The Dalai Lama will be joined on stage today by comedian Russell Brand as part of the Tibetan leader's UK tour.

Brand will act as master of ceremonies at Manchester Arena when the Dalai Lama addresses thousands of young people, giving a talk entitled Century of Dialogue - Stand up and Be the Change.

His latest tour of Britain aims to spread the 76-year-old Buddhist's teachings of peace and understanding to youngsters.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate will present a Youth Compassion Award to a young person as part of this afternoon's event where tickets for under-25s are free.

Brand said he was asked to compere proceedings because they wanted him to be funny and he viewed the invite as a "great honour".

The funnyman-turned-movie star has long supported the Tibetan cause.

During his 10-day stay in Britain, the Dalai Lama will address young audiences at the University of Westminster, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Edinburgh Usher Hall, Caird Hall in Dundee and the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.

He will also meet Tibetan, Nepalese and Mongolian Buddhist communities, religious leaders and parliamentarians at Westminster and Holyrood.

The Dalai Lama was born in a small village in north-eastern Tibet and at the age of two was recognised as the incarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, and began his monastic education when he was six.

He was called upon to assume full political power over the people of Tibet at the age of 15 but was forced into exile in India after China invaded Tibet in 1949. While in exile, he has worked to restore autonomy for Tibet within the People's Republic of China and maintained a non-violent approach to his people's struggle.