CAMPAIGNS: Events PR - Dalai Lama plugs peace in N-Ireland

Client: World Community for Christian Meditation



PR Team: Morrow Communications



Campaign: The Dalai Lama's visit to Northern Ireland



Timescale: October 19-21



Budget: pounds 3,000-pounds 5,000



The Dalai Lama's three-day visit to Northern Ireland had been planned

for two years. The fact that it occurred at a time when the political

situation there was at a particularly sensitive stage was completely

coincidental.



His busy schedule included press conferences, speaking at seminars and

meeting politicians.



As the Dalai Lama, Tibetan statesman and spiritual leader, rises at 3am

(to meditate for four hours) and retires to bed at 7pm, his hectic

agenda had to be planned very carefully.



Lawrence Freeman, director of Northern Ireland's Morrow Communications'

client World Community for Christian Meditation's (WCCM), is a friend of

the Tibetan exile and had invited him to speak at the group's three-day

seminar in Belfast.



Morrow Communications was hired to handle the media relations and

meeting of local communities and dignitaries during the Dalai Lama's

visit.



Objectives



To promote the Dalai Lama's visit and create a positive impact. To

promote the key messages of the WCCM seminar - 'Inner peace, outer

action' and to boost the WCCM's profile.



Strategy and Plan



A month prior to his arrival, Morrow maximised media interest without

giving an exact schedule to the media.



The core event was the WCCM three-day seminar and everything was planned

around this. Between 600 and 700 delegates attended the event each

day.



The Dalai Lama arrived in Northern Ireland on 19 October. He did not

attend the WCCM seminar on his first day, but was filmed live by various

TV crews, including Sky and the BBC.



He met people from the Catholic and Protestant communities and crossed

the tense peace line and planted trees on either side of it. He also met

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and spoke about the need for peace.



Then a press conference was held and the Dalai Lama had a meeting with

the Buddhist community and delivered a speech at an Amnesty

International lecture. He was also given an honourary doctorate by the

University of Ulster.



On the second day the Dalai Lama was officially welcomed by first

minister David Trimble and his deputy Seamus Mallan at Belfast's

Waterfront Hall.



He also met Northern Ireland secretary Peter Mandelson. This provided a

new angle for the media. That afternoon he went to a youth conference,

which was attended by almost 300 people.



Morrow also made time for various one-to-one interviews with the

media.



Ulster Television, the BBC, the Irish Times, Irish News and the London

Times were granted access to the Dalai Lama.



On the 21 October, after speaking at the WCCM seminar, the Dalai Lama

met with more politicians and church leaders.



He also led a meditation session with Irish president Mary McAleese. She

later joined him at the WCCM seminar, which they co-presented.



Finally, a mini press conference was held where the Dalai Lama made a

farewell statement on the observations of his visit.



Measurement and Evaluation



All press covered the Dalai Lama's visit. All of Northern Ireland's

newspapers covered the story, as well as all broadcasters. The English

media also covered the Dalai Lama's visit.



His positive messages about reconciliation and peace were communicated

successfully and his aura of control and calm was conveyed throughout

the media.



Results



Morrow Communications successfully arranged a tightly- packed schedule

and managed to vary the media angle over the course of the visit,

preventing the media hijacking the story.



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