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Tibet-settlements-2013-meetingDharamshala: - The ninth annual meeting of Tibetan settlement officers began Monday, October 28 at Gangchen Kyishong, the headquarter of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamshala.

According to a report by the CTA, the inaugural function was attended by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Home Kalon Dolma Gyari, members of the Kashag and secretaries of various departments of the Central Tibetan Administration. Over 42 settlement officers from across India, Nepal and Bhutan are participating in the four-day meeting.

Speaking at the inaugural, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay spoke about the profound contribution of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the elder generation of the Tibetan people towards the establishment and sustenance of the Tibetan settlements.

"The vision and hard work of His Holiness and elder generation have sustained the Tibetan movement and settlements till now. Following their footsteps, we hope to strengthen efforts of Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetan settlement offices, through such annual meetings, to create a robust Tibetan community," he said.

Sikyong Dr Sangay said that as per the guidance of His Holiness, the education and welfare of Tibetan community are the most important priority, especially the welfare of former Tibetan political prisoners and poor families. He also emphasised the need to inculcate ethical behaviour in everyday life and condemned the assault on women in Mundgod and Tenzingang Tibetan settlements.

Speaking on the situation inside Tibet, he said that it continues to remain grim, adding that in the wake of the critical situation inside Tibet, the 14th Kashag launched the integrated three-phased CAN strategy: Consolidation, Action and Negotiation, to push the Tibetan struggle forward.

Sikyong also reiterated that the Middle Way Policy of the Central Tibetan Administration is the only realistic solution to solve the Tibet issue. "His Holiness the Dalai Lama has assured that the Middle Way policy will succeed in finding a solution to Tibet issue within his lifetime," he said, adding that however it doesn't mean we should be complacent.

Home Kalon Dolma Gyari, in her opening remarks, said that Tibetan settlement officers have worked really well over the years. She said that the settlement officers are the representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration and the welfare of the Tibetan people should be the first priority of the settlement office.

She also said that while the settlement officers work really hard, there are still a lot of red tape involved in getting works done in time. These systematic hurdles should be reduced so that we can serve the people better," she said, calling for an unbiased and efficient system.

She called for the need to look into issues facing the settlement and problems faced by Tibetan sweater sellers.

The agenda for this year's meeting include deliberations on the proposed budget of Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC), settlement population, protection of lands provided to the Tibetan community by the state governments, and discussions on how to create a self-reliant society.

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