UK Rep. Tseten Samdup reads out His Holiness' message/June 21, 2014
DHARAMSHALA, JUNE 23: The first ever meeting of Tibetans of mixed parentage concluded in London on Sunday evening after two days of workshops, guest speakers and informal evenings.
Over 20 participants from UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, India, USA & Canada took part in the various activities and shared their experiences.
Thupten Samdup, representative of His Holiness in the UK, read out the message of His Holiness and Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay on the opening day.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in his message to the participants, said, "At the present time one of our principal concerns is the preservation of the Tibetan language and culture, a culture focused on peace and non-violence, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage those of you who have a Tibetan father or mother, and an affinity for your Tibetan heritage, to strive for a deeper understanding of our Tibetan Buddhist culture so that not only you will benefit from it but also explore how you can help your Tibetan brothers and sisters to meet this challenge."
“Your gathering is a visible affirmation of your Tibetan identity and a manifestation of the unity that is crucial to us, particularly at this difficult time,” wrote Sangay.
The participants believed that they had a unique role to play in the Tibetan society. “Our mixed heritage gives us a perspective that is a little bit different but not in a negative way, our diversity is what makes us an asset to the community,” a collective statement from the participants said, adding that they face various setbacks in order to be part of the Tibetan society.
“We have to overcome setbacks in order to be included in Tibetan society, such as the language barrier or having different appearances, but we have a right to be here, we understand our place in history, and we feel that the unity of Tibetans is very important for the future of Tibet.”
At the concluding session of the gathering, the participants planned to stay in touch and organise similar meetings in the future, possibly in Europe, USA and Dharamsala.
“Coming into the room on the first evening it was an incredible feeling seeing faces who were so similar to my own. I grew up in the UK and lost touch with the Tibetan community when I was young so this has been the perfect way to reconnect,” said Georgina Doji, 28, from Cambridge, UK.
Another participant, Dominik Chimey Knoepfel, 28, from Arizona, USA, said, “It was really important for me to attend this gathering. I’ve been in Dharamsala for the 5 past weeks and am heading back to India tomorrow to continue exploring my Tibetan heritage. I can really see myself playing an active role in Tibetan society.”
The organizers of the gathering hope more Tibetans of mixed parentage will join in the next edition.
The gathering for Tibetans of mixed parentage was supported by Tibet House Trust, London.