Dharamshala: The India Tibet Coordination Office (ITCO), based in New Delhi, conducted a three-day educational tour from 3rd to 5th November 2023, in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, as part of its annual outreach program on Tibet. The program welcomed thirty-five students and five faculty members from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Department of English Journalism, New Delhi. The participants were accompanied by ITCO Coordinator Thupten Rinzin and Program Officer Choney Tsering.
Throughout the program, the group engaged in diverse activities. They commenced their visit by exploring the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on the first day, where they met Kalon Norzin Dolma from the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), who provided insights into Tibet, the organizational structure and functions of CTA, particularly highlighting the works and role of her department. This was followed by discussions on the current situation inside Tibet, the colonial boarding schools, and the Middle-Way Policy of the CTA, accompanied by an interactive Q&A session.
The group also visited the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) and had an informative session with Parliamentarian Tenzin Jigdal, who elucidated the evolution of Tibetan democracy, the election process, and the functioning and composition of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. The Tibetan MP also engaged in a Q&A session where he clarified the Tibetan election, the Charter of Tibetans in exile, the parliamentary constituency, and others.
In the afternoon, the group met with Sikyong Penpa Tsering, CTA President. He delivered a presentation to students and faculty members, discussing the global significance of the Tibetan plateau, encompassing its geographical and environmental dimensions. Additionally, he delved into topics surrounding the political status of Tibet, the Tibetan leadership in exile, and the historical Indo-Tibet relations. Emphasizing the significance of staying informed about Tibet and the world, is particularly pertinent for media students. Following his address, an interactive session took place, during which students actively engaged, posing numerous questions about Tibet, all of which were eloquently addressed by Sikyong.
Additionally, the group explored the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA), engaging with Secretary Lhawang and learning about the library’s history and programs.
On the second day, the group visited the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) and interacted with TCV Director Tsultrim Dorjee, exploring the history, education system, and contributions of TCV to the Tibetan community. Following this visit, they engaged with representatives from major Tibetan NGOs including the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT), and Students for Free Tibet (SFT), learning about their respective organizations and roles within the Tibetan exiled community.
The group also visited the Tibet Museum of DIIR, CTA, gaining deeper insights into Tibetan history and explored the Norbulingka Institute, observing various artistic processes including Tibetan wood carving, oil painting, thangka painting, doll museum and visiting the Norbulingka temple and shop.
The final day included visits to the Tsuglakhang temple complex, monasteries, and other cultural centers in and around McLeod Ganj, offering an immersive experience in Tibetan spiritual and cultural aspects.
The program concluded with a token of appreciation to ITCO Coordinator Thupten Rinzin and Program Officer Choney Tsering, expressing gratitude for the enlightening opportunity to learn about Tibet. The participants pledged to raise awareness about Tibet among their circles and the wider Indian population.
In conclusion, ITCO Coordinator Thupten Rinzin extended gratitude to all participants and bestowed Khatak (Tibetan sacred white scarves) to each member, wishing them success in their future endeavors and hoping that the program enriched their understanding of Tibet and the Tibetan freedom movement.
-Reported by ITCO, New Delhi