Dalai Lama Offers $100K to Save Florida Religion Dept.

Religious understanding 'critical' in our world, he says
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 26, 2009 8:57 AM CDT
The Dalai Lama waves a New England Patriots cap as prepares to address an audience at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Saturday, May 2, 2009.    (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
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(Newser) – The Dalai Lama has ponied up $100,000 to help save a Florida college's religion department  from being closed in a round of budget cutting, the Miami Herald reports. “In our deeply interconnected world, understanding and appreciation of diversity of religions is critical in fostering a culture of genuine tolerance and peaceful coexistence,” he wrote to Florida International University’s president.

The department has accepted the offer, says an “astounded” professor, a friend of the Tibetan leader who wrote to him last month.  But the donation can’t single-handedly save the department, which costs some $600,000 a year to run. The Dalai Lama has visited FIU twice: in 1999, when he received an honorary doctorate of divinity, and in 2004.