Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama. The fifth of sixteen children of a farming family in the Tibetan province of Amdo, he was proclaimed the rebirth of the thirteenth Dalai Lama at the age of two. On 17 November 1950, at the age of fifteen, he was enthroned as Tibet’s Head of State and most important political ruler, while Tibet faced occupation by the forces of the People’s Republic of China.
After the collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso fled to India, where he was active in establishing the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile) and seeking to preserve Tibetan culture and education among the thousands of refugees who accompanied him.
Tenzin Gyatso is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, where he has helped to spread Buddhism and to publicise the ideal of Free Tibet. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.