In a special video message honoring Mr. Lodi Gyari for receiving the Torch of Honor award from the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA), Ambassador Holbrooke said, “I am very sorry that I can’t be with the New York Association for New Americans tonight as it honors Lodi Gyari.
“I want to first extend my greetings to this great organization which represents the very best of America, its open arms to people from all countries around the world and our generosity in trying to assimilate and make them part of American society. I myself, as the son of two refugee immigrants who fled a Europe in flames in the 1930’s, have a particular appreciation of this and for most of the last quarter century I have been involved deeply in refugee and refugee relief work myself in Cambodia, in the Balkans, in Africa. I salute you at NYANA and I apologize for not being with you tonight.
“I am really thrilled to be able to say a word about Lodi Gyari, a dear friend for well over a decade; a man who I admire and who embodies the very best of both his own culture and American values. As the personal representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the United Sates, he has been a steadfast eloquent and effective advocate for the rights of his people; rights which are often trampled in the dust of big power relationships.
“Tibet is a serious problem. It is a crisis waiting to happen. It threatens good Chinese-American relations, something I strongly support. I am really delighted that Lodi has done so much to advance the cause of his people over these years. He and his wonderful family have also become part of the United States, particularly the Washington area, where he is well known to people in both parties, in the executive branch, in Congress and around the rest of the city. I salute you Lodi. You are richly deserving of this award tonight and I wish I could be with you to present it personally. Since I am not, let me just say keep up the fight you have more friends than even you realize and we all respect and love you. Thank you. ”
Mr. Lodi Gyari is the Special Envoy of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the executive chairman of the board of directors of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). NYANA, a New York based NGO, assists refugees and immigrants, their families, their sponsors, and the companies that employ them, other institutions that serve them, and the communities in which they live.
NYANA said it was honoring Gyari in “recognition of your indomitable and tenacious advocacy on behalf of the Tibetan People in Tibet and throughout the Tibetan Diaspora.”
The other recipient of the award was Mr. Rick Swartz, founder of the National Immigration Forum, President and Founder of the Public Strategies Group, and the National Coalition for Haitian Rights.
The awards were presented by NYANA in New York on June 5 evening.