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Miami — Florida International University Tuesday accepted a gift from the Dalai Lama to save its Religious Studies Department scheduled to close due to budget cuts.
The Miami Herald reported the $100,000 gift alone will not rescue the department, the closure of which would save the university $600,000 per year. FIU’s total budget is $642 million.
”In our deeply interconnected world, understanding and appreciation of diversity of religions is critical in fostering a culture of genuine tolerance and peaceful coexistence,” the Dalai Lama wrote to FIU President Modesto A. Maidique. “If the department were to close down, it will not be easy to rebuild it.”
”I’m astounded,” said religious studies Professor Nathan Katz, who has had a long-standing friendship with the Dalai Lama. Katz contacted the exiled Tibetan religious and political leader in April to help the school.
The Dalai Lama visited the school in 1999 and in 2004 when he received an honorary doctorate of divinity from FLU.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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