UC San Diego News Center


Campus Counts Down to Dalai Lama Visit

The countdown for the historic visit by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, has begun. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will soon meet many of UC San Diego’s Nobel Prize winning scientists as well as other outstanding researchers and students.

Live streaming video of the Dalai Lama’s symposium at UC San Diego on April 18 will be available in the Price Center Theater. Seating is available on a first-come basis for 475 people. No tickets are required. 

A live webcast will also be available

Tickets for three speaking engagements — at UC San Diego and the University of San Diego on April 18 and at San Diego State University on April 19 — sold out well in advance. Tickets for the Dalai Lama’s symposium at UC San Diego’s RIMAC Arena sold out in an hour. Some 12,000 tickets for his appearance at San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena sold out within two hours.

Those fortunate enough to have a ticket should arrive early because there will be a great deal of security. Those not lucky enough to get a ticket will be able to view a live webcast.

The Dalai Lama will take part in a panel discussion on “The Global Impact of Climate Change: Balance through Universal Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness." The planned program begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at RIMAC Arena, with the panel discussion with the Dalai Lama slated to start at 9:30 a.m. A live webcast of the panel discussion will be available at beginning at 9:30 a.m.. For those attending the event, doors shut at 9 a.m., and no one will be admitted after that time. In addition, no backpacks or large bags will be permitted.

The Dalai Lama also will give a public talk at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday entitled "Cultivating Peace and Justice" at the University of San Diego's Jenny Craig Pavilion. A live webcast will be available at


Of the 4,200 available seats available at RIMAC, the event organizers at UC San Diego Extension found underwriters to give about 1,000 tickets away to students, faculty and the university supporters in the community.

Another 1,500 were sold to students for $10 each and the remaining tickets were sold to the general public for $25 apiece.

The spiritual leader’s representatives have visited the campus several times in anticipation of his visit for logistical reasons. The Dalai Lama will receive no money or honorarium for his engagements, only some free tickets for local friends and followers. A modest entourage of about 15 monks and support staff will accompany him.

“When representatives of the Dalai Lama approached us, it was on the condition that no aspect of his visit be used to raise funds for any person, and no one shall profit from his visit,” said Mary Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Programs and Dean of Extension. “Funds raised through sponsorships and tickets sales will be used only to cover expenses for the events. Any surplus funds related to the Dalai Lama’s visit will be disbursed to charitable organizations under the direction of the Dalai Lama.”

The Dalai Lama (age 61) is the 14th spiritual leader of Tibet. He is believed to be the latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who chose to be reborn to enlighten others. Born in northeastern Tibet, he was discovered by monks at age 2 and tested to see if he possessed physical traits such as moles and long ears characteristic of the 13th Dalai Lama. He was renamed Tenzin Gyatso and took the throne at age 4. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to establish a peaceful resolution to help liberate Tibet from Chinese rule.

More information is available at