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Matteo, Pam, Barbara and Jerry at the HSUS Gala event in Los Angeles.[/caption]
Starting this week I am making a new commitment to you: I want you to know more about the great work that we do at the International Campaign for Tibet to advance the cause of freedom for Tibet; and furthermore, I will start sharing with you my personal reflections on the experiences and challenges that we are facing while advancing this very important cause.
So, every week I will write on this blog some of my most recent ideas, hopes and new projects, hoping that this information will allow you to know better who I am and the work that we do at ICT.
As you already know, I care a lot about our members and I am proud to be part of a committed and generous group of ICT supporters who I consider the backbone of the Tibetan movement worldwide, but also part of a much bigger group of people of “goodwill” who are trying to change for the better the world in which live.
As ICT members, we are all inspired by the values of freedom, nonviolence, compassion, democracy of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an extraordinary Ambassador all over the world, notwithstanding Chinese propaganda; but, it is also crucial to remind ourselves and that we have to nurture and strengthen concretely these values to be able to confront effectively oppression, violence, intolerance and tyranny.
I have read the very many comments and reflections of all those who have participated in the “I Stand with Tibetans” campaign. I was so moved and personally touched by many comments and by the will of so many of you to share with me your personal stories.
And for this, I thank you.
Looking at the last ten days I have a lot to tell you. Last weekend I went to Los Angeles with my wife Barbara to attend a great event organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its founding. I was invited to attend by Pam Cesak, a very active member of the Board of Directors of ICT whose husband Jerry serves on the Board of HSUS. While there, I was also able to visit my stepson Tommaso who is studying music at the Musician Institute, and to enjoy a little bit of sunshine, since I have experienced what I was told has been one of the coldest winters ever in Washington, DC!
Anyway, going back to that beautiful evening, I clearly felt that many of the supporters of HSUS (the biggest organization for animal protection in the United States) share the same values that we do, and this was confirmed by the many speeches that I heard that evening, and by the people I talked to. It was an uplifting and inspiring event and I look forward to knowing and sharing more about these people of “goodwill” in the future.
[caption id="attachment_5145" align="alignright" width="246"] View more photos from Tibet Lobby Day »
[/caption]Coming back from Los Angeles on Monday, I participated in my first Tibet Lobby Day by meeting more than one hundred Tibetan Americans, Tibetan Associations and Tibet support group members who came to DC from different states of the US to meet their Representatives and Senators and ask them to act in support of Tibet in the Congress. It was an amazing meeting and these Tibet supporters where able to have 150 Congressional meetings in just two days!
All ICT staff worked hard to make this happen (but I want to thank in particular, Tencho Gyatso, Ronnate Asirwatham and Todd Stein). Also, on Monday we were able to welcome to DC Representative Kaydor Aukatsang and the staff of the Office of Tibet who has relocated here from New York.
All the participants in the Tibet Lobby Day were volunteers, Tibetans and US citizens who took time off from work or study and spent their own money to come to DC to help the Tibetan people. Having been myself for many years a volunteer and an activist, I expressed my gratitude to them, knowing that they do this not as a sacrifice, but as conscious choice to make their lives and those of Tibetans better.
Speaking of Tibetans inside Tibet, last Sunday we received the news of another self-immolation. This time was a Tibetan nun of 31 years old whose name is Dolma. Her whereabouts are not known at the moment, but we hope she survived.
At ICT we will continue our work until the plight of the Tibetan people finds a dignified solution, until this precious culture will be protected and preserved, and we will never forget the sacrifices of Dolma and of the other 129 Tibetans who have self-immolated since 2009 whose common messages were for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
This is my first blog post, I hope you enjoyed knowing more about me and what we do, and please let me know what do you think about this new initiative.