New Delhi – As part of its annual outreach program on Tibet for Indian college students, Delhi-based India Tibet Coordination Office organized an educational tour to Dharamshala from March 7 – March 10, 2019. Twenty-two students and two faculty members of the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (NMCPCR), Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi took part in the program.
During this four-day program, the group visited Central Tibetan Administration and met with various officials there to learn about Tibet’s political, cultural and identity struggles in exile. They met Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Secretary, Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) who is one of the senior most bureaucrats in CTA. He briefed the group about the organizational structure and functions of Central Tibetan Administration.
They met Choekyong Wangchuk, Health Kalon who briefly introduced about his department and later spoke on India-Tibet relations as he had been previously worked on that field for many years. The group also met Pema Yangchen, Education Kalon who briefed them on the education system in exile for Tibetans.
The students visited Upper Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) and interacted with Tsultrim Dorjee, Director, Upper TCV who briefed them on the history, current scenario and contribution of the school to Tibetan community and movement. Later, the group toured the campus and interacted with some students there.
On the second day, the group met with Tsering Yangkey, Director and Tenzin Lekshay, Deputy Director, Tibet Policy Institute (TPI) who briefed them on the works of the institute. Mr. Tenzin Lekshay spoke on the important role of Indian youths in the Tibetan movement by considering it has their own movement. The students had very warm discussions with them. Later, the group visited Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) where they were shown a documentary film introducing the library and its works. Thereafter, they met Ven. Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the library who asked for questions from the students to which he humorously answered.
The group visited Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) where they met Pema Jungney, Speaker of the Parliament who gave elaborate details on the TPiE structure and functioning. The students cleared their doubts regarding the Tibetan Parliament raising questions to the Speaker. Later, the group met with Karma Lekshey, Director and Sonam Dechen, Associate Director, Tibetan Centre for Conflict Resolution (TCCR) and had interactive session with them.
In the afternoon of March 8, the group had an interactive session with Dharamsala-based Tibetan NGOs and CBOs such as Tibet Charity, Lha Charitable Trust, Active Non-violence Action Centre, Men-Tsee-Khang, National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT), Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) etc. There were also nuns from Dolmaling Nunnery and students from Sarah College of Higher Tibetan Studies. The Tibetan NGOs and CBOs briefly introduced their organisations which were followed by interactive session. The session was coordinated by Tibetan Settlement Office, Dharamshala.
The group visited the Tibet Museum where they met Mr. Tashi Phuntsok, Director of the museum who briefed them about the museum and took them on the tour of the museum. Later, they visited Tsuglakhang Temple Complex in the evening as well.
On the third day, the group met with Dr. Lobsang Sangay, President of Central Tibetan Administration at the Kashag Secretariat. The President narrated his life story as requested from the group mentioning his struggles, determination and achievements which thus highly motivated the students. He advised the students to work hard and be little smart. Thereafter, they visited the Kashag meeting hall and briefed about the Kashag by Mr. Sonam Tashi, Staff at Kashag Secretariat.
Later, the group attended the Tibetan cultural show performed by the artists of Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts at T- building hall, CTA. They were awe by the performances and highly praised the rich Tibetan culture.
Earlier in the morning, some students along with the faculty also visited Jampa Choeling Nunnery and interacted with nuns there.
On the last day, the group attended the commemoration of 60th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day at Tsuglakhang. The day was significant as Tibetan people all around the world were commemorating the 60th year of resistance from the Communist China. The event was graced by the presence of Dr Ian Khama, Former President of Botswana and staunch supporter of Tibet as the chief guest. There were Parliamentarians from 13 countries and many other delegates during the event. The group was awe by witnessing the air of patriotism filling the courtyard from young to old Tibetans holding the Tibetan National Flag and applauding the speakers at every mentioning of the word Tibet.
Overall, the students and the faculty of NMCPCR really liked and enjoyed the educational tour. It was eye opener and highly educational for many of them as they came to know many things about Tibet during these four days. They mentioned that in future they will work in contributing towards the Tibetan cause creating awareness about Tibet among their friends and general Indian mass. The group thanked the organizers for the tour saying it was wonderful.
The group was accompanied by ITCO Coordinator Karma Dhargyal and Program Officer Choney Tsering during the educational tour.