Details on Dalai Lama's visit

Spiritual leader to be at UAlbany in addition to Times Union Center

Albany Times-Union/March 18, 2009

More details about the Dalai Lama's April Albany visit were announced Tuesday at the Times Union Center by sisters Sara and Clare Bronfman, the Seagram's heiresses organizing the spiritual leader's area appearances.

At a news event attended by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, Sara Bronfman said that in addition to a 2 p.m. event April 19 at the Times Union Center, the Dalai Lama will be at the University at Albany April 20 to 22; details on campus events were not yet available.

The Bronfmans, who live in the region, said world leaders, royalty, scientists, academics and dignitaries are expected in Albany for the Dalai Lama's appearances, including billionaire businessman Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams, co-founder of Community of Peace People, which is dedicated to promoting peace in Northern Ireland.

The Dalai Lama's visit is sponsored by the World Ethical Foundations Consortium, which was founded by the Bronfmans and its "conceptual founder," Keith Raniere. Raniere is also the founder of NXIVM (pronounced Nexium), a Capital Region-based enterprise whose detractors, including former members and cult experts, have characterized as a cult. NXIVM offers executive success programs, in which the Bronfmans have participated. The Bronfmans are involved with several businesses and foundations with Raniere.

Asked if this was an opportunity to improve public perception of NXIVM, Clare Bronfman replied: "There are many people who have a great amount of resources to look into NXIVM who want to come and have put a lot of time and resources into doing a lot of factual checking. They're still coming. ... I think that speaks to itself.

Sara Bronfman said the event will "change the face of Albany if the population of Albany embraces it and gets excited about and really understands the fortitude of something like this coming to this city and what it will do for us, what a power to put Albany on the map, how it will change the reputation of Albany, how this will become a place for the noble pursuit of humanity."

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