DHARAMSHALA, July 9: Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Penpa Tsering, who is currently on an official visit to Italy, attended an international conference on ‘Scenarios and perspectives for the future of Tibet’ in Turin on July 5.
The conference, organised by the Association for Tibet and Human Rights of the Regional Council of Piemonte in collaboration with the Tibetan community in Italy, was attended by André Gattolin, Senator of the French Parliament, Matteo Mecacci and Gianni Vernetti, former presidents of the Italian Parliamentary Intergroup for Tibet, Mariacristina Spinosa, councilor for the City of Turin, Ven. Thubten Wangchen, Tibetan MP from Europe, Kalsang Gyaltsen, Special envoy of the Dalai Lama in Europe, and Bruno Mellano of the Radical Adelaide Aglietta.
Organisers said the conference commemorated the centenary of the Proclamation of the Independence of Tibet made by the Great 13th Dalai Lama and also the 78th birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Delivering the inaugural address, Giampiero Leo, councillor of Piedmont Region said the conference is “further proof of the will of the Legislative Assembly of Piemonte to defend the rights of the extraordinary people of Tibet.”
Valerio Cattaneo, chairman of the Board of the Piedmont Region, lauded the Tibetan community for not giving up on dialogue and interaction despite immense difficulties to make their voices heard.
Speaker Tsering in his address asked how many more Tibetan lives will be lost before leaders of various nations stop ignoring the struggle of the Tibetan people.
“We appeal to the international community to stand firmly by the Tibetan people at this critical juncture and also appeal to China to grant free access for journalists and diplomats from around the world to visit Tibet to witness the actual ground conditions,” speaker of the Dharamshala based Tibetan parliament said.
On July 6, coinciding with the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama, Speaker Penpa Tsering and Ven. Wangche took part in a long-life prayer ceremony to His Holiness offered by Tibetan community in Italy and the Milarepa Buddhist Centre in Turin.
Addressing the Tibetan public, Speaker Tsering spoke on the Tibetan people’s duty to preserve their language and culture, which he said is “facing annihilation” under Chinese rule.
He noted that the responsibility to safeguard Tibetan language and culture rests with every Tibetan and further urged Tibetan families in the west to speak in their native language at home so that the children could also learn their mother tongue.
The speaker also spoke on the significance of the exile Tibetans’ voluntary green book contribution for the sustenance of the Tibetan movement.