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16september20091Dharamshala: The National Civil Rights Museum in the US will confer the International Freedom Award on the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his "steadfast commitment to protecting and defending the rights of oppressed people of Tibet and elsewhere in the world".

The museum recognizes His Holiness the Dalai Lama's contributions to world peace through the promotion of human values, inter-faith harmony and universal responsibility.

Museum Board chairman Benjamin L. Hooks described the Dalai Lama as a living example of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi who stood for non-violence.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama demonstrates life-long peaceful struggle against brutality and injustice. As the Tibetan people mark their 50th year in exile, the Dalai Lama's struggle serves as an inspiration for social justice movements everywhere," Hooks said.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will receive the award Sep 23 at The Peabody hotel in Memphis in the US. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Missing Peace Music and Art Program, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Foundation. A documentary film crew will be on hand to record the event for a possible television broadcast.

The museum will also present the National Freedom Award to Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights champion Medgar Evers.

American famous singer, Joe Nichols will be performing his hit single, Believers, at a ceremony to honor His Holiness the Dalai Lama. "Performing for His Holiness the Dalai Lama - those are words I never imagined coming out of my mouth," Nichols said. "This is an honor beyond my expectations. His Holiness the Dalai Lama's entire being is about peace and harmony, forgiveness and self-discipline, and those are qualities to be admired. I am really looking forward to meeting His Holiness," said Nichols.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spiritual and political leader of six million Tibetan people, lives in this Indian hill town at the head of a government-in-exile. He fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

According to the organizer's official statement, the Freedom Award is an annual event for the National Civil Rights Museum. Held each year in the fall, the Freedom Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions in civil rights and who have laid the foundation for present and future leaders in the battle for human rights. Since 1991, the Freedom Award has served as a symbol of the ongoing fight for human rights both in America and worldwide.

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