The Third Gathering of Tibetans of Mixed Heritage concluded successfully on Friday, 13 October, 2017. The conference was attended by 14 participants from the ages of 14-41, from the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, France, Italy, India, and the Netherlands. The programme began on October 9 with a special audience for the participants with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was the first time that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had given an audience only to Tibetans of mixed heritage.
The participants attended a meeting with Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay on Thursday October 12 in the meeting hall of the CTA’s Department of Information and International Relations, which was followed by a formal dinner hosted by the Kashag.
Dr. Sangay stated, “The fact that you are hosting the gathering in Dharamsala is significant as it is the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration. So, I heartily welcome you all here,” he said. “As far as the Central Tibetan Administration is concerned, you are all Tibetans as much as any other Tibetan. You are not mixed or half-Tibetans, you are complete Tibetans. We should embrace our commonality, not our differences”.
Co-organiser of the gathering Tashi Brooks Dondup, 37, from Colorado, USA, said of the programme: “What I really like about the conference is that we all come from different parts of the world and have different backgrounds, but at the same time we all share a common experience that connects us in a profound and meaningful way.”
Second time participant Amanda Sherpa-Atlan, 30, from Paris, France, said: “The first gathering in London was, for me, a very personal and intimate experience, a feeling of finding long lost “cousin brothers and sisters” who had lived similar life experiences to mine. This time, having the conference at the very heart of Tibet in exile was more of a group thing: a step further for us mixed Tibetans to acknowledge ourselves and be acknowledged as a true part of the Tibetan society.”
The first gathering of Tibetans of Mixed Heritage took place in London, UK, in 2014, followed by a gathering in Zurich in 2015. In 2016, the Tibetans of Mixed Heritage were also invited by the Office of Tibet to facilitate a session on mixed heritage at the Young Tibetan Leaders Summit at the Garrison Institute, NY. This year’s programme was the first ever conference for Tibetans of Mixed Heritage to be held in Dharamsala.
First-time participant Sonam Bligh, 41, from London, UK, said of his first visit to Dharamsala: “It was a powerful and inspiring trip. It was important to go back to my roots.”
The aim of the conference is to provide participants with a space to meet together, share experiences and engage in conversation about identity, history, politics and culture. The programme ended on Friday, 13 October with a varied formal component, with invited guest speakers including Lhadon Tethong, Telo Rinpoche, Tashi Tsering, Ama Adhe, Dorjee Tseten, Alison Reynolds, Tenzin Lhundup and visits to the Tsuglagkhang, Tibet Museum, the Tibetan Children’s Village, Norbulingka and the Tibetan Parliament.
The organizers would like to thank the CTA’s DIIR, the Office of the Sikyong and all the donors from the crowdfunding campaign which helped to supplement the costs of the conference.
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