Parliamentary Friends of Tibet Canada is honoured to host the newly elected Sikyong, (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration, Mr. Penpa Tsering. We are joined by fellow Members of Parliament and members of the Tibetan community.
Posted by Arif Virani on Monday, 14 June 2021
Washington DC: The Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT) of Canada today hosted “Tibet Day with Sikyong Penpa Tsering” to demonstrate solidarity with the Tibet cause and to honour Mr Penpa Tsering, the new Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration.
This is the first formal engagement between the Sikyong and the PFT. The meeting was moderated by Member of Parliament Arif Virani and attended by the four other MPs: Garnett Genuis, James Maloney, Larry Bagnell, and David Sweet.
Representative Ngodup Tsering, Office of Tibet-Washington DC, Secretaries of Department of Information & International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, Chair and Director of Canada Tibet Committee, Presidents of Tibet Associations, and several Tibetan NGOs in Canada also joined the event.
MP Arif Virani, Chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, officially welcomed Sikyong Penpa Tsering with greetings in Tibetan. He said, “We are very pleased and want to congratulate you from the bottom of our heart and also that we are very much looking forward to having a good working relationship with you.”
He reaffirmed his commitment to the CTA’s Middle Way Approach, a commitment that he made to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and which he essentially described as the “idea of ensuring that Canadian’s focus and the world’s focus remain on Tibet including on the ground in Tibet.”
Citing some of his critical efforts towards that goal, he proposed a few initiatives, including the Reciprocal Access act based on the diplomatic principle of reciprocity that would ensure access by Canadian delegates to Tibet and PRC as much as the Chinese delegates have and continue to have access to in Canada.
MP Virani mentioned two motions that PFT Canada currently supports: Supporting the Middle Way Approach and Sino-Tibet Dialogue, which are respectively pending in the Senate and House of Commons. All MPs welcomed Sikyong Mr Penpa Tsering and assured to work with him in a collaborative effort to seek a speedy resolution to the Sino-Tibet conflict.
Sikyong Penpa Tsering thanked all the MPs and the participants and outlined his vision for global advocacy for Tibet. One of the priorities of his tenure, he said, is to optimize the global advocacy efforts by harnessing “the potential that we have of Tibetans around 25 different countries, who speak the language, understand the system and work with those leaders in the country.”
In that regard, Sikyong said he has high hopes for Canada to set an example and lead in bolstering the advocacy for Tibet.
However, he observed that there might be some areas that warrant a more significant effort in order to “concretize some of the issues” that the Tibetan administration would be keen to take up in the times to come.
Speaking on the internship program, Sikyong said it is something he has constantly appreciated and remarked that the Tibetan youth who have benefited from the program have now become contributing members of the community.
Representative Ngodup Tsering, OOT-DC thanked MP Arif Virani and members of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Canada, for the invitation to participate in this year’s Tibet Day. He noted having attended two Tibet Day events in 2018 and 2019 in-person and observed it as “one of the most productive and effective youth leadership program”.
Every year, the PFT hosts a seven-week PFT Canada internship program on the Hill (May and June), and by the end of the internship program, they host the annual PFT ‘Lhakar’ event on the Hill attended by our PFT members, interns, special guests, Tibetan community members, friends and supporters. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the PFT could not host the internship program for the past two years.
Chogkyi gave an overview of “Tibet Day on the Hills” and why it’s held on Wednesday. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an honorary Canadian citizen, was born on a Wednesday, so the day holds special importance to Tibetans, she explained. For many years, it has grown into a worldwide non-resistance movement to embrace all aspects of Tibetan identity and culture.
– Filed by Office of Tibet, Washington DC