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Louisville Festival of Faiths welcomes Dalai Lama

Thomas Merton and The Dalai Lama in 1968
Thomas Merton and The Dalai Lama in 1968
festival of faiths

As an enthusiastic show of support for the May 2013 Festival of Faiths, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is serving as the Honorary Co-Chair of the event, which is taking place May 14-19 at Actors Theatre of Louisville and The Galt House Hotel.

The Festival of Faiths is hosted by the Center for Interfaith Relations (CIR) and normally takes place each November. However, Fischer asked the CIR to host a special Festival of Faiths in May to help set the stage for the Dalai Lama’s visit to Louisville and message of “Engaging Compassion,” May 19-21.

“The Festival of Faiths and the Dalai Lama’s visit will showcase our city’s strong commitment to compassion as a core value,” said Fischer. “Between the two events, Louisville will offer a week-long celebration of compassion and interfaith awareness for our citizens and for visitors from around the world.”

Programming for the Festival of Faiths has been carefully planned to reflect its dedication to the historic meeting of the Dalai Lama and Thomas Merton in 1968. The Festival will feature renowned experts on meditation and compassion, representing the faith traditions of the world and recent scientific research on compassion. Programs will include daily guided public meditations, keynote speeches, films, and a dedication to Thomas Merton “in his own voice.”

As the festival’s Honorary Co-Chair, Fischer will host a Compassionate Governing Roundtable and Banquet on Saturday, May 18, at the Galt House. That event will feature mayors, elected leaders and other distinguished officials from around the country who will share their thoughts about the role of compassion as the foundation for effective governing. Guests include Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the U.S. State Department, Mayor Scott Smith (Mesa, Arizona) and Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, South Carolina).

“The Compassion in Governing event will illustrate how we bring to life our collective responsibility to promote compassion as a universal principal through government,” said Fischer. “I strongly encourage everyone in the city to take part in the Festival of Faiths, the Dalai Lama’s Engaging Compassion public talk and public teaching and the many related events going on throughout our city over the next two weeks.”

Festival of Faiths organizers point to Fischer’s leadership in the global compassion initiative as well as his longstanding support of the Festival of Faiths, as two primary reasons he was asked to serve as Honorary Co-Chair. Past Festival of Faiths Honorary Co-Chairs include Kentucky Author Wendell Berry, former Louisville Water Company CEO John Huber and Louisville philanthropist Christina Lee Brown.

Tickets to the Festival of Faiths, Sacred Silence: Pathway to Compassion, are available through the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s box office. Ticket prices for individual programs range from $10 to $25. Student tickets are half-price. Day passes are available for $25, and passes for the week are available for $100. Day passes and week passes DO NOT include tickets to the Compassionate Governing Banquet on May 18. Tickets to that event are sold separately. To order, call (502) 584-1205 or (800) 428-5849. Information about Festival of Faiths events, speakers and tickets is available at


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