This isn't a petition - it's an invitation to participate in a unique creative event on the streets of London next Thursday 22nd May, involving the Dalai Lama on his UK visit. To help send the message of Avaaz's 1.66 million-strong petition for Tibet-China dialogue peacefully around the world, we're mounting a 3-mile-long human chain handshake connecting the Dalai Lama to the Chinese Embassy, just after his speech at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Metropolitan Police have given Avaaz the green light for up to 2000 participants – but the event can't happen without you. Not everyone can travel or be free at this time (late afternoon/early evening next Thursday), so think about it for a minute -- but if you can, please sign up now to participate in person in the handshake event in Central London -- just click here.

Please include your email and phone number so that Avaaz can be in touch with all the details of where you need to be and when. Here is the plan for the event, called "Give Peace A Hand":

On Thursday 22nd May, the Dalai Lama will be in the UK to meet with Gordon Brown – an event which will result in worldwide media coverage. He will also give a speech at the Royal Albert Hall, finishing at 4.30pm.

One of the people who shakes hands with the Dalai Lama will turn to shake another person's hand, that person will turn and shake someone else's, and so on. The handshake will flow out through the streets of London, along a spontaneously forming human chain – around Hyde Park Corner, up to Marble Arch, along Wigmore Street and up to the Chinese Embassy.

People power on the streets of London will reach out to the Chinese leadership, and to the world. No national symbols, no flags or banners – just a simple message of positive connection and dialogue. The global media will be alerted to this novel event, which will be filmed from end to end. We could reach millions.

Tentative contacts have resumed between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government, so there's hope - but as documented in a new film, The Unwinking Gaze, previous talks went on for years without progress. We are still a long way from meaningful dialogue, and the danger is that the situation will only become worse after the Olympics. We need to do all we can to encourage real talks, before it's too late.

We will assign you to a place in the handshake, which will begin at 4.30pm at the Royal Albert Hall. If you aren't free until 5.30pm or later, we can put you on the final route between Marble Arch and the Chinese Embassy in Portland Place. It will finish around 6.30/7pm. But if you want to participate, it's very important to click this link and sign up now!

Some of us will be in London anyway, others will want to travel in and bring friends - but many will have prior commitments. So don't worry if you can't participate – and thanks for all you do. But if you can, we'd love you to join Avaaz -- it'll be a great experience, and it could make a real difference.

PS if you have any questions about the event, feel free to email Rob Bolton now at