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DesmondTutu & DalaiLama

Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu hangout on Google+

There was widespread criticism of the South African government after it refused to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday. One thing the government couldn’t do, however, was stop the two spiritual leaders hanging out online.

Using the “Hangouts on Air” function on Google+ the two Nobel peace prize laureates discussed peace, compassion and their friendship.

The discussion also saw Tutu and the Dalai Lama poking fun at each other and making jokes at the expense of the South African and Chinese governments.

“Do you have an army? Why does the Chinese government fear you?” Tutu asked the exiled Tibetan leader at one point.

Tutu even managed to inject humour into his praise for the Dalai Lama, describing him as:

Someone who has amazed me, who has been in exile for over 15 years — you’d expected him to be bitter and angry, he’s actually a bundle of joy. He’s in fact quite mischievous, I have to warn him sometimes and say hey, hey, hey, the cameras are on us, you need to behave like a holy man.

The Dalai Lama announced the Hangout on his Google+ page the day before Tutu’s 80th birthday celebration.

News of the hangout, which was open to the public, spread rapidly when Vic Gundotra (Senior Vice-President of Social Business) shared the post on Google+.

The news was also shared by a number of high-profile Googlers, including company co-founder Sergey Brin, who posted the following comment on his profile:

Incredible. It was just a handful of months ago that +Vic Gundotra and I were at the office late one day talking about how to make communication on what was to become Google+ really dynamic. The discussion turned to the video conferencing technology that another team was building with a completely different product in mind.

“I bet you can just throw that into profiles with a couple of lines of javascript,” I said mostly sarcastically to goad him on. Sure enough about 15 minutes later we were participating in our first hangout thanks to some amazing engineering footwork and maybe a bit more than a couple of lines.

It is amazing for me to see this feature now used for such a distinguished event as the one below between the +Dalai Lama and +Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu not to mention of course how honoured we are that they are using Google+ overall.

The hangout between the two spiritual leaders is among the most high-profile on the Google+ since feature was made available in late September.

The first “Hangout on Air” featured Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am.

The full hangout between Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama can be found below:

Image: The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

Author | Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself to be thrown in the deep and did his best stay afloat. When not fused with his keyboard, you can find him... More