Dharamshala: Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile concluded its Parliamentary advocacy meeting on the 29th of March of 2023 with the parliamentarians compiling their ideas and views in over three days of the meeting.
A closing ceremony was held in the evening wherein the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile gave her remarks.
Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykhang in her closing remark thanked resource persons Prof. Michael van Walt van Praag and Miek Boltjes, participating parliamentarians, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for funding the meeting.
As the two resource persons had prepared the background material for the 8th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet (WPCT) in June 2022, the Deputy Speaker clarified the process of organizing the workshop as a follow-up for the 8th WPCT and to upskill the MPs with new advocacy skills in countering the misleading information spread by China. And further informed the parliamentarians of an upcoming handbook to be prepared by the resource persons, especially for the TPiE’s advocacy programs.
“Personally to me, the advocacy meeting was extremely beneficial, especially with respect to the usage of the terminology”, added the Deputy Speaker and thanked MPs for their active participation considering the meeting was held straight after the ten days of a hectic parliamentary session.
The Deputy Speaker then thanked Prof. Michael van Walt van Praag and Miek Boltjes for providing their valuable guidance over these three days. Prof. Michael van Walt van Praag has drafted many of the official documents of the Central Tibetan Administration, including the declarations of many of the previous World Parliamentarians’ Conventions on Tibet (WPCTs).
Professor is one of the legal advisors to the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration on the Sino-Tibetan conflict and is an expert on the Middle Way Approach (MWA). Miek Boltjes also has a long-standing relationship with the Sino-Tibetan conflict, as she had worked for the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) since 1991. Miek Boltjes is a mediator in intrastate conflicts and has served as special assistant to the Foreign Minister of East Timor and was responsible for liaison with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Before concluding her address, the Deputy Speaker also thanked the interpreters and the NDI for their valuable contributions.
Finally, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel honored the resource persons, interpreters, and NDI staff with mementos and Tibetan ceremonial scarves.
During the meeting, they discussed the significance of using the correct terminology in international advocacy by identifying the most commonly used terminology on Tibet and Tibetans.
And had extensive deliberation on the common misconceptions with respect to Tibet by putting special emphasis on the ways of countering them in international advocacy. They also practiced using and correcting language and misconceptions in frequently encountered scenarios.
There were presentations on the Middle Way Approach (MWA), explicitly explaining its true essence and its historical background. More discussions were held on the relationship between the Middle Way Approach, Tibet’s history, and international legal status.
The lawmakers were exuberant in compiling their thoughts on the relevance of the Tibetans’ right to self-determination for the Tibetan Parliament’s stated international advocacy goals.
The advocacy meeting also discussed using the strength of Tibet’s international legal status to advance Tibet’s advocacy goals and the significance of history in Tibet advocacy.
The meeting also discussed how to put advocacy skills in practice by implementing the paradigm shift and interacted in detail on the significance of history in advocacy with the changing political scenario.
During the feedback session, Parliamentarians extended their gratitude to the facilitators Michael van Walt and Miek Boltjes for taking their precious time in enhancing them with the helpful skills of making more informed choices in future Tibet advocacy programs.