Being Tibetan in the West: How much to adapt, How much to not adapt

On Wednesday 3rd May 2017, I joined with two former Tibetan MPs from North America and Europe on a Live TV Talk show hosted by anchor Namgyal Shastri (who is also a former Tibetan MP) on the Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan language programme from their London News Centre. The Live programme runs from 3pm to 4pm on Wednesdays and Fridays with news bulletin for the first 20 mins or so.

The key topics for this talk show: ‘Being Tibetan in the West: How much to adapt, How much to not adapt’.

It is predicted that soon about half of the current Tibetan population in exile is expected to be based in western countries, outside the Indian sub-continent (excluding Tibet and China).

Currently, there are about 150,000 Tibetans in Exile, scattered across some 25 countries. India is the main base for Tibetans in Exile, followed by Nepal. The Tibetan Government in Exile is based in Dharamsala, northern India.

In the past two decades or so, an increasing number of Tibetans have chosen western countries as their new adopted ‘homes’. Whilst educated Tibetans seek to secure better opportunities for their children the challenges lay ahead in maintaining their rich cultural heritage in western societies, which has become an issue.

Efforts are being made by Tibetan communities in these countries to address this issue…

Author: Tsering Passang (Tsamtruk)

Tsering Passang is passionate about Tibet and the Tibetan issue. He was born in a Tibetan refugee camp in western Nepal. An NGO professional with nearly 20 years of experience in international development charities, Tsering has led Tibetan Community UK from 2014 to 2016 as its Chairman. Amongst his pioneering initiatives as the Community Leader, Tsering spearheaded "Tibetans Helping Tibetans" initiative and within months, it resulted in securing the sponsorship of 30 Tibetan refugee children for their education in India from 25 UK-based Tibetan families. Prior to his current appointment as the Director of Tibet Foundation, Tsering served as Special Adviser to the Tibet Society, the world's oldest Tibet support group. He also worked for Tibet Relief Fund for over eight years, raising vital funds for Tibetan children’s education in India and Nepal. From 2001 to 2007, he worked for Tibet Foundation as Art & Culture Programme Manager. Tsering has conducted multiple field trips to India and Nepal over the past two decades. After returning from his 2008 personal trip to Mustang, Tsering saw a need to provide training to those Tibetan teachers working in rural areas. Within a year, with the support of western teaching professionals, Tsering initiated the vital training programme for the teachers. Over 50 Tibetan refugees and ethnic Tibetan teachers from Mustang, Manang, Dhorpatan, Pokhara and Kathmandu attended the trainings delivered in Mustang, Kathmandu and Pokhara. He developed partnerships with the local NGOs and schools in Nepal. From 2014 to 2016, Tsering served on the boards of Tibet Society and Tibet House Trust. He also served as the Chairman and a Trustee of the Tibetan Refugee Charitable Trust. Tsering continues his advocacy work on Tibet. He has attended and engaged with parliamentarians, special advisers and officials from the UK, UN, the US and EU. Tsering has also spoken at important public and closed forums – audience included governments representatives, policymakers, rights advocates, lawyers, journalists, NGO professionals, university students and researchers. In addition to his writings on the Tibetan affairs, published in the British, Nepalese and Tibetan media, Tsering was interviewed by the BBC, Sky News and Reuters. He is also frequently interviewed by the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and Voice of Tibet. Tsering has conducted special interviews with leading Tibetan political figures - President of the Tibetan Government-in-exile (Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's former Special Envoy (Washington-based) and former Representative (London-based) for a Tibetan YouTube channel – LondonNey Production. Tsering’s personal blog: www.tsamtruk.com Tsering's latest initiative is the creation of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) - an advocacy group with the object of highlighting the issues affecting the Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims as well as other peoples persecuted by the Chinese regime.

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