The Board of Trustees welcomes
Gyalo Thondup, the brother of the DALAI LAMA whom His Holiness has deputed
to receive this Award on his behalf.
With his proclamation at the age of five as the Fourteenth Incarnation of
the Patron God of Tibet, the DALAI LAMA was destined to become the spiritual
and temporal leader of his people. Since then, his life has been singularly
devoted to study and training for that responsibility.
The society of his land was feudal, dominated by conservative monastic
orders and hereditary nobles. Sometimes known as the Forbidden Kingdom, it
firmly stayed aloof on its "roof of the world" and sought to remain utterly
free from foreign influence.
Despite this restrictive tradition, the DALAI LAMA showed a keen curiosity
about the outside world. It was his hope to introduce better methods of
farming and irrigation, to build systems of education and public health and
bring other benefits of modern science to his people. He also desired
radical changes in land tenure, but said such reforms "must conform with the
dignity, needs and peculiar conditions of my own people."
Buddhism, one of the world's great religions, has been at the heart of the
Tibetan way of life. The monasteries were the conservers of learning and
fully 100,000 Tibetans were monks. Now this isolated land's Reformed Lamaism
and the distinctive social system it has infused are threatened with
destruction. The Tibetan people have shown their protest by a general
Striving to retain his people's right to live and worship in their own way,
the DALAI LAMA has brought his appeal to men of conscience everywhere. Like
the late Ramon Magsaysay, he chose to stand where others have faltered in
the protection of fundamental human rights.
In electing His Holiness, the DALAI LAMA to receive the 1959 Ramon Magsaysay
Award for Community Leadership, the Board of Trustees recognizes his
leadership of the Tibetan community's gallant struggle in defense of the
sacred religion that is the inspiration of their life and culture.