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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

A farewell and welcome to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's representatives in London

August 21, 2009

Report by Tsering Passang, General Secretary of Tibetan Community in Britain
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
August 20, 2009

London -- A warm reception was hosted by the
Office of Tibet and Tibetan Community in Britain
at the Tibet House on Monday evening, to bid
farewell to the outgoing Representative of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr. Tsering Tashi, and
to welcome his successor, Mr. Thubten Samdup.

The reception was attended by nearly 100
specially invited guests from various embassies,
non- governmental organisations and academic
institutions, including diplomats,
parliamentarians, scholars, journalists, local
Tibetan leaders, British Buddhist community,
Tibet-related organisations and members of Tibetan Community in Britain.

In his farewell speech, Mr. Tsering Tashi, who
has served at the office of Tibet since 2001,
initially as Secretary/Information and Press
Officer and later as His Holiness the Dalai
Lama’s Representative for Northern Europe, said,
“As most of you will be aware, I have served the
Office of Tibet for over eight years now, with
the last almost two and half years as the
Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
which indeed has been a great honour, but at the
same time extremely challenging especially in the
face of limited resources and manpower.

"Many of you will remember that last year when
Tibet hit the international news headlines, we
were only two staff in the office. Nevertheless,
by working long hours and even on weekends we
managed to not only come out successfully with
His Holiness’ May visit to London, Nottingham and
Oxford, but also take care of all the other
official responsibilities and respond to the
overwhelming approaches received from the UK and
international media as the primary source and
commentator on issues affecting the Tibetan people.”

Currently, the Office Tibet is staffed by three
Tibetans, who also run its charitable wing, Tibet
House Trust. The outgoing representative, a
trained journalist, who had previously served in
the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as his
press officer, appealed for continued cooperation
to his successor. He said: “From experience I
know the challenges that lie ahead for the Office
of Tibet. I therefore request you and all
concerned governments, Tibet-related NGOs, fellow
Tibetans and our friends and supporters to also
extend your cooperation, friendship and support
to the new Representative Mr. Thubten Samdup in
the fulfilment of his heavy responsibilities.”

While congratulating his successor, outgoing
representative Tsering Tashi, who will take up
his new role at the Department of Information and
International Relations (DIIR) in Dharamsala,
concluded his speech with a positive note and
said, “Here I must say that the level of
understanding and support shown by the UK Foreign
Office, Foreign Ministries of related European
countries, various UK-based and other Tibet
Support Groups, the Tibetan Community in Britain
and other Tibetan Communities, Tibet-related
NGOs, Tibetan Buddhist Centres, individual
supporters and well-wishers all proved to be a
source of much encouragement and helped to fuel
our determination to work still harder. To all of
them, many represented here today, I wish to take
this opportunity to once again extend my Thanks
for all the kind understanding, practical support
and warm words of advice and encouragement.”

Pempa Lobsang, Chairman of Tibetan Community in
Britain, paid tribute to the outgoing
representative saying, "Tsering Tashi la has been
a credit to the Tibetan government, an example of
a man for the people, ever present within the
community and always ready to do his part ... his
commitment to the cause was second to none, his
ability undoubted. He has also brought about real
change in the way we work and encouraged not only
our Tibetan members but our western supporters
and various government officials in Europe
including Great Britain. We particularly admire
and appreciate your kind advice, guidance and
encouragement that the present and former Council
Members have received over the past many years. I
say this on behalf of the entire Tibetan
Community in Britain, it has been a great privilege to have worked with you."

While extending warm welcome to His Holiness the
Dalai Lama’s new Representative, he said, "The
community, represented by its council members
will continue to work closely with the Office of
Tibet under Thubten la’s leadership and we look
forward to a long and successful partnership.”

After bidding a personal farewell and welcome,
Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society, the
world’s oldest Tibet support group, echoed
Pempa’s sentiments, saying “I am very sad to see
Tsering Tashi leave. I greatly respect and admire
his untiring work, he has been very effective in
raising the Tibet issue with governments across
northern Europe, forging many new connections. He
also reached out and was available to the Tibetan
Community in Britain and has done a lot to
encourage many new ideas and initiatives. He
engenders much warmth and affection with all of
us who have been privileged to work with him. On
a personal level I will miss his patience, good
humour ... and wisdom, which I always greatly
appreciated. Thubten Samdup has a hard act to
follow! But he is another remarkable man so I
know he will develop the connections Tsering
forged and I greatly look forward to working with him.”

The new Representative for Northern Europe is Mr.
Thubten Samdup, a former member of the Tibetan
parliament in exile representing the Tibetans in
North America, and who has many years experience
of Tibet-related work, including founding and
serving as the President of Canada Tibet
Committee from 1987-2004 amongst many other
innovative campaigning and outreach initiatives.

Concerned people including the Tibetans and Tibet
Support Groups in the UK are looking forward to
working with The Dalai Lama’s new emissary based
at The Office of Tibet in London, who said,  “I
want to make difference in my new role” for the Tibetan struggle.
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