Boldern: - The political leader of the Tibetan people and Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Saturday, April 20 gave a keynote address at the conference of the presidents of the Tibetan communities in Europe.
Over 30 delegates representing 11 Tibetan communities attended the conference organised by Geneva based Tibet Bureau. Kalon Dicki Chhoyang of the Department of Information & International Relations, CTA was also present at the conference, according to a report by 'Tibet Net', CTA media.
The conference started with the singing of the Tibetan national anthem and a minute's silence as a mark of respect for those Tibetans who have died in Tibet. In his address, Sikyong (political leader) Dr. Lobsang Sangay said each individual Tibetan and the Tibetan community in Europe must ask what it can do for Tibet given the increasingly critical situation in Tibet. Since 2009, 115 Tibetans have self-immolated to protest China's political repression, economic marginalisation, environmental destruction and cultural assimilation. Sadly, 97 of them have died.
Sikyong spoke about how the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala can assist Tibetan communities in Europe for the preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture, religion and language in their respective host countries.
He reiterated the importance to educate governments, parliamentarians, media and the general public about His Holiness the Dalai Lama's devolution of political authority to the democratically-elected Tibetan leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration. He urged the delegates to lobby governments and parliamentarians to encourage the Chinese government to resolve the problem of Tibet.
The Sikyong said promotion of devolution, democracy and dialogue further strengthens the Central Tibetan Administration and the issue of Tibet in the generations to come.
He emphasised the Central Tibetan Administration's firm commitment to the Middle Way Approach.
He also spoke about the three principles of his administration – unity, self-reliance and innovation. Our unity is at its strongest, he said, adding that unity does not mean uniformity but civility. Self-reliance of the exile Tibetan community with projects like sister-settlement will contribute towards the sustainability of the Tibetans living in settlements with financial assistance from Tibetans living in different part of the world. Various innovative activities have been undertaken during the last one and half years to advance and strengthen the work of CTA.
The two Europe based Tibetan parliamentarians, Ven. Thubten Wangchen and Mrs. Chungdak Koren, spoke on strengthening coordination amongst the Tibetan communities.
Special Representative Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen underlined the strengthening the campaign work with Tibet support groups and parliamentarians. Geneva based Representative Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa gave the welcome address of the conference.
Workshops were held on strategic campaign planning. The conference ends Sunday afternoon.
In the afternoon, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay addressed the first Europe Tibetan Language Teachers' conferences in Bodern, Switzerland. Over 50 delegates, including teachers from Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Austria, took part in the conference organised by Geneva based Tibet Bureau.
The Sikyong expressed his appreciation to the Tibetan schools supervisors and teachers for their voluntary contribution towards the preservation and promotion of Tibetan language. He called on them to continue their service to the society and to the Tibetan children. The Tibetan people in Tibet continues to preserve and promote Tibetan language despite various Chinese polices to undermine the survival of Tibetan language, he said.
He urged the teachers to work closely with CTA's Department of Education to formalise the language schools textbooks based on local needs and situation.
In Switzerland, the Tibetan language schools started in 1974 with about 5 to 6 schools. Today there are about 185 children in 15 schools across Switzerland. Five of the present teachers have served as voluntary Tibetan language teachers over 30 years.
The number of Tibetans in Europe have increased steadily over the years. In 2008, there were about 7,000 Tibetans and today it is estimated to be over 11,000.