His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Born on July 6, 1935, he was the 5th of 16 children from a farming family in the Tibetan province of Amdo. When he was two years old, he was proclaimed the tulku (rebirth) of the 13th Dalai Lama. At the age of 15, he was enthroned as Tibet’s Head of State and most important political ruler, as Tibet faced occupation by the forces of the People’s Republic of China.
After the collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he was active in establishing the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile) and in seeking to preserve Tibetan culture and education among the thousands of refugees who accompanied him.
A charismatic figure and noted public speaker, His Holiness is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West. There, he has helped spread Buddhism and promote the concepts of universal responsibility, secular ethics, and religious harmony. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his distinguished writings and his leadership in the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues, and global environmental problems.