Dharamsala, India/Prague, Aug 7 (CTK) – Members of several Czech NGOs met the Tibetan Dalai Lama in his exile government’s seat in Dharamsala Friday to convey him the best wishes from Czechs on his 80th birthday, Marta Smolikova and Martin Bursik told CTK on behalf of the trip’s organisers.
Smolikova heads the Vaclav Havel Library. Bursik is a former deputy for the Green Party and former environment minister.
The Dalai Lama told the Czech guests that he will visit Prague next year.
“The Dalai Lama was happy about the visit and all the messages addressed to him,” Jakub Klepal, chairman of the Forum 2000 Foundation initiated by former president Vaclav Havel, said in a press release.
The Dalai Lama emphasised that “his relation to the Czech Republic is deep, also owing to his old and profound friendship with our former president Vaclav Havel,” Klepal said.
The initiator of the “congratulations from Czech citizens” was the MOST non-profit organisation, whose plan was joined by the Czechs Support Tibet group, the Vaclav Havel Library, FORUM 2000, People in Need, the Open Society Fund and other NGOs and personalities such as Havel’s brother Ivan and his wife, and economist and university professor Jan Svejnar.
As a birthday present, the visitors brought a tea cup designed by significant Czech designer and Havel’s friend Borek Sipek, which is to remind the Dalai Lama of “the firm tie between the Czech Republic and Tibet, Vaclav Havel and his Holiness Dalai Lama.”
The Dalai Lama, born on July 6, 1935, was a close friend of Havel (1936-2011), who was the first post-communist Czechoslovak and later Czech president in 1989-2003.
Invited by Havel, the Dalai Lama first visited Czechoslovakia on February 2, 1990. His visit then met with the criticism from China.
The Dalai Lama has paid another nine visits to Prague since.
The Czech delegation members Friday invited him to attend the annual Prague-seated Forum 2000 conference of politicians, thinkers and significant personalities in 2016.
The Dalai Lama accepted the invitation.