual leader.
The Dalai Lama met with former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004 for a one-hour private talk held at the home of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa. Martin's predecessor, Jean Chrétien, refused such a meeting.
The spiritual leader is currently on a North American tour to promote Tibetan autonomy and the preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Chinese officials are vehemently opposed to foreign leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama, claiming the Nobel laureate is a political figure and a separatist.
U.S. President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel received tongue lashings from the Chinese leadership for their recent public meetings with the Dalai Lama.