Belgium: The Tibetan Community in Belgium celebrated the award of Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama under the stewardship of the 8th and new committee members on Friday, 7th December.
The week-end after office-hour traffic at its height, rear red-light stretching into miles added to that the blustery-rainy weather notwithstanding, Tibetans began to pour into the hall in Antwerp from across Belgium. The repainted hall looked bright and big. The spirit of the Tibetans was high and joyful.
After a few games of Tambola as a warm-up, the formal ceremony commenced with installation of His Holiness’ portrait on the throne. Representative Tashi Phuntsok led the train of well-wishers offering scarves. The Tibetan Community Sunday School, Sherab Nangjey, presented the Nobel Peace Prize song. A minute’s silence was observed for the sacrifice of Tibetans for Tibet. Mr Phurbu Dhondup, President of Tibetan Community gave a brief introductory speech.
Representative Tashi Phuntsok, in his keynote address as the Chief Guest, recalled on the joyous occasion. Amid series of massive protests in Tibet in 1987, 88 and 89, with global recognition of His Holiness’s contributions, the award of the Nobel peace prize to him in December 1989 was the icing on the cake. Tibetans across the world took to spontaneous celebrations. It was a new era of joy and hope for Tibet.
He also reminded that 10 December is human rights day. This must provide the opportunity for us to recall the continuing violation of human rights in Tibet. 153th self-immolation took place in Tibet just last month. “As much as we celebrate the day with joy and inspiration that it gives us, we must also re-dedicate ourselves to fulfil the wishes of His Holiness and bring fruition to the aspirations of our brethren in Tibet”, he added.
Towards strengthening the Tibetan efforts he cajoled the audience to aim to obtain a standard of excellence in the Tibetan community. Education and obtaining high skills should be major objectives. Children should be encouraged to pursue high education, elders should imbibe the high standard of culture and civil society of the country. The former committee members must guide and assist the new in order to consolidate the capacity of the Tibetan community and build further the culture of community values.
Representative Phuntsok reminded the assembly of the forthcoming March 10 Europe Rally in Brussels. He also called upon the public to participate fully in the ongoing demographic survey of Tibetans outside the Indian Sub-continent. To make a success of these activities, he called on the community to co-operate and collaborate with the Committee Members of the community.
Mr Phuntsok then gave away the certificates to the former and 7th Committee members of the Tibetan Community. Their presence and others guests – representatives of various associations, including Chair of the Buddhist Association of Belgium, Mr Carlo Luyckx, added grace and solemnity to the celebrations, which was adequately acknowledged by the Vice President in his vote of thanks.
The formal ceremony thus concluded, the festivities began. Dinner was served, cultural performances followed, games began whilst the public partook to their sumptuous dinner.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, Brussels