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27 august 2012 002Dharamshala: On 25 August, 2012, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) presented the Lhakar Awards to seven Tibetan heroes at the Sagarmatha Hall in New York City. The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals who exemplify extraordinary dedication, courage, or innovation towards the Tibetan cause.

This year, the 2012 Lhakar Awards went to seven Tibetan heroes: community activist Tsultrim Sango, musician Karma Emchi, artist Tenzing Rigdol, political prisoners Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Yonten Gyatso, Achok Phuljhung, and Tibetan uprising hero Tsewang Dhondup.

During one instance in the night, hundreds of copies of the 1913 Tibetan Declaration of Independence were passed out to the audience. The declaration was issued by the 13th Dalai Lama to reestablish Tibetan sovereignty following the Manchu invasion. Furthermore, a giant version of the scroll was revealed to mark the countdown to next year's 100th anniversary of the Declaration.

"Lhakar has turned into a uniting theme among Tibetans; turning every aspect of Tibetan culture into a kinetic force for freedom...The spread of Lhakar across Tibet in the last three years is being mirrored in exile. Hundreds of Tibetans in over a dozen cities worldwide - from London to New York to Dharamsala to Salt Lake City - are observing weekly Lhakar vigils and actions in solidarity with the efforts being made by Tibetans inside Tibet," said Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of SFT.

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