As someone who has been a supporter of justice and human rights for many years, and on many different fronts, being directly involved on the issue of Tibet and meeting the highest representatives of their exiled community was not something new. What was new was to meet my Tibetan friends in Dharamsala in my new capacity of President of the International Campaign for Tibet, the largest Tibet support group in the world.
So, a sense of a greater responsibility has accompanied me during this long trip. What I was bringing with me were not only my ideas, hopes and projects with specific goals for the future, but also those of a very committed and dedicated staff and board of directors in the US and Europe who have worked for 25 years to advance the cause of Tibet in the world. Most importantly, what I was carrying with me were the hopes, ideals and expectations of more than 100,000 supporters and members of ICT that from all quarters of the world have supported our work through the years.
In all my meetings with the Tibetan leadership, including with the Dalai Lama, I reiterated how important is for us to know that we are representing a wonderful community of human beings who have chosen to care not just about their lives, freedom and welfare, but also of those, such as the Tibetans, who are less lucky and are struggling to avoid the extinction of their culture.
All our interlocutors expressed gratitude to ICT for the work done over the last 25 years and to all those like you, made this possible.
I met new and old friends with an open heart and an open mind, knowing that for the Tibetan movement to succeed more energy and more creativity will be needed. Our delegation felt very welcomed and at the same time felt all the responsibility that comes with looking at many challenges that lie ahead.
I want to share a feeling that I have: ICT will be able to help bring the Tibetan movement together worldwide and raise to the challenge posed by a Chinese government that does not relent in its oppressive policies in Tibet, and its propaganda machine against the Dalai Lama and against the truth.
We will do that because the ideas of freedom, autonomy, coexistence and democracy are much stronger than those of oppression, dictatorship, racism and intolerance.
My personal conviction is to have a vision not just for the future of a free Tibet, but for a free Tibet in a free China, where democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected and implemented for all. Because, I know that only with a free China the world in which we live will be able to imagine a future without oppression and dangerous conflicts.