Born in Hong Kong in 1945 and educated in Canada and the U.S., Victor Chan is a particle physicist who decided to escape from his graduate work at the University of Chicago and travel to Asia. In 1972, he met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India during Holy Festival. "My friend and I were splashed by these balloons of coloured water when we got off the bus," he says, "so I remember it very well." Inspired by his encounter with the Tibetan religious and political leader, Chan began to co-author a book with the Dalai Lama to be called The Resplendent Heart in Intimate Journeys and Conversations.

In 1984, Chan made his first visit to Tibet, covering 42,000 kilometres on foot, by horse, by yak, by coracle, by truck and by bus. He returned in 1990 to walk the pilgrim trails. These visits led to his 1100-page Tibet Handbook: A Pilgrimage Guide (Moon Travel Handbooks, 1994). The promotional materials state Chan was the first person to reach Lhasa from Kathmandu by mountain bike. More importantly, he is touted as the only non-Tibetan to have made all three of the sacred Tibetan pilgrimages to Kailish, Tsari and Lapchi.

An attendee at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's meetings all over the world, Victor Chan provides an insider's account of the spiritual master's teachings in The Wisdom of Compassion: Stories of Remarkable Encounters and Timeless Insights (Riverhead). Co-authored by the Dalai Lama and Victor Chan, the book offers insights into the Dalai Lama's life and his efforts to translate compassion into action. Chan's behind-the-scene accounts describe the Dalai Lama's interactions with remarkable people from all walks of life.

Victor Chan is founding Director of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace & Education. Victor Chan and the Dalai Lama also co-authored The Wisdom of Forgiveness, shortlisted for the Best Spiritual Book of 2005 (Nautilus Prize, New York) and translated into 14 languages.

Now a resident of Bowen Island, Chan was primarily responsible for the visit of the Dalai Lama to Vancouver in 2004 and the organization of the Balancing Educating the Mind with Educating the Heart dialogues at UBC. This event featured the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Shirin Ebadi (the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize), former Czech president Vaclav Havel, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Professor Jo-ann Archibald. With Pitman Potter, director of the Institute of Asian Research at UBC, he was also instrumental in helping to establish a Tibetan studies program at UBC.

[BCBW 2013] "Travel" "Religion"