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The Dalai Lama meets with President Obama and conservative think tank

On Feb. 21, the Dalai Lama, to the chagrin of the Chinese government, met with President Barack Obama at the White House. To appease their vociferous objections, rather than meeting in the Oval Office, the two leaders met in the Map Room and reporters and photographers were denied access to cover the event.

The Dalai Lama and Barack Obama
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

His Holiness also took several private meetings and participated in panel discussions hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank, and was interviewed by Elizabeth Dias for Time magazine, David Rose for Vanity Fair and Jonathan Karl for ABC TV.

“Some people have complained that the American Enterprise Institute is a right-wing organization, but as far as I am concerned right-wingers and left-wingers are first of all human beings. To bring about change in society we need education and we need to consider the oneness of humanity,” he told Rose.

When asked about the possibility of the next Dalai Lama being a woman, the spiritual leader said, “It’s very possible. If circumstances are such that a female Dalai Lama can be more useful, then it should be female Dalai Lama. Female biologically more sensitive about other’s suffering.”

While the U.S. government doesn’t support independence for Tibet, Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said they are “concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China."

According to the Dalai Lama, he doesn't wish for independence either. “We are not seeking separation. In 7th, 8th and 9th centuries Tibet was one of three great empires—China, Mongolia and Tibet. But that was in the past and the past has gone. Yesterday’s good food does nothing to satisfy today’s hunger. Today, Tibet needs development so can benefit from the People’s Republic of China.”

The 79-year-old spiritual leader is in California today through Feb. 25 and will be in Minnesota March 1-2. Click here to see his schedule.

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