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Date: Mar 24, 2008
Dalai Lama Named Recipient of Hofstra's Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize
First international award recognizing efforts at dialogue between religions to be presented in IndiaHofstra University, Hempstead, NY – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has been selected as the first recipient of Hofstra’s international Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz announced today.
The $50,000 prize, which recognizes efforts at interfaith dialogue, will be presented to His Holiness on November 18, 2008 in India by a delegation including Hofstra officials, the family of Sardar Ishar Singh Bindra, which established the prize at Hofstra, and former Indian Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, a member of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize Honorary Committee. The Dalai Lama has agreed to visit Hofstra in the near future.
“There are few missions as important for a university as the advancement of understanding among all peoples,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “Awarding this prize allows us to recognize those who bring together people of all faiths, which now, more than ever, is important for the peace and prosperity of our world. We are pleased to bestow Hofstra’s inaugural Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize on a person as worthy and renowned as His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
Tashi Wangdi, the Dalai Lama’s U.S. representative, accepted the prize today via telephone on behalf of His Holiness during a news conference at Hofstra. “We are very happy that this award has been given to His Holiness in recognition of his many years of promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding,” he said.
T.J. Bindra, son of Ishar Bindra, said “We are immensely pleased with the selection. There could be no more deserving candidate than his holiness, and to me what stands out most is that Guru Nanak stood for brotherhood, peace and wonderful relations between communities, and I think His Holiness personifies that the best.”
The prize, to be awarded every other year, was established in 2006 through an endowment from the family of Ishar Singh Bindra to be given by Hofstra University to individuals or organizations that have worked to facilitate the religious dialogue that is indispensable to reducing religious conflict. The prize was named for the founder of the Sikh religion and was meant to encourage understanding of various religions and to build bridges between faith communities. Guru Nanak believed that all humans were born equal regardless of skin color, ethnicity, nationality and gender.
There were 75 individuals and groups nominated for the first prize, representing interfaith efforts in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, as well as throughout the United States and Canada.
The establishment of the prize by Mr. Bindra’s family followed the creation of Hofstra’s Department of Religion in 2005 and the endowment of chairs in Sikh, Catholic and Jewish studies. The Sikh chair – the Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, named for the family matriarch – was also established through an endowment from Mr. Bindra’s family. Both gifts are intended to increase understanding of different religions, including Sikhism, a world religion with more than 20 million adherents.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 145 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. With a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1, our professors teach small classes averaging 22 students that emphasize interaction, critical thinking and analysis. Hofstra offers a faculty whose highest priority is teaching excellence, cutting edge technology, extensive library resources, internships and special educational programs that appeal to their interests and abilities. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.
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Related Link: The Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize