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Big-time 'hangout': Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu on Google+

What do two Nobel Peace prize laureates do when a government stands in their way of meeting in person? They turn to the Internet and Google+.

The Dalai Lama wanted to visit anti-apartheid leader and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa for his 80th birthday. But the country refused to issue him a visa. Some believe that was because of pressure from China, a key trading partner for South Africa.

The two men did not let that stop them from hanging out using Google+'s "Hangout" video conferencing program.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama will have a conversation with Archbishop Desmond Tutu by live video over a Hangout ... as part of the Inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in Cape Town, South Africa, on October 8, 2011," the Dalai Lama said on Google+ (Yes, he's on Google+ and also on Facebook and Twitter).

The video meeting was shared live to all those who wanted to participate, and is available for viewing on YouTube (see video above).

"While it is a real pity that his Holiness cannot be here in a chair sitting next to Archbishop Tutu to have this conversation this morning ... we are so grateful for the world of technology that has come to us, and that we can have this conversation," said the moderator of the chat.

Fans and supporters on Google's social networking site applauded the clever government workaround as well.

Said Meri Walker on the Dalai Lama's Google+ page: "What finer choice could be made? Skip over oppression of body... meet in shared mind!"

"No visa needed on Google+" said Michel Guntern.

And even hope for the future about other problem-solving using Google+: "How about some israeli-palestinian 'hangouts'? I could see future peace talks being done this way..." said Nick Kaufmann.

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