BRUSSELS: Kalon Ngodup Dongchung accompanied by Mr Ngodup Dorjee, the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Brussels, arrived at the Belgian town of Antwerpen on 7 July after a four-day visit to Paris and Amsterdam. He was received at the Antwerpen Central railway station by the staff of the office of Tibet, Brussels, the president and the executive members of Belgian Tibetan community and the presidents of various Tibetan non-governmental organisations.
He was then escorted to the function organised by the Tibetan community in Belgium to celebrate the 77th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Kalon Ngodup Dongchung offered Kashag’s greetings and read out the Kashag’s statement on the occasion. He also spoke on a wide-range of current issues concerning Tibet and the Tibetans. While commending the efforts being made by the Tibetan community in Belgium to build a cohesive and engaging Tibetan community, he emphasised on the need to further strengthen community ties and urged Tibetans to work in unity in the face of daunting challenges confronting the Tibetans under the prevailing circumstances. He also expressed Kashag’s greetings to the Belgian friends of Tibet and thanked them for their relentless support and sympathy.
Representative Ngodup Dorjee spoke on the invaluable leadership and guidance that His Holiness has offered to the Tibetans over the years. He also urged the audience to be more vigilant to the challenges facing the community and urged them to collectively work towards building a strong community. Both the Kalon and the representative urged the Tibetan community to work tirelessly towards preserving unique Tibetan culture and educating young Tibetans on Tibetan language and culture. The gathering also observed a minute’s silence in memory of fellow Tibetans who have sacrificed their precious lives for Tibet’s freedom and dignity.
The president of Belgian Tibetan community welcomed Kalon and thanked him for his presence and participation.
A group of visiting monks from Sera Lachi monastery performed special prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and also performed cham dance. The cultural unit of the Tibetan community performed nangma toshe and other individual performers also presented various traditional Tibetan songs.
More than 800 Tibetans and Belgian friends of Tibet attended the event.
Next day, Kalon Ngodup Dongchung took part in a cultural rally followed by a function organised jointly by the office of Tibet and the Belgian Tibetan community in Brussels city center to celebrate His Holiness’s birthday. The rally began from Menneken Pis, a popular landmark unique to Brussels. A large number of Tibetans and Belgian friends of Tibet took part in the rally. Pamphlets depicting biography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama were distributed during the rally.
The function held at Grand Palace began with long life prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama by a group of monks from Sera Lachi monastery. Representative Ngodup Dorjee read out the Kashag’s statement on the occasion. Ms Inge Hermans, the President of Friends of Tibet, Belgium, Ms Helen, special representative of Vice President, European Parliament Mr Edward Mcmillan Scott, and Ms Monique, the President of Luxembourg friends of Tibet addressed the gathering. The Belgain Tibetan community and students of the Tibetan cultural center, Belgium performed traditional dance and group songs during the event.
Kalon will be attending a special reception to be organised by the office of Tibet on 11 July as a special guest. The reception being organised on the occasion of the 77th birth anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be attended by more than 150 dignitaries from EU, foreign embassies, NGOs, and national parliament. Kalon will leave Brussels on 12 July on a three-day visit to Barcelona to take part in celebration of His Holiness’ birth anniversary and to meet Tibetans living in Spain.
(Report filed by Office of Tibet, Brussels)