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6thseptember20101Dharamshala. The inaugural Global Tibetan Professionals Summit began today (September 6) with a speech by Professor Rinpoche, the Honorable Kalon Tripa (Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile).

Around 90 delegates from around the world gathered for the summit in Dharamsala, north India, which aims to provide an opportunity for  networking, the discussion of issues facing Tibetans and the development of a shared vision of ways to contribute to the community.

The forum promotes the idea of a 'virtuous circle', or mentoring system, and defines the collective power of Tibetan professionals as a weapon in the "struggle against Chinese government and efforts to save unique cultural heritage". Beyond its economic and professional programmes, it also aims to tackle political and social issues, and so help to build "a new type of Tibetan society and a new generation of Tibetans in diaspora and inside Tibet".

Delegate Dhardon Sharling, a research and media professional, told The Tibet Post International about the challenges she faces in balancing political activism with a large workload, while still trying to interact with other professionals around the world. She noted that politics is an integral part of professional life for most Tibetans.

"This summit is essential to create a breakthrough of sorts," she said, "to create an environment where Tibetan professionals are recognized and there is networking between them, and they can then reach out to the international community."

During the summit, focus groups will discuss how the community can contribute to key issues, including education, public health care, economic development and international relations. The recommendations will be refined into a draft action plan which will be presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The summit concludes on September 8.

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