Tibetan Youth Leadership 2006

The 2006 participants of the Tibetan Youth Leadership Program.

International Campaign for Tibet concluded its sixth Tibetan Youth Leadership Program held in Washington, D.C. from May 20 to 24, 2006. This year ICT welcomed eleven young Tibetans, seven from the United State and three from Canada. It was a good mix of participant with various background, many were born in Tibet and went to school in India and Nepal while others grew-up in the U.S. or Canada.

TYLP is an intense five day training session designed to expose young Tibetans to all important aspects of the Tibet issue and to impart them with knowledge and zeal in being an effective leader in the Tibet movement. Participants were eager to learn and thoroughly enjoyed the program and interaction with many prominent speakers and amongst themselves.

The first day of the program introduced participants to Tibet in general and exile society in particular. The day capped off with a warm welcome reception which included assortment of Tibetan food and drinks hosted by ICT and Capital Area Tibetan Asoociation (CATA).

The second day focused on understanding China and situation inside Tibet, enhancing their understanding of the real situation inside Tibet and that of China. One participant said that “it was enlightening to learn what sorts of development project people are involve in Tibet and to learn how important it is for us to understand the Chinese side of the equation”.

On the third day of the program, the program shifted gear to introduce participants to activism and campaign. This included message development training and workshop, learning how to organize, strategize and implement campaigns and discussion on importance of youth role in the Tibet movement.

Learning of the third day was put into practice on the fourth day, as participants went to the U.S. Capitol Hill to lobby. It was a day of emotion and power as they met with U.S. legislators and called on them to support the bill to award His Holiness the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal Award. It was great for the participant to understand workings of the U.S. Congress and how much support these important offices showed toward Tibet.

On the last day, participants visited two Tibetan radio stations in Washington, D.C. and the program concluded with a farewell luncheon.

All participants came with an open mind and varying expectations; at the end of program they left the program with much deeper and well rounded understand of the Tibet issue and practical knowledge that they could utilize in their own areas. They had also made friends with many who shared similar passion and zeal for Tibet.

One participant succinctly concluded that: “This is a great program – every Tibetan should attend this.”