Named as one of Time magazine's 25 Most Influential People of 1997, Robert Thurman has been a college professor and writer for 30 years. He was the first Western Tibetan monk, a student and for over 35 years a friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thurman is not only a scholar, but a champion of the preservation of Tibetan culture. In 1987, he and actor Richard Gere founded NYC's Tibet House, a nonprofit institution devoted to preserving the living culture of Tibet. He is also the author of several books, inicluding "Inner Revolution and Essentail Tibetan Buddhism" and acknowledged as a key figure in American Buddhism.