Krakow, Poland, 8 December 2008 (Thenews.pl) - The XIV Dalai Lama, Tibet's Holy and political leader, has received an honorary doctorate from Jagiellonian University (UJ) in Krakow today.
The celebrations are taking place in the main auditorium of the university's oldest building, Collegium Novum, at a university Senate meeting with invited members of the academic community and various guests.
Professor Beata Szymanska-Aleksandrowicz of the university's Institute of Philosophy, nominated the Dalai Lama for the honor.
The UJ Senate agreed to the honorary doctorate in October 2007. The awarding of his honorary degree is based on the Dalai Lama's high ethical standards in social and public life as observed in his inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and non-violent fight for freedom and rights for Tibetans.
Szymanska-Aleksandrowicz, stated in her speech upon bestowing the degree, that the "honorary doctorate is not only an expression of recognition for one man, whose whole life has been about living truth and ideals, but for all those who remain anonymous but have acted in the name of higher ethical standards and work for the moral propagation of good and truth."
The Dalai Lama has, according to the professor, joined a long tradition of the University of bestowing honors upon known figures such as John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
Upon acceptance of the honor, the Dalai Lama told his audience that Poles have a special place in his heart - from the moment he heard about Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement, he has been interested in Poland.
"Poles survived many difficult states in their history, but the Polish nation has kept its heart adamant," he stated.
The Dalai Lama's visit in Poland and meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy has riled up China and put strain on French-Chinese relations. However, the Tibetan leader claims that his visit in Poland is not political.
"But remember, my visit in Poland is not political. My visit to Brussels is political, but besides that, it is not," he assured.
However apolitical the Dalai Lama's visit is intended to be, China has canceled a China-EU summit that was set to take place in Lyon, France.
He continued on to praise the successes of non-violent movements such as the Solidarity movement from the 1980s in Poland, stressing the importance of peaceful grassroots movements and family values including affectionate education and not force.