Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet (Kalon Tripa), said the International Campaign for Tibet-Deutschland (ICT-D) has a role in increasing the interest of the German public and government on the issue of Tibet. Addressing the opening ceremony of the ICT-D office in Berlin on May 9, 2003, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche talked about the current state of contact with the Chinese leadership and his hope of progress on the issue.

Members of the German Parliament including Volker Neumann, Christian Schwartz-Schilling, Ulrich Heinrich, Werner Lensing, as well as Tibetans and human rights activists were among more than 100 guests who attended the ceremony in the courtyard of the ICT-D office on Marienstrasse.

In his address, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche noted that in September 2002, a four-member Tibetan delegation was able to travel to China and Tibet and reestablish contact with the Chinese leadership. The visit occurred after nine years where there was no contact between the two parties, and he hoped contact would continue. Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche also expressed his appreciation for Germany’s interest in and concern for the Tibetan people and he hoped that with the presence of ICT, this could be further increased.

The Tibetan flag and multicolored fluttering prayer flags brought a Tibetan atmosphere to Berlin. Tibetans in colourful traditional dress mingled with friends and supporters of the Tibetan people from various walks of life.

ICT President John Ackerly, ICT-D Board Chairman Jan Andersson, ICT Europe Executive Director Tsering Jampa and ICT-D Director Dr. Gudrun Henne made remarks explaining ICT’s contribution to finding a resolution to the Tibetan problem. The hallmark of ICT, Ackerly stated, is that it has had tangible benefits to the Tibetan people. Henne said she hoped ICT-D can help place Tibet firmly on the agenda of the German government and the public. Dechen Pemba, Campaigns Coordinator of ICT-D, introduced the organization’s plan for an exhibition on the detained Panchen Lama and a signature campaign for religious freedom in Tibet.

The Vice Chairman of the Tibet Initiative Deutschland (a German TSG), Ingeborg Reuter, and a representative of Amnesty International also addressed the gathering.