Dharamshala, India — Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, concluded his official US tour with a visit to the Western part of the United States. Tenphel visited San Francisco and other Northern California cities and then spent his last night in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Both the San Francisco and Salt Lake City areas boast sizable Tibetan populations. In addition to speaking with local mayors and officials in California and Utah, the visited organizations like the Tibetan Association of Utah, the Gyalshyen Institute, and the Sera Je Dharma Center.
In California the Speaker was met by Tenzin Rangdol, President of Tibetan Association of Northern California. At a local Tibetan community hall Tenphel gave a brief talk on the current situation in Tibet and addressed the Tibetan community which was followed by a confirmation of support by local officials. Tenphel gave a special thanks to the city of Berkeley, California, and its mayor Jesse Arreguin. Berkeley has been raising the Tibetan flag on March 10, the National Uprising Day for Tibetans, for more than 10 years. All the officials the Speaker met with voiced their sympathy and support for the Tibetan cause.
At the new Tibetan community center in Salt Lake City, the Speaker met with North American Chithue Pema Chagzoetsang and Utah Senator Jim Davis. Both welcomed Tenphel and Senator Davis, along with local officials, expressed their support and appreciation for the Tibetan population in the city.
Both trips followed an official visit to Washington D.C. by Tenphel. Dr Lobsang Sangay, president of the Central Tibetan Association, also recently concluded a five-day trip to Washington. Both Tibetan officials met with members of the US congress and other government officials to lobby support for the Tibetan cause. Speaker Tenphel returned to India yesterday.