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General Body Meeting of TWA starts in Dharamsala

April 12, 2009

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
April 10, 2009

Dharamsala, April 10 -- The ninth General Body
Meeting of the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA)
kick-started here this morning and will go on till Wednesday.

The meeting being held at the Deckyi Tsering hall
of the Upper Tibetan Children’s Village School
has over 170 members representing various
regional chapters from India and elsewhere taking part in it.

The six-day or so General Body Meeting, which is
held after every three years, will, among others,
elect the new office bearers who will form the
9th TWA Central Executive body for the next three-year term.

The opening function of the meeting started with
Tibetan national anthem. The congregation then
observed a minute of silence to pay tribute to
Tibetan martyrs who have sacrificed their lives
for Tibet’s cause. As part of the inaugural
function, the organisation released its annual
Magazine in English and Tibetan, and honoured
three regional chapters with its “Efficiency Award.”

Dignitaries of the opening function included
special guest Kasur Rinchen Khando, who served as
the first president of TWA, and chief guest Dolma
Gyari, the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan
Parliament-in-exile. Representatives of Tibetan
NGOs and members of Tibetan parliament also attended the opening function.

The outgoing President B. Tsering in presenting
the summary report of the organization’s
activities during her three years’ term noted
that TWA was positioned to play a unique and
dimensional role in the Tibetan community, which
she said can be explained by the parallel
contribution it had been making both towards the
cause of Tibet and in the socio-cultural spheres
of the exile Tibetan community.

Tsering said her organisation made successful
efforts to raise the issue of Tibet and promote
the rights of Tibetan women inside Tibet by
actively participating in various international
forums. Over the years, she said, TWA was also
successful in introducing numerous educational
and vocational projects and programs that were
aimed at empowering Tibetan women. “However, in
doing so, our prime role towards the cause of
Tibet’s freedom struggle has never been less,”
she said. “Year 2007 and 2008 were especially
eventful for Tibet. And TWA was able to organise,
support and take part in series of campaigns both
at the organisation level and in collaboration
with other prominent organisations,” she said.

"We are now convinced that TWA has indeed played
a significant role and will continue to shoulder
even greater responsibility in the future for Tibet's cause,” she remarked.

"As 2009 marks 50 years in exile, the role of TWA
and its office bearers in the coming years will
be more demanding. So accordingly we must be
prepared to face and overcome any critical
challenges,” Tsering, whose presidential role
will end this month after serving two consecutive terms, said.

Rinchen Khando said TWA’s continuous growth since
its inception in 1984 was very commendable. "And
above all TWA has effectively matured itself as
one of the most prominent organisations in the
exile community that works for the cause of Tibet
regardless of religious and regional affiliations,” she said.

The Tibetan Women's Association, headquartered in
Dharamsala, boasts 49 regional chapters and over
15, 000 members worldwide, making it the second
largest Tibetan non-governmental organisation,
next only to the pro-independence group Tibetan
Youth Congress, in the exile Tibetan community.

The group describes itself as the "only women NGO
in exile that advocates human rights for Tibetan
women in Tibet and works to empower Tibetan women
in exile, in particular newly arrived refugees from Tibet.”

TWA supports the exiled Tibetan leader His
Holiness the Dalai Lama’s "middle-Way" policy
that seeks "real and meaningful" autonomy instead
of outright independence for Tibet.

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