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Mayor Greg Fischer on Thursday announced that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to Louisville in April 2017.

To highlight the significance of the visit, the 22nd annual Festival of Faiths will move to take place April 19 through 24, so as to culminate with talks by the Dalai Lama.

Fischer said the title of the 2017 festival is “Compassion: Shining Like the Sun” as a nod to both the Dalai Lama’s teachings on human values and nonviolence, as well as Fischer’s focus on making Louisville a more compassionate city.

“Compassion is not a new idea in Louisville, our compassion roots run deep,” Fischer said. “We were the first city in the south to pass a fair housing ordinance. Louisville was the place Thomas Merton had his famous epiphany, the home of Muhammad Ali.”

Since taking office in 2011, Fischer has helped champion a city-wide campaign for compassion, including his “Give a Day” week of service, Compassionate Louisville and the Compassionate Schools Project.

“His Holiness said that in light of our many efforts and progress around compassion — and these were his words — he said it was his duty to come back to Louisville and help us with further teachings and highlight the work we are doing with compassion.” Fischer said.

The Dalai Lama will deliver lectures on nonviolence at the Yum Center on April 23, and at a large youth event on April 24.

The visit is being planned by several local organizations involved in the city’s compassion initiatives, including the Mayor’s office, the Center for Interfaith Relations, Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion — who hosted the Dalai Lama’s visit in 2013 — and the newly formed International Center for Compassionate Cities.

More details about themes and programming, as well as ticketing for the April event will be released in January 2017.

This story has been updated.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.