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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Election 2011: Evaluate the Manifesto of the Candidates

October 4, 2010

By Ngawang Choechen
Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Tibetan Political Review
October 1, 2010

The primary voting for the election of Kalon
Tripa (Prime Minister) and Chitues
(Representatives) is scheduled on October 3, 2010
(Sunday).  Luckily we have a large number of
promising candidates this time. Now it becomes
the solemn duty of each and every registered
voter to cast his or her vote for the right
candidate without any pressure or influence from
others including family members. The voter needs
to possess a deep knowledge about the candidate
and more importantly his or her manifesto. I was
not able to go through the manifesto of most of
the candidates. But I would like to offer some of
my humble suggestions for the finalists
especially the North America Chitues and also for
the Kalon Tripa and probably they might like to
include some of my suggestions in their well
prepared manifesto. Some of my suggestions are
visionary and I strongly believe, “If there is a
will, there is a way”. Keeping this in mind, let
me briefly mention my suggestions.

Every Tibetan agrees that the most important
quality in a candidate is that he or she should
solemnly respect and accept the leadership of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama for his dedicated service
for the Tibetan cause and the entire humanity. I
admire numerous organizations offering frequent
expensive Tenshug for His Holiness the Dalai Lama
but it is more important to sincerely follow and
practice the advices of His Holiness. I am sure
His Holiness will be happier if we follow his advice and practice it sincerely.

The next quality of a potential candidate should
be that he or she should be sincerely working for
solid unity of the Tibetan people from all the
three provinces of Tibet and religious traditions
by patiently hearing divergent views and create
genuine understanding among divergent views. He
or she should be able to provide correct
information to the few misinformed people about
the Tibetan administration and functioning of
Tibetan democracy in exile and thereby win the
genuine trust of all the Tibetans. He or she can
encourage critics to participate in the Tibetan
democracy rather than engaging in damaging
negative tactics. Constructive suggestions are
always welcome in a democracy. Unfounded negative
comments in order to damage a promising candidate
will not serve any purpose. Impartiality is the key to success.

Politically, right now we are pursuing the Middle
Way approach. The candidate needs to educate the
Tibetan community about the true meaning and goal
of the middle way approach. Everyone wants
Rangzen but under the prevailing circumstances,
the main goal of pursuing Lam Ume  is to save the
basic  identity of the Tibetan people and also
for the mutual benefits for the Tibetan and
Chinese people. As we know that His Holiness did
not force us to accept Lam Ume. He gave us a
choice and we the majority of the Tibetan people
accepted it. But His Holiness had said that the
ultimate decision lies with the Tibetan people.
As such, our immediate goal should be to pursue
Lam Ume rigorously and if no result is achieved
soon, we have to rethink seriously. If the
Chinese leadership plays delaying tactics, we
should convince His Holiness and with his
approval appeal to the Tibetan people through
Chitue Lhenkhang for the Rangzen approach.

I admire the Tibetans living in big cities
involving in Free Tibet activities sacrificing
their working hours and even risking their jobs.
But places where fewer Tibetans live, little
events take place for our cause. As such the
elected Chitue from North America and also from
other western countries should encourage every
Tibetans living in any corner of the world to
observe at least 10th March in their respective
village, town or city to create awareness of the
Tibetan issue and garner support. The Chitues in
the western countries should try their best to
contact as many state representatives as possible
and garner their support for the Tibetan cause.
They should mobilize support from professional
groups such as lawyers, teachers, students, etc.
They should also explore the possibility of His
Holiness’ visit to all the states in North
America or elsewhere in the world. He or she
should try to organize conferences and seminars
and seek advices from former TiGE members, TYC
members, TWA members, academicians, journalists,
spiritual masters, youth leaders, intellectuals,
scholars, historians, etc regarding what he or
she can do and should do in a free world for the
Tibetan cause and also for the welfare of the Tibetan community.

The next important manifesto should be the term
of Kalon Tripa and Chitue. Five year terms for
Kalon Tripa and individual Chtiue are pretty long
for us at the present situation. The elected
Chitue should discuss and convince other fellow
Chitues and table a private bill for limiting the
term of Kalon Tripa and individual Chitues for
four years only. Also he or she should table a
private bill for limiting the term of Kalon Tripa
as well as individual Chitue to two consecutive
terms. However he or she should be eligible for
reelection after a gap. With a shorter term, more
people will avail opportunity to serve the
Tibetan people.  Several countries already follow such system.

Another important agenda for the Kalon Tripa and
Chitues especially from North America is that the
Tibetan administration should realize that the
number of Tibetans in the western countries
especially North America is multiplying every
year. This is a fact. We need more Chitues to
represent us. It was unfortunate that a Chitue
seat for Australia, Japan, Taiwan etc were not
approved during the recent session in the Tibetan
parliament. New York City is becoming very
important from all aspects. The current Office of
Tibet building is not adequate and understaffed.
The Tibetan government needs a larger modern
complex for the Office of Tibet at a better
location in New York City. The staff needs
separate office of their own. We need the scope
of Office of Tibet should be increased. As such
Kalon Tripa or particularly North America Chitues
should seek approval from Kashak or Chitue
Lhenkhang to create a Financial Director at the
Office of Tibet especially for fund raising
through numerous foundations or other sources for
acquiring a larger and better office complex for
the Office of Tibet in New York and create more
internal departments for various services as in
an embassy of an independent country. The Chitues
should ask for more facilities for the staff such
as a car for the Representative of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama for his prestige because he or she
is representing His Holiness and the Tibetan
government in exile. There are foundations who I
believe will certainly help us. At the same time
I suggest more responsibilities for the Office of
Tibet staff by increasing more staff and maintain their efficiency.

Street view of the Office of Tibet, New York

The next manifesto item is about education of the
Tibetan children. Chitues or Kalon Tripa should
vigorously implement the new education policies
prepared by the present Kashak. It is now the
time that seminars or research should be done to
explore the possibility of starting private
Tibetan schools in the United States, Canada,
Europe, Australia, etc. TCV style schools are
needed especially at places where a large number
of Tibetans live in North America or elsewhere.
Starting a charter school is also not that
complicated in the United States. Also Chitues or
Kalon Tripa should encourage individuals or non
profit organizations to open more schools in many
regions of Tibet as possible. Also Kalon Tripa or
Chitue should encourage Tibetan parents in Tibet
through various channels to try to send their
children to TCV for their education. It does not
matter whether they remain in exile or return to
Tibet after completion of their education.

The western people admire the Tibetan values.
Individual Chitues should take every opportunity
at public gatherings to appeal the Tibetans in
the west to share Tibetan values in their work
places, neighborhood, high schools,
colleges/universities, etc. Encourage the
Tibetans to involve in their community activities
with the western friends such as parents
association and eventually try to be elected in
local civic posts and then gradually in the state
and finally national level. Many Indian and Chinese people are doing the same.

We are happy that we now have numerous print and
media forums. But few give more importance to
selected individuals and neglect others. For
example I sent a few articles to Phayul over the
years but they hardly accept my contributions.
Also they do not edit some of the recent damaging
words in their message section against some of
our promising candidates. I hope that they know
its negative impact on our voters if they are not
true. I have a Diploma in Journalism and a
journalist should be responsible for what or she
writes and also appears on their website such as
Phayul. As such our honorable Chitue should
encourage our media persons or organizations for
providing more positive news and views in Tibetan
media and prints about. At the present situation
we need to share more success stories and
positive or constructive suggestions rather than
negative and malicious news and views in the name
of press freedom which only make our common enemy
happy (communist Chinese government).

The Chitues should encourage all NGOs and Tibetan
government meetings and conferences to have fewer
practical resolutions but pay more attention
practical results. Every meeting needs someone to
monitor and oversee the implementation of
resolutions. We have numerous excellent
resolutions but when we review it after a year,
many of them are not implemented without any
specific reason. I have noticed this in many meetings.

Our Chitues or Kalon Tripa should try to create
more religious harmony by reaching a few
misinformed people and exchange views and try to
correct the misconception through education and
harmonious dialogue. We should win their hearts
through mutual trust and education. As a Chitue,
he or she should pay equal respect to all the
religious traditions especially four Tibetan
Buddhist traditions and Bon. North America Chitue
should encourage more Tibetan Dharma Centers with
Buddhist study centers rather than merely
meditation centers and encourage everyone to
participate in the teachings especially Sunday
teachings and kids program. Encourage more youths
to participate in Buddhist teachings, seminars or
discussions and try to understand the basic principle of Buddhism.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama always stress on
speaking Tibetan language among youth at home and
amongst themselves especially in the west. Our
Chitues should make special efforts to
materialize His Holiness advice. They should
approach the Department of Education at
Dharamsala or elsewhere and try to acquire or
produce more learning materials in order to learn
and improve the Tibetan language for youths.
Appeal Sherig Lhenkhang to bring out more
interesting reading materials for youth in the
west in Tibetan. The North America Chitues should
encourage Tibetan associations or NGOs such as
TYC or TWA to organize frequent Tibetan language
competitions both for spoken and written. I
appreciate the Office of Tibet for organizing a
summer program for the Tibetan children at TCV,
Dharamsala every year. The North America Chitues
should request the suggested Financial Director
at the Office of Tibet to raise fund and arrange
financial aid for needy Tibetan parents having
several children in the west. The Chitues should
ask the Office of Tibet to help the summer camp
participants in obtaining their visa and also
travel arrangements if the parents face problems.
Efforts should also be made to study how Jews,
Chinese and other immigrants have managed to preserve their language.

Thanks to ex-TIPA artistes and many other
talented Tibetan artists, many children learn
Tibetan music and dance. The Chitues or Kalon
Tripa should organize seminars or seek
suggestions to explore the possibility of
establishing a Mobile-TIPA in North America like
the Chinese community has one in New York.
Encourage all the Tibetan associations to arrange
Tibetan music and dance classes for youths
seeking help from ex-TIPA artists and others.

The Office of Tibet needs a career counseling
section in their complex for pursuing higher
studies such as law, engineering, information
technology, communication, etc. It can also
organize information sessions for various
services and also obtaining various licenses such
as teaching, nursing, real estate, etc thus
building a network among all the Tibetans and
exchange various expertise. North America Chitues
can play important role in this regard.

Similarly Chitues can encourage numerous
organizations to organize seminars on capital
arrangement for small business, information
session for building ratings and loan programs
for business and home ownership. Home buying and
selling information sessions could be arranged by
using Tibetan real estate professionals.

One of the important responsibility of the North
America Chitue is to ensure prompt supply of
Green Books to deserving Tibetans and timely
collections of Green Book contributions.
Encourage contribution from more people
especially living in small towns. The Chitue can
remind the Office of Tibet to reach all Tibetans
living all corners of their jurisdiction.

Many Tibetans from India, Nepal and Tibet try
their best to come to the United States or other
western countries. Many spend huge amount of
money for obtaining a visa. The North America
Chitues can approach the United States government
through some Tibet sympathizing congressmen for
obtaining more immigrants visas for the Tibetans
and also should build cordial relation with visa
consuls for granting visa for more Tibetan
applicants. Also Chitues can invite immigration
attorneys and organize seminars on various legal
immigration programs such as asylum, marriage,
business, employment, relative petition, etc in
New York, California, Toronto or other places.

North America Chitues should explore a
possibility of a section in the Office of Tibet
for organizing regular orientation for new
Tibetan immigrants for travel in large cities,
asylum, family reunification, permanent
residence, citizenship, employment, school
admission, further studies, starting micro
business, health care, insurance, etc. Even a
relatively small Nepalese community in United
States has nice brochures containing such information.

More and more Tibetans are getting old in the
United States. Persons who were 45 when they
immigrated to US in 1993 are already senior
citizens. Kalon Tripa or Chitues should explore
the possibility of establishing simple senior
living facilities by seeking financial assistance
from foundations & using Social Security and
savings. The Financial Director could also see to it.

Recently we have been making an effort to build
cordial relation with Chinese people. North
America or other Chitues should try to organize
frequent interaction in order to building
friendly relations with Chinese community
especially with scholars, lawyers, professors,
students, etc. Organize inter-community seminars
on health, medicine, culture, Buddhism, etc.
Encourage more Tibetan students to learn Chinese
and the Chinese students to learn Tibetan.

The Chitues should encourage Tibetans to join
more neutral organizations such as TYC, TWA, SFT,
Tibet support groups, ex SFF organization,
ex-students organization of especially bigger
schools, monks or nuns communities, social
service organizations, etc rather than small
regional organizations. Such steps will help
unity among the Tibetans and our efforts will be stronger.

The most exciting and visionary agenda of North
America Chitues and also Kalon Tripa is to
explore the possibility of establishing Tibet
Towns in United States, Canada and other
countries where large number of Tibetans reside.
The Tibet town should be self reliant and self
employing and having numerous facilities such as
grocery stores, schools, Gonpa, a palace for His
Holiness, culture centers, gas stations, laundry,
entertainment centers, child care centers, etc or
at least like a large Sector in Chandigarh.
Provide relocation information to families for
better places for raising their families.

I am sure the candidates for Chitues and Kalon
Tripa have more elaborate manifesto than these.
However I shall be grateful if some of the above
are also included in their manifesto. Tashi Delek!

* The contributor holds a Master’s degree in
English Literature, Bachelor’s degree in
Education and Diploma in Tibetan Language,
Literature & History from the Department of
Central Asian Studies, Panjab University,
Chandigarh. Also holds a High School English
Teacher License from Department of Public
Instruction, North Carolina, United States. Has
served in Special Frontier Force in India and
also served as a teacher, headmaster and
Principal in India and Nepal. Has served in the
Office of Central Executive Committee of TYC,
Dharamsala and also served as a President of
Regional TYC, Kathmandu and also New York & New
Jersey. Also worked as a Radio journalist for
Voice of Tibet, Norway. Also served as an
Executive Director of New York Tibetan Alliance
and Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota.

Currently he is a Realtor in North Carolina and
member of National Realtor's Associations.
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