Washington, D.C. — Sikyong is on an official visit to the United States and, together with Tibetans and supporters of Tibet, commemorated the 16th anniversary of the conferment of the US Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Addressing Tibetan youth in Virginia, Sikyong urged and reminded young people of their responsibility to continue the Tibetan struggle.
Sikyong Penpa Tsering, of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon, following his 12-day visit to Latin America from 1 to 12 October 2023. On his arrival, Sikyong was warmly welcomed by the Tibetan community in Southern California, led by members of the Tibetan Association of Southern California. Sikyong addressed the local Tibetans and spoke about the key priorities of the current Kashag, which include maintaining the Middle Way Approach, taking a firm stance on Tibet's past independent status, producing an accurate demographic figure of the exile community, as well as an appropriate administrative structure within the CTA to facilitate future management and operations.
He also briefed about his recent visits to Latin America and acknowledged the support given by the Mexican Parliamentarians towards the Tibetan freedom struggle. During his recent official visit to Latin America, the Sikyong met with political leaders, lawmakers, and university students. The main aim is to raise awareness about Tibet issue in the countries as well as warn them of the possible consequences of getting too close to China.
Sikyong visited and addressed the Tibetan communities of Atlanta (Georgia), Albuquerque and Santa Fe on October 14 and 15, 2023. During all these visits, he emphasised the global importance of Tibet, both culturally and spiritually in terms of its Buddhism and its non-violent approach, and geopolitically in terms of resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict, which will lead to peace in the entire Asian region. Sikyong urged and reminded young people of their responsibility to continue the Tibetan struggle.
The16th anniversary of the conferment of the US Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet was commemorated at the Capitol Hill in Washington DC, October 17, 2023. The celebration was attended by high-level US lawmakers who are long-time friends of His Holiness and Tibet, including Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emeritus of the House of Representatives, Representative Jim McGovern and Chris Smith, as well as Congressmen Betty McCollum and Jan Schakowsky. Sikyong Penpa Tsering, Richard Gere, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), Tencho Gyatso, President of the ICT, as well as State Department and USAID staff attended the event.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emeritus of the House of Representatives, described the award of the highest civilian honour to His Holiness as a "source of pride" and emphasised the bipartisan support of US lawmakers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Congressman Chris Smith praised the tremendous influence of His Holiness across the political divide, while reiterating bipartisan support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the cause of Tibet.
Jim McGovern expressed his admiration for His Holiness' anti-war stance. He calls on China to engage with the Dalai Lama for a peaceful resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict. Nancy Pelosi, Chris Smith and Betty McCollum thanked Richard Gere, the Chair of ICT, for his commitment to the cause of Tibet and stressed championing human rights throughout the world.
Sikyong expressed gratitude for awarding His Holiness the Dalai Lama with such a significant award, he said, "This award is a huge honour for Tibetans suffering inside Tibet as it represents the sustenance of their indomitable spirit even after 64 years of Chinese suppression".
Richard Gere, Chair of the ICT, recalled his memories of the historic moment when the US Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He said, "I felt so proud that the American experiment was embracing the Dalai Lama into the hierarchy of deities of our democracy. It was like he was giving us an award instead of us giving him an award, that he embraced us into his heart and this American experiment into his heart".