The President of Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay addresses Tibetans in Switzerland

Zurich, 16th November 2019: On a chilly yet sunny and bright late Saturday morning in the small town of Rümlang in Zürich, a strong thousand Tibetans waited anxiously to hear and welcome Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the President of Central Tibetan Administration. The President was on his three day visit to Switzerland. Coming directly after concluding the successful Geneva Forum 2019, High-Tech Repression of People of faith in China, the President was in a jovial mood to see his fellow countrymen. Despite his hectic and tight schedules he took time in shaking hands and exchanging a word or two with almost all the hundred Tibetans, who stood in line to welcome him just outside the hall.

With the traditional welcome ceremony performed by cultural performer s of Tibetan arts, the event began amidst the singing of Tibetan national anthem, and followed by a minutes silence to pay respect and prayers for Tibetan martyrs who sacrificed for the cause of Tibet.

Mr. Tsamda Norbu, the president of Tibetan Community of Switzerland & Liechtenstein (TCSL) thanked the President of Central Tibetan Administration for his efforts and taking time to address the general Tibetan people. Briefly introducing the works of TCSL, he lamented on the lack of cooperation in public works from the Tibetan masses. Given the size of Tibetan population residing in Switzerland he wished for more active and stronger public involvement. He pointed out that TCSL needed more Tibetan teachers for weekend Tibetan language schools, more enrollments in cultural dance groups and qualified reporter in German edition for the official website He appealed for more active involvement from all sides.

Mr. Chime Rigzin, the Representative, the Tibet Office, Geneva, in his address lauded the government of Switzerland and its authorities for providing substantial security arrangements during the Sikyong’s stay in Switzerland. Sharing his feelings he said that he was overwhelmed to witness the impressive welcome reception to the Sikyong accorded by the Tibetan organizations and the Tibetan public suited to the office of a presidency. He thanked them for their active support.

Addressing the gathering, the President, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, at first greeted the Tibetans and commended the works of Tibetan Community of Switzerland & Liechtenstein and the Tibetans living in Switzerland. He mentioned the importance of Tibetan language, culture and religion to preserve our Tibetan heritage. The new and the next generation Tibetans must be taught to take the responsibility of taking our culture further. It can be done only when they get accustomed and familiar with our culture. On a deathbed we could not teach our children how to offer prayers and rituals for the departed soul. He noted that it is praiseworthy that Tibetan parents offer their time taking their children to Tibetan language schools on weekends. He pointed out that such noble works lead to the foundation for the betterment not only of Tibetan society at large but also for their families and themselves.

Speaking about the CTA’s Five-Fifty Vision, the Sikyong said it follows the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” The vision calls for maximizing efforts to resolve the Tibet issue in five years based on the Middle Way Approach, at the same time ensuring CTA’s resilience to sustain the Tibetan freedom struggle and preserve Tibetan culture. The Sikyong added that in the two subsequent Five-Fifty Youth Forum: Shaping Tibet’s Future, held in Dharamsala, contrary to participants from North America the number of Tibetan youth participants registered from Europe was considerably less. He called for more active participation and cooperation in the activities of social and political fields. The Sikyong said the need is to garner more political support from the respective local government bodies and national parliaments.

He spoke about CTA’s plan to observe the next year, 2020 as the Thank You Dalai Lama year. Referring to paying respect and obeisance to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s immense contribution and gratitude towards the mankind at large, and particularly to the Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, the Sikyong remarked that a person of a stature of His Holiness the Dalai Lama comes only once in a century.

Speaking about constant changes in international affairs the Sikyong informed the attendees that the China’s image in the international community is that of a fierce competitor. It is a stark contrast to the image of a friendly partner country the world knew of China a few years ago. In the recently concluded Geneva Forum 2019, High-Tech Repression of People of faith in China, the Chinese government’s systematic repression was reported by all the experts alike. He said in the present world the threat caused by China is felt by each and every country in the world.

In his hour long speech to the public he also encouraged the youth to come forward to lead and serve the Tibetan society and the Tibetan people. Although admitting his background as an unexperienced young man at the time of winning the election to the post of Sikyong, he said he had managed quite successfully due to his progressive outlook and hard work.

The Sikyong’s speech was followed with a lively question and answer session, in which the Sikyong took time to answer questions posed by the Tibetans gathered there.

The event was concluded with the Vice-President of Tibetan Community of Switzerland & Liechtenstein, Mr. Chokchampa Phuntsok, thanking Sikyong for his informative and motivational words.

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