In a first, Tibetan NGOs across country trained to become Champions of Dialogue

Dharamsala: In a first, the Middle Way Approach Desk of Department of Information & International Relations, CTA is organising a ‘Training of Trainers on Empowering Champions of Dialogue’ for members of Tibetan NGOs from across India.

The three-day training for trainers program began today at the Tibetan Administrative Training Centre for 30 personnels from various Tibetan organisations including the Tibetan Women’s Association, Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Dotoe Association, Ngari and Global Tibetan People’s Movement for Middle Way Approach.

The inaugural session of the workshop was attended by President Dr Lobsang Sangay, DIIR Secretaries Sonam Norbu Dagpo and Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, Additional Secretaries Chemi Tseyang and Tsering Yangkey.

In his remarks to the participants, the President of Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay reaffirmed Kashag’s unwavering commitment to the Middle Way Approach to resolve the Tibet issue.

He pointed out that the Kashag has promulgated the viability of the Middle Way Approach at every possible forum and has since garnered a groundswell of support at the level of both government and public.

Global leaders who have supported dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China based on MWA include former U.S. President Barack Obama, George Bush, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, Kevin Rudd and former Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-jeou.

He said, “President Barack Obama’s meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 16 July 2011, 21 February 2014 and in 2016 the White House applauded “the Dalai Lama’s commitment to non-violence and dialogue with China and his pursuit of the Middle-Way Approach,” and encouraged “direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences”, saying “that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans.”

In his incisive hourlong presentation, Dr Sangay highlighted the four focus areas to look at when examining the Middle Way Approach: Dialogue with China at both official and unofficial level; Kindness of the Indian government and people for supporting Tibetans to become the most successful refugee community; global support and advocacy for Tibetan Middle Way Approach; and Fulfilling the aspirations of Tibetan people in Tibet.

DIIR Secretary Sonam Norbu Dagpo spoke about the importance of having an in-depth understanding of the Middle Way Approach, as it’s the official policy of the Central Tibetan Administration to resolve the Tibet issue.

“The idea was essentially conceived by His Holiness the Dalai Lama but it later unanimously approved by the Tibetan Parliament, following a public referendum in support of the policy.

“As early as in 1974, Holiness the Dalai Lama started internal discussions to find ways to resolve the issue of Tibet through an autonomy arrangement instead of seeking independence,” he added.

Secretary Dagpo argued that the MWA’s first accomplishment came with the establishment of direct contact between Dharamshala and Beijing when then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping expressed willingness to discuss and resolve all issues except the independence of Tibet.

“Since then His Holiness the Dalai Lama has taken numerous initiatives to bring about a mutually acceptable negotiated solution to the question of Tibet. In October 2008 the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People to the Chinese leadership and in January 2010 an explanatory Note on the memorandum on genuine autonomy.

“The asks of the MWA is consistent with both the National Regional Autonomy Law and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.”

Secretary Dhardon Sharling, in her remarks, expressed optimism that such workshops will help create more awareness on the policy, as these workshops were specifically designed to train leaders and activists involved in day to day interaction with public.

The two-day training is based on an interactive, activity-based learning and information sharing with regard to the relevance of Middle Way Approach as a realistic conflict resolution strategy.

The training is being facilitated by DIIR Secretary Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, Kalden Tsomo (UN and Human Rights Officer) and organised by the MWA desk of DIIR.

The training is a part of DIIR’s effort to create champions of dialogue equip trainers with the right skills who will spearhead the campaign to spread awareness about the essence of the Middle Way Approach (Umaylam) in Tibetan community.