It's hard for me to express how much I respect the Dalai Lama. For more than ten years, since I was in high school, I have read dozens of his books, collected hundreds of his quotes, and even had the opportunity to share them with tens of thousands of people. He is an inspiration to millions, including my friends and family here in Mongolia, and he has been a big part of my life.
Yesterday was the first time I received a personal correspondence from him, with his playful signature on the bottom and his inspiring words across the page. Months ago, on behalf of the Mongolian people and our TEDxUlaanbaatar conference, I wrote to The Office of His Holiness requesting his presence at our event. Since he was traveling in Europe during the time of our event, his office said they would do everything they could to provide us with a personal statement in his place. The Dalai Lama is a very busy man, so I understood completely. During our event his letter, which I've included here, will be read by one of Mongolian's most respected religious leaders from the National Gandan Monastery.
It has been an honor to reach out to His Holiness on behalf of so many people who love him, and to be able to share his words at our upcoming event. Almost every home I have been in while living here in Mongolia for three years has had a picture of the Dalai Lama in a place of prominence. For decades under communism the Mongolian people were unable to have pictures of the Dalai Lama or Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan), two heroes who mean the world to millions of people. Although it's hard for me to express how much the Dalai Lama means to me, I've found that I'm among friends here in Mongolia. Even if we can't always express it, I know we feel the same way.
To watch the statement from His Holiness read live at TEDxUlaanbaatar, please join us live on August 20th (which is August 19th at 9pm EST). It should be amazing!