The foundation of the Tibet Institute Rikon
In 1961, Switzerland was the first European country to grant asylum to Tibetan refugees.
The brothers Henri and Jacques Kuhn (picture), who owned a metal manufacturing company in Rikon, offered work and accommodation to a group of refugees. In their effort to help the families come to terms with the loss of their homeland and the totally alien culture they were now confronted with, the Kuhn brothers and Peter Lindegger, then director of the home for Tibetan people in Rikon, turned to H.H. the Dalai Lama for advice.
H.H. emphasized the importance of monasteries for Tibetan people and sent an abbot and four learned monks from India to Rikon in 1967. Their work soon came to be regarded as a blessing among the community of Tibetan refugees in Switzerland, which had, in the meantime, grown significantly. Recognizing this, the Kuhn brothers decided to construct a Tibetan monastery in Switzerland, an idea already voiced by Tony Hagen, a delegate of the ICRC, in the early 1960s. The "Tibet Institute Rikon" foundation was thus established.
The monastic Tibet Institute was consecrated on the 9th of November 1968 by the two leading teachers of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche. The solemn ceremony was attended and followed with great interest by the Tibetan community in Switzerland.