Washington D.C., US — International Tibet Network's (ITN) 6th Americas Regional Meeting concluded in the United States capital, on Sunday, February 28. Over the course of three days, 40 people representing 18 organisations from 5 countries in the region participated in the intensive event, taking part in Workshops, Training and Campaign Planning.
Tenzin Jigdal, ITN's International Coordinator said: "This has been an inspiring and productive meeting, with participants working very hard on planning campaigns and developing strategies for increasing collaboration between Tibet Groups. The result is some strong campaign plans and robust discussions and proposals that address how important it is that Tibet Groups move forward together."
The meeting opened with an address by Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America Kaydor Aukatsang, in which he outlined some of the challenges and opportunities facing the movement. Other sessions included Trainings and Briefings on a range of topics; Strategic Non-Violent Resistance, Tibet's Environment, Humour in Campaigning, Digital Security, Digital Fundraising and Women in Tibetan Resistance. Participants undertook a Situation Analysis exercise on the state of our movement, and viewed a digital presentation on Successful Tibet Campaigns, and extensively discussed effective campaign tactics.
Detailed plans were developed on 5 different campaigns or projects, including on Tibet's environment, Confucius Institutes, Advocacy for Political Prisoners, coalition-building with China-related movements and increasing campaign engagement by action-oriented Tibetans. The participants prioritised supporting campaigns on:
1. Increasing Tibet Group engagement in environmental issues. This work will involve strong support from the Network and Central Tibetan Administration. More details, please visit www.tibet3rdpole.org
2. Tackling Confucius Institutes in Boston, Brazil and Philadelphia. This plan involved ideas generated from the workshop on using humour in campaigning.
3. Advocacy for Shokjang, the detained blogger. See www.freetibetanheroes.org for profile and resources.
Some of the most robust discussions over the course of the weekend concerned the obstacles and solutions to effective collaborative working, with practical proposals being developed. Dhardon Sharling, Co Chair of the Network's elected Steering Committee added: "Each participant has left this meeting having made their own personal commitment to contribute towards better collaboration. With robust campaign plans and stronger personal relationships between Groups, we are confident that our movement will be more effective as a result of this meeting."
The Network Secretariat expressed its appreciation to all participants for their commitment and hard work. It thanked participants who had travelled long distances from Brazil and Chile, and was grateful for the support and active participation of representatives from Initiatives for China and Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center.
ITN is a global coalition of around 180 Tibet-related non-governmental organisations. Its purpose is to maximise the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet movement, which is dedicated to ending human rights violations in Tibet and to working actively to restore the Tibetan people's right under international law to determine their future political, economic, social, religious and Cultural status.