Dalai Lama gets Richfield’s first-ever ‘key to the city’

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Richfield City Councilmembers Michael Howard, left, and Maria Regan Gonzalez, middle, meet the Dalai Lama in the Minneapolis Convention Center auditorium June 24. They presented the Dalai Lama with a key to the city and a poem by a Richfield sixth-grader. (Submitted photo)

Richfield City Councilmembers Michael Howard, left, and Maria Regan Gonzalez, middle, meet the Dalai Lama in the Minneapolis Convention Center auditorium June 24. They presented the Dalai Lama with a key to the city and a poem by a Richfield sixth-grader. (Submitted photo)

The Dalai Lama is a man of access, having collected ceremonial keys to cities across the world during his travels.

After visiting Minnesota last week, he can now add to that collection a “key to the city” of Richfield, which he received June 24 during a program at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Richfield Councilmembers Michael Howard and Maria Regan Gonzalez had occasion to meet the Tibetan Buddhist leader, handing over what, according Howard, was the first “key to the city” that Richfield has ever dispensed. It was also the first ceremonial key any Minnesota city given to the Dalai Lama, he added.

“The Tibetan community really, really wanted us to give him a key to the city,” Regan Gonzalez said. “Apparently he really likes to get keys to the city.”

The Richfield leaders were tapped to be part of the program due to Richfield’s high Tibetan population and the city’s work with the Tibetan community, she said.

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