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europe-tibetanLondon: Tibetans from all over Europe have gathered in Switzerland to take part in the Second European Tibetan Youth Parliament. They aim to address the pressing issues effecting not only Tibetans in Europe but all Tibetans.

The opening ceremony took place yesterday, Friday, followed by the keynote address by Members of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Ven. Thubten Wangchen and Chungdak Koren

The Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) was founded in 1970. In the last four decades, the TYAE has become one of the most active and well-known Tibetan organisation in Europe. TYAE has a long tradition of providing a platform for active politically interested young Tibetans and training them to become future leaders for the Tibet movement. Besides the political freedom struggle for the future of Tibet, this organisation has aimed at building awareness of and preserving our distinct identity, culture, religion and language. Today the TYAE has over 400 members Europe-wide.

Over the next two days, around 120 participants from 9 European countries will debate on diverse subjects regarding the Tibetan movement. The Youth Parliament's primary aim is to take action and to strengthen the network among the Tibetan youth in Europe.

During the opening ceremony, Norzin-Lhamo Dotschung, Member of the Organising Committee and President of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, highlighted the importance of the Parliamentary meeting during this troubling year for Tibet, "What we have in common and what connects us is the will and motivation to work hard for our homeland and to affect change".

The recent string of self-immolations will no doubt be at the forefront of discussions throughout the two-day program with an additional discussion group organised even after the end of the Parliament. This open talk, entitled ‘Reflections on the Self-Immolations in Tibet', will pose questions such as, "in exile, do we even have any influence over these developments?" and "What should we be preparing ourselves for?".

The importance these self-immolations are playing in the future of Tibet was highlighted in the keynote address by Ven. Thubten Wangchen, "Unfortunately, this tragic and dramatic action of self-immolations inside Tibet and India is being repeated. Therefore, the United Nations and leaders of international communities must intervene now to stop Chinese extreme and violent attacks against Tibetans who are simply advocating our basic human rights and freedom"

Norzin added in his opening speech that, "The atmosphere is clearly very positive regarding the power of Tibetan Youth to take action".

The TYAE hopes to encourage the youth to actively take part and educate themselves through political debates on the future of Tibet and early indicators from the Parliamentary meeting are very positive.

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