When the Swiss Red Cross Society and other relief organizations brought a number of severely affected Tibetan refugee families to Switzerland in 1964, Henri and Jacques Kuhn didn’t wait long to take action providing company apartments and jobs for displaced families.
Together with a circle of friends, Henri and Jacques responded to the Tibetan refugee families need for a cultural center by setting up the Tibet Institute in Rikon, Switzerland, in 1968. This institute has since become an important religious center for Tibetans in Rikon and throughout Switzerland, as well as neighboring countries. The center also enables Westerners to gain a unique insight into the riches Tibetan culture has to offer.
Many Tibetans continue to be employed at Kuhn Rikon. The second generation of Tibetans has grown up in Switzerland and most of them are Swiss nationals who have found a new and permanent home for themselves in Rikon.
Having been refused a Swiss entry permit when he wanted to attend the consecration of the monastery, the Dalai Lama was finally able to visit Rikon for the first time in 1973. This was a moving event for all Tibetans in Switzerland and throughout Europe, as most of them saw their leader for the first time in their lives. Over the years, the Dalai Lama has visited over 13 times.
The library of the Tibet Institute is a scientific, specialized library that is open to the public. With more than 12,000 titles, it is one of the largest specialized Tibetan libraries in the world, and is a member of the IDS Zürich University.
For more information, please visit www.tibet-institut.ch.