The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Honors Dalai Lama

Reverend Damon Lynch, Jr. presents His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the lnternational Conductor Award on October 20th. 2010.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was in Cincinnati yesterday to receive the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's International Freedom Conductor Award.

Watch: the Dalai Lama's speech and discussion at the Freedom WLWT Cincinnati

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati presented the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader with its “international freedom conductor award” at a packed downtown luncheon at the beginning of his two days of public appearances in southwest Ohio. The center said the Dalai Lama gave back the $25,000 prize that came with the award to support the downtown museum’s educational efforts.

He said he was touched after seeing the center’s exhibits on slavery and human exploitation around the world.

“So I really appreciate all your work,” he said, accepting an award that depicts a woman and child in the 19th century era of American slaves being helped to freedom through the “underground railroad” network.

Previous winners of the freedom award include civil rights hero Rosa Parks, former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton for their disaster relief efforts, and South Africa religious leader Desmond Tutu. Both Tutu and the Dalai Lama also have won Nobel Peace Prizes.

Some information in this story was provided by AP.