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8august20101Paris: 55 Tibetan delegates representing 12 European countries will meet in Paris for the 2nd European Tibetan Congress this week. The meeting, to be held on the 15th-17th October, will focus on finding solutions which strengthen Tibetan communities and the Tibetan Government in Exile.

"This will be an important opportunity for Tibetans in Europe to look back and appraise our progress since the last meet in 2008, while contemplating how we can further strengthen our communities" said Thupten Gyatso, Chairperson of the ETC and President of the Tibetan Community of France.

The ETC , held every two years, aims to promote the common interests of Tibetans living in Europe, incorporating education into the culture of democracy and rule of law, and integration to the society of each Tibetan's country of residency.

Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche (Kalon Tripa) has sent an official statement to the Congress, which names Patrick Bloche, French M.P, and Tashi Wangdi, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, as keynotes speakers. Presentations include Vincent Metten, EU policy director at ICT, on the relationship between the EU and Tibetans living in Europe, and Biophysics professor Henri Atlan on what Tibetans can learn from the Jewish experience.

"Unity among Tibetan communities in Europe is vital as a foundation for our work", Kalsang Dolker, ETC Vice-Chairperson and President of the Tibetan Community in Italy, said of the Congress. "In the workshops, we will discuss various topics with a solution-oriented perspective. One of the topics is how we can increase cooperation amongst Tibetan communities living scattered across Europe.

"At the conclusion of the congress, there will be a public debate on the upcoming general election of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. The debate will provide a platform for the candidates to clarify their political aspirations and manifestoes for the Tibetan community delegates in Europe."

Currently, five candidates - Thubten Wangchen, Choegyal Tenzin, Chungdak Koren, Wangpo Tethong, and Rigzin Dorje Worpa - have been registered for the two European seats in Parliament, and five more will put themselves forward for the position.

Delegates to the 2nd ETC represent Tibetan communities in 12 European countries; Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom.

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