DHARAMSHALA: The Tibet Policy Institute, a think-tank of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is organising a two-day conference on the CTA’s international efforts, to allow some of the leading exponents of its international relations, to discuss their activities. The conference will discuss how the exile Tibetan community managed to raise Tibet’s international visibility since His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s exile to India in 1959.
Speakers at the conference include some of the senior most officials of the Central Tibetan Administration including Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen, Special Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to EU, Mr. Tashi Phuntsok, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations, Mr. Dawa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Taiwan, Mr. Kaydor Aukatsang, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington and Mr. Tsewang Phuntso, Liaison Officer to Latin America.
Speaking at the conference, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay lauded the remarkable accomplishments of the Central Tibetan Administration on its international efforts, given the daunting circumstances under which it had to operate in the early stages of exile.
“The main purpose of organising this conference is to review the international efforts of the Central Tibetan Administration in the past decades, and derive recommendations and directions for the CTA’s future course of action,” Sikyong said.
“The most significant period of the Central Tibetan Administration’s international efforts was between 1987 and 1993. Tibet became a focal point in international politics during these six years. It was mainly based on the two peace initiatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: the Five Point Peace Plan delivered in 1987 and the Strasbourg Proposal of 1988,” Sikyong said.
“One other factor for the remarkable accomplishment of the CTA’s international efforts was the hard work and dedication of the former Tibetan civil servants and the elder generation of the Tibetan people. Due to their contributions, the Central Tibetan Administration became one of the most effective and efficient exile administration, and the Tibetan diaspora, one of the most successful refugee communities in the world,” Sikyong added.
Describing CTA’s policies as pragmatic and reasonable, Sikyong said the policies of the Central Tibetan Administration has gained worldwide support, including from a growing number of Chinese scholars and public intellectuals. Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay characterised the CTA’s approach towards China as a three-pronged, non-violent strategy involving the UN, Europe and the US.
Speaking on the importance of a convincing narrative to gain international support, Sikyong said: “The Central Tibetan Administration’s narrative of Political Repression, Cultural Assimilation, Environmental Destruction, Economic Marginalisation and Social Discrimination, as the main causes of the critical situation in Tibet has been corroborated by all the major Human Rights organisations, and media agencies. Whereas, even after spending lots of money on its propaganda, the worldwide response towards China’s version of the situation in Tibet has largely been muted.”
In his concluding remarks, Sikyong expressed his hope that the two-day conference will come out with some constructive recommendations towards the Central Tibetan Administration’s internationals efforts.
Mr. Kalsang Gyaltsen, Special Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to EU, spoke about the Sino-Tibetan dialogue and, Europe and International community’s responsibility towards Tibet. In his address, he emphasised that the only realistic way to resolve the Tibet issue with China is through dialogue.
“The Middle Way Approach of the Central Tibetan Administration seeks to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue. Some salient features of the dialogue include resolving the urgent situation inside Tibet, safeguarding the fundamental values and cultural identity of Tibet, and garnering worldwide support for a mutually-beneficial solution to the Tibet issue, within the framework of China’s constitution,” he said.
Secretary Tashi Phuntsok spoke on ‘Tibet and Africa’; Mr. Kaydor Aukatsang spoke on ‘Tibet and North America’; Mr. Tsewang Phuntso spoke on ‘Tibet in South America’; and Mr. Dawa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Taiwan spoke about Tibet and its relations with Taiwan.
The first day of the conference, which was held yesterday, included presentations of research findings by TPI researchers and other Tibetan scholars and students.