NEW YORK: The Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Mr Penpa Tsering, concluded his 12-day US visit with a meeting with the Governor of the Vermont State, Mr Peter Shumlin, in his office on 16 December. The two leaders discussed about the critical situation inside Tibet, particularly the wave of tragic self-immolation protest by Tibetans since February 2009. Speaker Penpa Tsering emphasised the importance of Tibet from the environmental aspect particularly for the Southeast Asia.
On his first stopover in Minnesota, Speaker Penpa Tsering met the State legislators Carolyn Laine and Dean Knudsen from Minnesota and Wisconsin respectively at a reception dinner hosted by the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota on 6 December. He also met Mr Kevin Lindsay, Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Human Rights, on the occasion of World Human Rights Day on 10 December.
The Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota has formally invited the Tibetan Parliament Speaker to visit Tibetan community as the chief guest to celebrate the 24th Anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Office of Tibet in New York with respective Tibetan Associations organised the Speaker’s visit to Tibetan communities based in 7 different States. The Tibetan public accorded warm reception to the Speaker and attended his talks in large number.
Speaker Penpa Tsering addressed the Tibetan public in Minnesota, Chicago, Madison, Washington DC, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Vermont. He emphasised the contribution made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the evolution of Tibetan democracy in exile, and the preservation of Tibetan culture and language. He also underlined the essence of the Middle Way Approach of the Central Tibetan Administration to resolve the issue of Tibet. His public talks were followed by four to six hours of Q&A sessions. Many Tibetans came forward to thank the Speaker for his straightforward answers, and acknowledged that they are more informed, encouraged and motivated to work for the unity and the common goal. He also interacted with members of Tibetan NGOs on the current issues in Tibet as well in the exile community, and gave advice and suggestions for various issues concerning them.
He was the chief guest during a fundraising event for relief measures in cyclone-affected Phuntsokling Tibetan settlement in Orissa. Over US$ 3000.00 was raised during the event which was organised by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, New York and New Jersey on 12 December. An additional fund of over US$ 5000.00 during a public talk organised by the Tibetan Association of New York & New Jersey on 14 December. The Office of Tibet will send the donations to the Central Tibetan Relief Committee in Dharamsala.
On the sideline of his visit, Speaker Penpa Tsering visited Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) and gave interviews. He met Carl Gershman , the director, and staff members during a visit to the office of National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington, DC. He attended a luncheon meeting with board of International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and spoke to newly-appointed President of ICT, Mr Matteo Mecacci, former member of Italian Parliament and a long-time friend of Tibet.
Speaker Penpa Tsering also visited the Office of Tibet in New York on 17 December. He met with Representative Kaydor Aukatsang and they exchanged frank discussion on various activities including building stronger ties with 30 North American Tibetan Associations. He also met with Tibet Fund’s President Rinchen Dharlo and Executive Director Lobsang Nyandak.
He is scheduled to left New York for India on 19 December.