by Tom Block.
The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has been lauded worldwide for his philosophy and practice of peace, non-violence, universal responsibility, and compassion. Called upon at age 16 to assume full political power after China's invasion of Tibet in 1949, the Dalai Lama has since been working with government and religious leaders worldwide, mostly while in exile, to bring peace and democracy to the Tibetan people. In 1990, his leadership ushered in the establishment of a democratic government for Tibet, with the election of 46 parliament members following voting by exiled Tibetans from over 30 countries. The "Charter of Tibetans in Exile" pledged the commitment of the new government to the freedoms of speech, belief, assembly, and movement. In 1992, he set up guidelines for the constitution of a future, free Tibet in which all of his historical and political authority would be transferred to a democratically-elected president. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet, and received recognition for his concern for global environmental problems and his message of peace and understanding. "Universal responsibility", he contends, "is feeling for other people's suffering just as we feel our own."
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