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Dharamshala: The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama praised his "close friend", anti-apartheid champion and former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town- Desmond Tutu for winning the 2013 Templeton Prize.

Revealing his delight over Desmond Tutu's achievement, His Holiness said that he was "very happy" that his fellow noble laureate had won the $1.7 million prize; praising Tutu for his lifelong work in promoting "love and forgiveness."

His Holiness said the prize was in recognition of the archbishop's contribution to society, not only as a religious leader-but for his participation in South Africa's freedom struggle alongside Nelson Mandela.

"Wonderful work so my congratulations," His Holiness told the Hindustan Times on Monday at the Kangra airport near Dharamsala before leaving on European tour, "The Templeton prize to Tutu is a clear sign of recognition to his contribution. He is not only a religious leader, but also was involved with Nelson Mandela during the freedom struggle."

Desmond Tutu-who is 81, rose to world prominence with his courageous and successful opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime in the 1970's. Tutu used his position within the church to focus global attention on the apartheid policies of South Africa's ruling minority.

A public ceremony will be held at the Guildhall in London on May 21, where Tutu will receive his prize. Valued at $1.7 million dollars, the award honours a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension.

Tutu has been awarded the prise for his work in advancing spiritual principals such as love and forgiveness. "When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd because it is usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others," Tutu said in response to receiving the prize in a video on the Templeton website.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama received the Templeton prise in 2012- it recognised his long standing engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions. The John Templeton specifically cited His Holiness' investigative reviews of the power of compassion and its potential to address global problems.

A passionate supporter of the Tibetan freedom struggle, Tutu visited Dharamshala in February 2012 to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During the visit Tutu addressed a gathering attended by His Holiness:

"I want to say to Chinese government that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the most peace loving person on earth. I want to say to Chinese government that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has no army, he does not command his people with guns, he is not a separatist."

"Please, you leaders in Beijing, please we beg you, allow Tibet to be what the Constitution of the People's Republic of China commits. The Constitution allows for autonomy and that is all His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his people want.

"We beg you and at the same time remind you too that this is a moral universe. There is no way in which injustice, oppression, and evil can ever have the last word," Archbishop Tutu said in his message to the Chinese leadership.

To the Tibetan people, he said: "We will visit you in Tibet. We will enter a free Tibet."

Alongside Mother Teresa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu is the third winner of the Templeton prize who has also won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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