By Tenzin Dharpo
The Five-fifty Youth forum inaugural function at Hotel Imperial in Dharamshala on Aug. 17, 2018. Photo-TibeNet
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 17: Around a hundred youth from 15 different countries gathered here at the exile seat of the Tibetan diaspora to pool in their voice during the Central Tibetan Administration’s maiden ‘Five-Fifty Youth Forum’. The four-day “brain storming” event began on Friday with the entirety of the exile Tibetan government’s top rung leadership in attendance.
President Dr. Lobsang Sangay while inviting the participants to voice their opinions and exchange ideas quoted the Buddha, “Don’t criticize, give solutions”. The head of the exile Tibetan polity said, “The youth must know the system first. Without knowing how the system actually works, your voice will just be noise. It will fail to have any meaningful impact.”
Dr. Sangay said that the “privileged” present generation Tibetans must take “ownership of the Tibetan freedom movement” and carry the mantle forward for Tibet. He said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama once instructed him that the role of the Sikyong (president) is to envision a movement for Tibet without him in it and so his administration is dedicated on incubating leaders for Tibet to that effect.
The forum which is the second segment under the umbrella of the ‘Five-fifty vision’ will incorporate opinions, ideas and suggestions to shape Tibet’s political future and strengthening the Tibetan freedom movement.
The forum will host plenary sessions on Tibet and China: Historical ties, Establishing Dialogue with PRC—institutional, civil society, individual level, Young Voices in the Tibetan Freedom Movement: Communications, Advocacy, and International Relations, Homeland and diaspora—building linkages between Tibetans inside and outside Tibet and CTA’s Leadership toward the Five-Fifty Vision- creating visionary leadership, and resource mobilisation within and beyond CTA frontiers, the organizers said.
Organizers also said that they will host rigorous breakout sessions on devising action plans to maximise the potential of the youth in the movement. Open mic sessions with Dr. Lobsang Sangay and presentation by Belgian academic Michael Van Walt who authored the book ‘The Status of Tibet: History, Rights and Prospects in International Law’, will also be part of the forum.
Secretary (Equivalent) Tenzin Dhardon Sharling of DIIR said that the organisers felt pride in welcoming the participants who were primarily selected for their record of service towards the society. Tibetan students, entrepreneurs, government employees and professionals from various sectors between the ages of 20-40 will pool in their voices in the four-day meet.