By Tsering Passang, Founder and Chairman, Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities
A high-level meeting between senior US government officials including Under Secretary Uzra Zeya and elected leaderships of the Central Tibetan Administration (aka Tibetan Government-in-Exile) was held in Washington D.C. this week.
At a time when the Tibetan issue is slipping its spotlight on the global stage, this high-level meeting in the US capital between senior US government officials and the exiled Tibetan leaderships is a sign of positive development for Tibet. Since there has been a greater need of political turbocharge to bring about a lasting resolution to the 70-years old China-Tibet conflict this latest high-level meeting is a showcase of political support from the US government. We hope Washington D.C. will take up the matter next with the senior Chinese leaderships in Beijing in order to secure a meaningful outcome.
The Tibetan delegation is led by Hon. Sikyong Penpa Tsering, President of the Central Tibetan Administration; Hon. Speaker Venerable Khenpo Sonam Tenphel and Hon. Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. They are also joined by Hon. Kalon for Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), Minister Norzin Dolma; and Dr. Namgyal Choedup, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama based the Office of Tibet, Washington D.C.
Under Secretary Uzra Zeya is the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, who took the office six months ago. In his press statement on 20th December 2021, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken said, “I have designated Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya to serve concurrently as the United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, an important role she will take on effective immediately. She will also continue to serve as Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, a position for which she was sworn in on July 14, 2021.”
In her Special Coordinator’s role, Under Secretary Uzra Zeya coordinates the US government policies, programmes and projects related to Tibetan issues.
The Senior US diplomat paid her first official visit to Dharamsala, northern India, the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration, in May 2022, when she met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the elected Tibetan leaderships. After her India visit, Zeya travelled to Nepal where she met with Nepalese Prime Minister and discussed matters related to the Tibetan refugees.
Washington D.C. hosts 8th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet
Over 100 delegates from 26 countries are expected to attend the 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet in Washington D.C. from 22nd to 23rd June, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile’s press release said.
Organised by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, this convention is in continuation of the previous seven sessions of WPCT, with an object of strengthening and coordinating support by parliamentarians from different countries to resolve the China-Tibet conflict.
According to the TPIE’s press release issued on 20th June, the first WPCT was held in 1994 in New Delhi “honouring the foundational role India has played in the survival of the Tibetan identity after the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet”. Subsequent conventions were held in Vilnius, Lithuania (1995); Washington D.C., USA (1997); Edinburgh, Scotland (U.K.) (2005); Rome, Italy (2009); Ottawa, Canada (2012); and Riga, Latvia (2019).
The release further added, “By holding the 8th WPCT in the United States, a country with fundamental values of democracy and equality, we honor the important role played by the United States Congress in formulating policy initiatives on Tibet, including institutionalising support through several legislations.”