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30july20091Warsaw: Presenting His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the honorary citizenship of the Polish capital Warsaw Thursday morning at an official function in the city’s famous Royal Castle, the Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz expressed to the gathering of government officials, members of parliament, heads of institutes, representatives of various non-governmental organisations, and guests, including the small Tibetan community, the Polish sense of pride in having the opportunity to honour the Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate.

“We Varsowians, the residents of this indomitable city, are proud that as of today the 14th Dalai Lama is one of us," Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz declared during the ceremony that was also attended by former President and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and Poland's first non-communist prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Outside the Royal Castle, hundreds of people watched the ceremony live on a big screen.

The Mayor said it is a great honour for the citizens and the authorities of Warsaw to again host “the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV“. She said the moment was also important because this year marks the 20th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. The Mayor also expressed words of utmost reverence for His Holiness’ peaceful struggle and for his teachings of respect for others.

Mr. Tsering Tashi, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who accompanied His Holiness on this visit said that the security cover provided to His Holiness was foolproof and highly professional.

“The Polish government security officials escorting and guarding His Holiness round the clock were highly professional and easy to work with. They also had high regard for His Holiness. And like the officials and others involved with the visit they too cherished the opportunity to take their photos with His Holiness and sought His Holiness’ autograph on books about or written by His Holiness,” said Mr. Tsering Tashi, adding that apart from the success of the visit programmes, the overall response from the Polish people to His Holiness’ visit was extremely positive and moving at times.

This was His Holiness’ second visit to the Polish capital after a gap of six months. His Holiness last visited Poland in December 2008 when he was met by both the Polish Prime Minister and the President. At the time, His Holiness’ visit programmes took him to the cities of Gdansk, Krakow, Wroclaw and Warsaw. In Wroclaw, His Holiness also received an honorary citizenship of the City of Wroclaw from the Mayor and Wroclaw City Council that had arranged a public talk especially targeted at students and the youth to draw inspiration from His Holiness’ universal message of compassion, non-violence and tolerance.

--Report by Office of Tibet, London

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