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Dalai Lama to give ethics advice to Yorkshire business leaders

Tibet’s spiritual leader follows Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton to the region’s annual summer convention

The Dalai Lama is paying his first visit in over 15 years to northern England this summer, topping the bill at the annual Yorkshire Business Convention and addressing thousands of Buddhists at Manchester’s arena.

He will have at least two areas of up-to-the-minute relevance: the morality of business practices including the much-debated bonus system; and the challenges which face regions ruled from a distance by centralised powers.

He treads carefully on most matters; at the age of 76 and with vast experience of international travel – 62 countries since 1954 – he has become a diplomat by instinct. But his representative Thubten Samdup goes so far as to say:

This is a wonderful opportunity for the Yorkshire business community leaders to hear a distinctive message of ethics and morality from one of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders.

The businessmen themselves are chuffed. Mike Firth, who has dished up ex-presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton to previous conventions, reckons the spiritual leader of Tibet may be the most interesting ever. The CVs of all Dalai Lamas are fascinating because of the remarkable process involved. The current one, born Tenzin Gyatso in 1935, the son of farmers in a small hamlet, was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

He spoke to a vast meeting in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1996 but Leeds is less familiar territory. If he has time, he can see a memento of his predecessor: the Royal Armouries has an imposing suit of Tibetan horse armour which Gyatso is believed to have given to the British representative in Darjeeling, Sir Charles Bell, after fleeing a Chinese invasion of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

Firth says that the Dalai Lama will bring with him ‘insight and wisdom’. Others doing the same at the convention in June are the retail businesswomen and government advisor, Mary Portas, Sir Richard Branson’s former lieutenant Will Whitehorn, athlete Steve Cram and the political duo Michael Portillo and Lord Prescott who will debate the state we are in. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds