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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

ICT Board Letter to President Obama

November 13, 2009

The International Campaign for Tibet
October 31, 2009

Dear President Obama:

As you are aware, the Tibetan movement, its
sincere supporters and the human rights community
have been alarmed and disappointed by your
decision not to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama
during his October visit to Washington, D.C.
However, having established a good and direct
dialogue with your Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett
and Under Secretary of State Maria Otero, the
Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, we viewed
it as appropriate and correct that they were sent
to India on your behalf to explain your position
to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in person.

Although His Holiness has been gracious and
understanding with respect to your decision,
Americans who support the causes of Tibet and
human rights fear that it will be a tremendous
setback to both. For Tibetans, the consequences
could be wide ranging, including deeper
intransigence on the part of China regarding the
Tibet-China dialogue and greater political
isolation of the Dalai Lama internationally.
Furthermore, we share Vaclav Havel's concern that
what might appear to be a “minor compromise" will
in fact lead to further accommodation.

If, however, by not meeting with His Holiness you
intended to signal to General Secretary and
President Hu Jintao that you expect an equally
significant action from the Chinese government,
there are a number of specific objectives that
should be pursued. With regard to the dialogue
between the Chinese government and
representatives of the Dalai Lama, we believe
that a third party must offer assistance to the
Chinese and Tibetans in defining a goal for the
talks. We urge you to make this offer to
President Hu, and subsequently to His Holiness
the Dalai Lama during your meeting with him after the summit.

Through decades of exposure to these dialogues,
it is clear to us that no efforts will yield
positive results as long as the Chinese
government continues to vilify His Holiness and
propagandize against the Tibetan people who
remain committed to a peaceful resolution. One
tangible demonstration of the Chinese
government's sincerity to resolve this issue
would be an invitation for the Dalai Lama to
visit China. We hope you will also pursue this with President Hu.

We have always believed that America is essential
to progress on Tibet. At the November summit, we
urge you to bring the weight of your high office,
the will of the American people, and your
considerable commitment to human rights,
nonviolence and peace to help move ahead on this very important issue.


Richard Gere
Chairman of the Board of Directors
and on behalf of Board Vice Chairman Gare Smith
and Board members Ellen Bork, Joel McCleary,
Steve Schroeder, Marco Antonio Karam, Grace
Spring, Melissa Mathison, Keith Pitts, Jim Kane and John Ackerly
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