Phayul Special Correspondent
(Photo courtesy: www.we-are-tibet.org)
Zurich, 9 April - The First European Tibetan Youth Parliament opened earlier today at the main building of Zurich University where around 160 Tibetan youth from 11 countries are participating in various sessions. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address the Tibetan youth tomorrow.
Ms. Kelsang Dolkar from Italy was elected as the first Chairperson. Her name was proposed by the Secretariat of the Parliament after no formal nominations or candidates emerged from amongst the participants.
Addressing the Parliament in an opening speech, Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen, Envoy of H. H. the Dalai Lama, reminded the participants about how the Tibetan Issue emerged in the 20th century due to the military occupation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China. "If there are hopes that the Tibetan Issue will be resolved in the 21st century, then Tibetan youth will have to shoulder the full responsibility."
On behalf of the organisers, Mr. Kunsang Koakpa of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) said that the objective of the gathering was for the Parliament to become a common platform for Tibetan youth in Europe to network, exchange experiences, share knowledge and to "show that we will take the responsibility." "We have lived in foreign countries but we are Tibetans at heart," he added.
With the theme, "We Are Tibet", the TYAE also hope that the European Tibetan Youth Parliament will be a permanent forum with plan of action in Europe for the next decade to achieve greater awareness on Tibet and to seek political support from their respective countries of residence.
Earlier in a video message to the Parliament posted the site, www.we-are-tibet.org
, Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen stated: " ... since we are living in Europe and many European countries are keeping contacts with the Chinese government, we should strengthen our activities to press these governments in order to accomplish a mutually acceptable solution for Tibetans and Chinese.”
Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen today said the Tibetan lobby efforts, however, must be based on the full knowledge of international law, democratic values and human rights standards.
The Parliament adopted its rules of procedure and concluded the first plenary meeting by paying tribute to the Tibetans inside Tibet for their courageous launch of the 2008 Uprising and sang the Tibetan National Anthem.
Participants have now moved to Workshops to discuss topics such as democratisation, activism and resistance, secularisation, relation between Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetan youth and young Tibetans in Europe.
TYAE which celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year was founded by young Tibetans in Switzerland in 1970. Currently it has about 400 members in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.