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
His busy schedule included press conferences, speaking at seminars and
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
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
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
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
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
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.