Message from Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay MESSAGE: I hoped to be with you in person but due to my commitments here in Dharamsala I couldn’t join you. I want to say how important I think it is that this gathering is taking place. Your gathering is a visible affirmation of your Tibetan identity and a manifestation of the unity that is crucial to us, particularly at this extremely difficult time. 130 Tibetans in Tibetan and China have self-immolated since February 2009 in protest against Chinese policies. The root cause of the critical situation in Tibet are political repression, cultural assimilation, environmental destruction, economic marginalisation and social discrimination. The Tibetan leadership in exile’s primary goal is to bring about an end to this repression and suffering. We have consistently sought to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue with the Chinese authorities and are committed to the Middle Way Approach of seeking genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Our guiding principles in achieving this aim are unity, innovation and self-reliance. As a long-term strategy, we need to build our individual and collective strengths, and stand on our own feet. In this regard, we would welcome to Dharamsala any one of you with the time, commitment and specific skills to offer the Central Tibetan Administration. Let me conclude by wishing you every success in your discussions and by expressing the wish that such a gathering may be held in Dharamsala in the not too distant future.