Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (1935 - )
A native of Amdo, in the disputed province of Qinghai, the Dalai Lama was chosen as the incarnation of the previous title holder when he was two. He began his monastic training at six and was awarded the highest level Buddhist degree at 23. From the age of 15 he headed theocratic Tibet, which was being subsumed into China first by the Nationalists and later by the People’s Republic. At the beginning of the Tibetan Uprising of 1959 he led 80,000 refugees to India to establish a government-in-exile. He has traveled widely in the West and garnered international support for an independent Tibet while receiving honors from several countries culminating in his 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. His simple message and support of ecumenism has endeared him to the members of many faiths. He is the longest incumbent Dalai Lama in history.