(April 15 & 16 – Washington, DC) During his two-day visit to Washington DC, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa granted interviews to Tibetan press, had several private meetings, gave an audience to the Tibetan community of Washington, participated in a roundtable discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace and spent time at the Library of Congress.
Among those the Karmapa met on this short stop in the nation’s capital were Senator Dianne Feinstein and Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall. During his visit to the State Department, His Holiness met with officials to discuss environmental protection, Tibetan culture and women in faith.
He joined a roundtable discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he spoke of efforts to redress gender inequality within Tibetan Buddhism, the relationship between peace-building and the recognition of interdependence, and the causes that lead people to join terrorist movements.
As he has done everywhere else on this two-month trip, His Holiness the Karmapa also made time to meet with the local Tibetan community. Several hundred Tibetans from the Washington area attended an audience at which the Gyalwang Karmapa offered words of encouragement and support. He also granted interviews to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.
A visit to the Library of Congress may not top most leaders’ list of important places to visit while in Washington DC, but for those with a deep appreciation for the preservation of Tibet’s rich textual tradition, the U.S. Library of Congress is akin to a place of pilgrimage. For two and a half decades beginning in 1968, the U.S. Library of Congress ran a program to reprint Tibetan books brought out of Tibet by refugees or collected from across the Himalayas. Masterminded by the exemplary Tibetologist E. Gene Smith, the innovative program sought out, catalogued, preserved and reproduced thousands of Tibetan texts, some of which His Holiness the Karmapa viewed during his visit to the Library of Congress.