The Dalai Lama Celebrates His 80th Birthday in Orange County

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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama posing with his birthday cake from the Art Institute of Orange County
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama posing with his birthday cake from the Art Institute of Orange County

Photo Credit: Emily Scher

The 4th of July kicked off an epic celebration for the Dalai Lama, who was the guest of honor at a “party” held at Anaheim’s Honda Center on Sunday—a party attended by 18,000 fans.

Former Today show host Ann Curry acted as master of ceremonies at the three-day celebration’s beginning, telling the crowd, “He has loved us. Today is our chance to show him that we love him back,” of the Nobel Peace Prize winner before introducing a slew of his famous friends, including fellow Nobel prize winners Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi; musician and former American Idol judge Randy Jackson; actress Juliette Binoche; and comedian George Lopez. Prior to the event, the Dalai Lama gave a special speech to select VIPs including Kris Jenner and actress Melanie Griffith in a private room below the Honda Center.

Center for Living Peace founder, Kelly Smith; Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait; His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama; Juliette Binoche; Wilmer Valderrama; George Lopez and Randy Jackson
Center for Living Peace founder, Kelly Smith; Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait; His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama; Juliette Binoche; Wilmer Valderrama; George Lopez and Randy Jackson

Photo Credit: Peter Ruprecht

Given that the Dalai Lama was not only celebrating his 80th birthday, but the “Global Compassion Summit,” his opening speech made much sense. “As a human being, as a social animal, every individual has a moral responsibility to think of the well-being of humanity,” he said.

His Holiness bowing in gratitude at the sold out Honda Center crowd
His Holiness bowing in gratitude at the sold out Honda Center crowd

Photo Credit: Peter Ruprecht

Today he will join one panel to discuss the effects of climate change and another to discuss wisdom, vision and experience with a plethora of Nobel Laureates, world leaders, professional experts and artists at the Bren Events Center. The final day of the three-day celebration will conclude with a panel on the significance of education in advancing universal human values, also at the Bren Events Center in Irvine.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the team behind the Global Compassion Summit also launched the #WithCompassion social campaign, with the goal to inspire people around the world to act with compassion and celebrate the Dalai Lama’s work.

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