In a sign of the US government’s continuing embrace of the Tibetan people and promotion of Tibetan culture and identity, the State Department hosted a reception this week to mark “Losar,” the Tibetan New Year. The actual Losar begins on Feb. 24 and the new year will be the Iron-Mouse year.
The celebration inside State Department headquarters in Washington, DC brought together government officials, the US representative of the Dalai Lama, representatives from the diplomatic community, and members of the local Capital Area Tibetan Association.
Traditional Tibetan music was performed, Tibetan snacks served, and the customary Losar greeting—“Losar Tashi Delek!”—was exclaimed by all.
It was the sixth year in a row that the State Department has hosted a Losar celebration. David Stilwell, assistant secretary of the department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, delivered remarks during the reception, as did Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America Ngodup Tsering.
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback also took part in the event.
Staff and volunteers from the International Campaign for Tibet and the Capital Area Tibetan Association helped organize the reception and set up the room with Tibetan prayer flags, flowers and a traditional Losar altar.
“The State Department’s Losar gathering was an opportunity not only to celebrate this joyous holiday, but to reflect on the American people’s steadfast commitment to their Tibetan brothers and sisters,” International Campaign for Tibet President Matteo Mecacci said. “For decades, the United States has provided humanitarian and diplomatic support to Tibetans in their struggle to preserve their culture and defend their human rights. The State Department celebrating Losar for six consecutive years across both Democratic and Republican administrations shows that the people of the United States truly value the ancient traditions and heritage of Tibet, which is also the heritage of the Tibetan American community.”
Check out photos from this year’s Losar celebration at the State Department!