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13july20108Sydney: As virtually every city in the world celebrates the birthday of one of the most respected leaders in the world today, Sydney drew record numbers of friends and supporters to the Festival of Tibet on the Northern Beaches home of the Tibetan community.

The day was hosted by the New South Wales Tibetan community, in association with the Dalai Lama in Australia Limited and the Tibetan and Chinese Friendship Association. The day commenced with prayers from the venerable Sangha members.

Guest speakers were Mr Sonam Dagpo, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Justice John Dowd, Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Mr Bill Crews, Chairman of the Exodus Foundation, the Honourable Peter Slipper MP, Mrs Mei Leech of the Tibetan and Chinese Friendship Association, Mr Paul Bourke, executive director of Australia Tibet Council, Lynn Bain, General Manager of Dalai Lama in Australia Ltd, and Mr Jigme Dorjee, President of the Tibetan community in NSW.

The day saw other eminent visitors such as the Honourable Phillip Ruddock MP, Mr Brad Hazzard MP, the Mayor of Warringah, famous peace activist Steve Killelea, and many friends and supporters from a diversity of Chinese groups.

13july20102The event ran in conjunction with a photographic exhibition, "A Man of Compassion and Wisdom: The Dalai Lama's Journey", presented by the Dalai Lama in Australia Limited.

Over a thousand well-wishers attended the celebration, which included traditional Tibetan song and dance performances, poetry readings, performances by members of the Chinese community, and a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday To You" (with an added Tibetan flavour), before the Tibetan-style birthday cake was carved up between attendees.

The afternoon saw the performance of everyone's favourite Snow Lion Dance and the draw of the raffle, which distributed the abundant gifts kindly donated by a network of Tibetan friends and supporters.

From everyone in Sydney, we give His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama heartfelt wishes for a Happy Birthday and a long life.

Report filed by Sue Bloom on behalf of the Tibetan Community of New South Wales, Australia.

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