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28october20098Dharamsala, India: On the morning of 28 October, Nobel Peace laureates Jody Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, along with PeaceJam co-founder Dawn Engel, held a press conference at the Tibetan exile government's Department of Information and International Relations to announce the launch of the Thank You Tibet! campaign.

This international movement, which will continue until 4 March 2010, is intended to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Tibetans' exile from their country, and to show global support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause.

Williams explained that the web-based campaign will allow people all over the world to sign the letter of support for His Holiness authored by the Nobel Peace laureates, and to add their own messages of "love, support and solidarity", using videos, poems, music and other creative forms of expression.

The website "will offer people of the world the opportunity to offer their words...not only of support for the aspirations of the people of Tibet, but their words of gratitude for the model of the people of Tibet in exile, the grace with which the people of Tibet have lived despite the loss of their homeland," she elaborated.

The "Thank You Tibet" campaign is scheduled to culminate on 4 March-the second anniversary of the 2008 Lhasa protests-with a public ceremony at St. John's Cathedral in New York City, where Nobel Peace laureates and leading celebrities will present the most inspiring and powerful messages submitted during the campaign.

At the press conference, Williams delivered a statement that she co-authored with Maguire and Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi to explain their purpose for supporting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people through this campaign.

The statement lauded Tibetans' "extraordinary choice to engage in peaceful nonviolent protest to the destruction of their culture and the takeover of their homeland," and their development of a democratic and progressive government and society in Dharamsala.

"If a community exiled from their homeland and scattered across the world can come together and grow into a democratic society, every community can do so," the statement asserted.

Williams, Maguire and Ebadi called for action by Asian nations and governments around the world to protect the rights of Tibetans, Burmese and citizens everywhere, and to include civil society in any human rights initiatives.

The women expressed their hope that the "Thank You Tibet" campaign, an effort by civil society, will help to persuade government leaders, including US President Barack Obama, to support the cause of human rights in Tibet and elsewhere with actions, rather than words.

"The leaders of the international community must persuade and engage with the Chinese government to say that China has a moral and political responsibility to uphold the human rights and democracy of the people within Tibet," declared Maguire.

She added that, "When we, as individuals, network with others, we can be very powerful...So I would encourage you all to support this Thank You Tibet campaign, and I would encourage people around the world to ask their governments to persuade China."

This international effort's sponsors are the Tibet Fund, the PeaceJam Foundation, the Nobel Women's Initiative, and the Dalai Lama Center.

The Nobel Women's Initiative was established in 2006 by female Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Corrin Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Wangari Maathai, and Betty Williams, "to strengthen and expand the global movement to advance nonviolence, peace, justice and equality". For more information, visit www.nobelwomensinitiative.org , or contact Media and Communications Manager Rachel Vincent at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To find out more about the Thank You Tibet! Campaign, and offer your message of support, go to www.thankyoutibet.org .

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