PORTLAND -- The Dalai Lama arrives in Portland Wednesday to participate in an environmental summit this weekend. The leader of a small Southeast Portland college made the visit possible.
Maitripa College is the first Buddhist college in the Northwest and one of just four in the country. It’s just seven years old, but in that time the school has built a respectable reputation.
As staff and students were putting on the finishing touches Tuesday to welcome the Dalai Lama, college president Yangsi Rinpoche told KGW that persistence finally paid off.
After six years of invitations, this one was finally accepted.
“He's interested in coming over here because of the subject theme: environmental issues,” Rinpoche said. “It’s very dear to his heart. He really wants to explore that, and Portland is the perfect place.”
And because former President Bill Clinton declared the Dalai Lama a head of state, he is afforded all the security that goes along with that, including Secret Service protection.
Maitripa College offers two masters programs. There are 50 students enrolled, from all over the world.
KGW Reporter Joe Smith contributed to this report.