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This Week in History

March 28, 2014

Dalai Lama Visits NIH, Lectures in Natcher

The Dalai Lama smiles, with Dr. Francis Collins laughing in background.

Laughter was common during the Dalai Lama’s visit, as evidenced here in an exchange in the movement analysis laboratory at the Clinical Center.

Photo: Ernie Branson

A crowd of about 1,000 NIH’ers filled Kirschstein Auditorium on Mar. 7 to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama give the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture. But it was the Dalai Lama’s laughter—a sudden, prolonged, heartfelt and guttural chortle— that disarmed the room. The laugh came frequently, too—a sort of instructive laughter-in-italics that implied permission to laugh along. “Indeed I am extremely happy to visit this famous institution,” said the Dalai Lama, seated on stage with NIH director Dr. Francis Collins on his right and an interpreter, infrequently consulted, on his left.