The fourth conference of Future of Tibet, entitled "Seeds for the Future" begins on November 6, 2023, in Dharamshala. (Photo: TPI)

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Dharamshala — The fourth conference of Future of Tibet, entitled "Seeds for the Future" begins on Monday in Dharamshala with the participation of more than 90 young people from seven countries. It will cover topics such as the geopolitics of Tibet, China and India, Tibetan unity, Tibetan identity, future paths for Tibet including self-determination and facing up to the future after His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Future of Tibet begins its fourth conference at the Imperial Heights Clarks Inn, Dharamshala, HP, India, on November 6, and will continue until November 10, 2023. More than 90 Tibetan youths from France, Switzerland, Netherlands, England, Norway, the United State of America and India attended the conference, including over 40 women, in the hope of learning more about Tibet and interacting with leading and renowned speakers, as well as with the young Tibetans themselves.

The Speakers at the four day conference are: Kelsang Gyaltse, former Special Envoy of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, former Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan government in exile, Dawa Tsering, Director of the Tibet Policy Institute, Dr Dawa Lokyitsang, editor of Lhakar Diaries, Geshe Lobsang Monlam, the founder of Monlam Tibetan IT Research Center, Pema Chagzoetsang, former Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Passang Tsering, the principal of College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah. Phenthok, the Chinese language researcher at Tibet Policy Institute, Lobsang Yeshi, former Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Gonpo Dhondup, President of Tibetan Youth Congress, and Dr Gyal Lo, a Tibetan activist, educational sociologist.

"It is exciting that so many Tibetans are invested in thinking and talking about the future and willing to prepare for it. Even though we may not all share the same views and may disagree with each other, it’s important to create a space where we can have open discussions and embrace our society’s diversity. I look forward to the week ahead!" said Wangpo Tethong, co-founder of the Future of Tibet project.

Tibet Post International (TPI) spoke to some of the university's students and others about their reasons for attending the conference. When TPI asked Tashi Dhondup, a Tibetan student from Delhi University, why he was taking part in the conference, he replied,"The reason I am attending this conference is to learn from experienced and well-known speakers about Tibet and where we should work more. As a member of Students for a Free Tibet in Delhi, I will know how to make other students and classmates aware of the Tibet issue."

Samten Choedon, a Tibetan student at Delhi University, told TPI: "As a Tibetan in exile, we have responsibility to continue the Tibetan struggle, so I came here to learn more about Tibet and that responsibility. One of the themes of the conference is India's role in the future of Tibet, so I wanted to find out more and that's why I came.”

Tenzin Tsering, a graduate student, from Netherlands, told TPI: "I came here to the Future of Tibet conference with a lot of excitement and the expectation that there would be a lot of discussion about the future of Tibet and something that is usually lacking in our society. I wanted to take the knowledge I gained from this conference and pass it on to everyone, because everyone should know about Tibet.

Tenzin Yonten, a researcher from Bangalore in southern India, said: " I am taking part in this informal conference because, unlike conferences organised by the government, this type of conference imposes no restrictions on what we can or cannot talk about. Therefore, in this open conference, we can talk and hear the real feelings and discussions about Tibet, which is important. Many well-known and competent Tibetan speakers will come, so we will be able to ask all our questions and, I hope, gain a lot of knowledge from this conference".

The Future of Tibet conference, held in Dharamshala on Monday, will address a range of topics including the geopolitics of Tibet, China and India, Tibetan unity, Tibetan identity, the links between Tibetans across places and generations, future paths for Tibet, including self-determination, and how to approach the future after His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The conference consists of three round tables, scenario planning workshops to discuss key concerns, opportunities and develop narratives for the future.

The Future of Tibet is an independent civil society initiative hoping to bring Tibetans together and to unite in the spirit of taking responsibility for, and an interest in, Tibet’s future. The Organising Committee is a small group of individuals from all corners of society with no formal or institutional affiliation who believe in the strength of unity as well as in the force of diversity. The first Future of Tibet conference took place in Washington DC in April 2022. A European conference followed in November 2022 in Paris, France and a youth conference was held in New York in April 2023.