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MPs to meet new Tibetan Prime Minister in exile, Dr Lobsang Sangay in Dharamsala

October 8, 2011

TIBET SOCIETY PRESS ADVISORY
 
MPs to meet new Tibetan Prime Minister in exile, Dr Lobsang Sangay in Dharamsala
 
Five British MPs participating in exchange visit to Tibetan exiled parliament
 
[London, 30 September 2011] As part of an ongoing parliamentary exchange programme, Tibet Society will be facilitating a visit of five UK MPs to the Parliament of the Tibetan government in exile based in Dharamsala, northern India. The MPs will be in Dharamsala between Monday 3 and Friday 7 October and, whilst there, the delegation will meet the recently inaugurated Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) Dr Lobsang Sangay, Ministers of the exiled government as well as representatives and officials. An audience with the Dalai Lama is scheduled for Tuesday 4 October.
 
The programme will also include visits to the Reception Centre for newly arrived refugees, the Tibetan Transit School, the Gu Chu Sum movement that helps former political prisoners and the Tibetan Children’s Village School amongst others. During the week, Tibet Society will be hosting an interactive tea reception for MPs to meet representatives from NGOs and institutions operating in Dharamsala.
 
The MPs are:
 
Fabian Hamilton - Labour MP for Leeds North East, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
James Gray - Conservative MP for North Wiltshire , Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
Simon Hughes - Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
Nic Dakin - Labour MP for Scunthorpe
Cathy Jamieson - Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudon
 
Tibet Society initiated an MP exchange programme following a visit of Tibetan MPs to London in 2005 and first took a delegation of UK MPs to Dharamsala in 2007. This has been followed by two delegations of Tibetan MPs visiting London and a further delegation of British MPs travelling to Dharamsala in 2008.
 
Tibet Society is the Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT). The APPGT, founded in 1986, consists of MPs from all three main parties, who have joined out of their interest and concern regarding the Tibetan cause and Tibetan people. The stated purpose of the group is: “To put pressure on Her Majesty’s Government to encourage negotiations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, whilst recognising that Tibet is an occupied country which had independent links with Britain.”
 
[Ends]
 
Contacts:
Philippa Carrick: 07941 105 485, philippa@tibetsociety.com
Paul Golding: 07984 799 958, paul@tibetsociety.com
 
Background
 
Summary of recent changes in the Central Tibetan Administration
·         The Dalai Lama announced in March 2011 that he is to retire from political life and transfer his political authority to the democratically elected exile Tibetan leadership
·         The exile Tibetan Prime Minister and Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile will now take on greater political authority, responsibilities and prominence.
·         The 2011 elections saw increased voter turnout and democratic engagement with lively hustings, political debates and campaigning
·         Lobsang Sangay, a Harvard law scholar, was elected as the exile Tibetan Prime Minister, receiving 55% of the ballots cast.
·         The exile leadership will retain the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Path’ approach, seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet within a greater China and Lobsang Sangay has stated his willingness to engage in dialogue with Beijing.
(Courtesy of Dr Fiona McConnell)
 
The delegation:
 
Fabian Hamilton MP, Labour MP for Leeds North East (England)
Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
MP in Westminster since 1997. Mr Hamilton was a member of the Foreign Affair’s Committee’s visit to Tibet in 2006. He was also a member of the delegation of MPs who visited Dharamsala in 2007 on the inaugural trip of Tibet Society’s MP exchange programme.
 
James Gray MP, Conservative MP for North Wiltshire (England)
Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
MP in Westminster since 1997. Mr Gray was born in Scotland, has a degree in History and had a career in business before joining parliament. In September 2009 Mr Gray visited Tibet as part of a delegation from the All Party Parliamentary China Group. Following this visit, the delegation published a report, Breaking The Deadlock In Tibet, that summarised their findings and recommendations on a range of topics such as relations between the Dalai Lama and China, religious liberty, development and human rights. The other members of the delegation were Lord Steel, Lord Alton and Derek Wyatt MP.
 
Simon Hughes MP, Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (England)
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet
MP in Westminster since 1983. Prior to this Mr Hughes studied law and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple (London). He is currently the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and is also the Government’s Advocate for Access to Education. He is a member of the Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention. Mr Hughes was a guest speaker at the 2010 Tibet Festival in the Park held in London to honour the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday. Over 1,000 people attended this event organised by the Tibet Commemorative Committee, of which Tibet Society is a member.
 
Nic Dakin MP, Labour MP for Scunthorpe (England)
MP in Westminster since May 2010. Prior to being elected, Mr Dakin was the Principal of John Leggott Sixth Form College in Scunthorpe, which is one of the top 10 colleges in the UK.
 
Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudon (Scotland)
MP in Westminster since May 2010. Prior to this Ms Jamieson was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for Labour & Co-operative.  She served as the Justice Minister in the Scottish Parliament from 2004-2007 and was Deputy Leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament from 2000-2008..
 
Fiona McConnell, Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College
Fiona McConnell’s research engages with political geography around issues of sovereignty, state practices. She is currently working on three new research papers that examine issues facing Tibetans as refugees and the dynamics of constructing political and legal identities in exile.
 
Fredrick (Riki) Hyde-Chambers OBE, Secretary General of Enterprise and Parliamentary Dialogue International
Chairman Tibet Society
Riki Hyde-Chambers has been involved with the Tibet movement and Tibet Society since the ’60s and in 1973 helped organise the Dalai Lama’s first visit to the UK. He was a founding member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT) in 1986 and has remained the Group’s adviser. In the autumn of 1987, Riki visited Tibet on a parliamentary fact-finding mission with Lord and Lady Ennals and Mr Yeshe Tsultem. He co-authored a report of their visit, Tibet in China, published in August 1988 by International Alert.
 
Philippa Carrick, Chief Executive Officer Tibet Society
Philippa Carrick has been CEO of Tibet Society since January 2002. Prior to this she helped co-ordinate the programme at Westminster for the Dalai Lama in 1999 and the History of Tibet Conference at St Andrews University in 2001. As CEO of Tibet Society she established the parliamentary exchange initiative, arranged programmes at Westminster for the Dalai Lama in 2004 and 2008 and worked with a coalition of UK Tibet support groups to initiate an annual Tibet Lobby day on 10 March. Philippa is a steering committee member of the International Tibet Network and, since 1999, Administrator for the APPGT.
 
Paul Golding, Campaigns Coordinator Tibet Society
Paul Golding has been campaigning on Tibet since 1991; he was employed by Free Tibet Campaign from 1995-2007 then worked for International Tibet Network. He visited Tibet in May 2001 to observe China’s celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the 17-Point Agreement. In August 2007, working with Students for a Free Tibet, Paul was part of a team that went to Beijing one year prior to the Olympics to highlight the occupation of Tibet.
 
 
 
Paul Golding
Campaigns Coordinator
paul@tibetsociety.com
020 7272 1414
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