A look back at the Dalai Lama's previous visits to Minnesotaby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Dalai Lama is making his first official visit to the Twin Cities since 2001, when he spoke at the University of Minnesota as part of the Carlson Lecture Series.
On May 9, 2001, the Dalai Lama walked onto the stage of Northrup Auditorium on the Minneapolis campus draped in his familiar maroon monk's robe and gold scarf. Then-University president Mark Yudof couldn't resist observing, "We're partial here to people who wear maroon and gold," a reference to the U's colors.
The introduction noted the Dalai Lama lost his freedom at the age of 16 in 1951, when China's communist government took control of Tibet, and that he lost his country at the age of 24, when he escaped Tibet to take up residence in neighboring India.
"I want happiness, I want a happy life, you also want that, and I have every right to be happy person, you also have the same right," the Dalai Lama told the U of M audience.
Tenzin Gyatso was identified at age two as the 14th Dalai Lama. He was placed on the throne when he was 15.
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
During his 2001 visit, the Dalai Lama met with some of the estimated 1,000 Tibetan Americans living in Minnesota.
As he returns to Minnesota this weekend, one estimate puts the Tibetan American population in Minnesota at about 3,000.