Tibetan Women’s Association congratulate Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche on being appointed as the Chancellor of Sanchi University

prof Samdhong RinpocheWe the Central Tibetan Women’s Association would like to congratulate Former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin on being appointed as the Chancellor of Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies based in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on 25 April 2013.

Today, being appointed as the Chancellor of Sanchi University is high recognition that highlight your wisdom and profundity of Tibetan Buddhism and tradition. It is honour of Tibetan people to have such an eminent and distinguished scholar, teacher and philosopher, leader and a life-long campaigner for Gandhian principles especially that of non-violence or peaceful resistance.

Brief biography of Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche:

Venerable Prof. Samdhong Lobsang Tenzin, the 5th Samdhong Rinpoche, was born on 5th November, 1939 in Jol, Eastern Tibet. At the age of five, he was recognized as the reincarnation of 4th Samdhong Rinpoche and enthroned in Gaden Dechenling Monastery at Jol. He started his religious training at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa and completed his (Uma Nyinpa) – middle school of the Madhyamika School of Buddhism at the age of 12.

He fled to exile in the year 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. On 4th February 1960 he received the Bhiksu ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. From October 1961, he served as the religious teacher of Tibetan School in Shimla, and later acting principal of Shimla Tibetan School in 1963. Then again he worked as religious teacher of Darjeeling Tibetan School in 1964.

From 1965 to 1970 Rinpoche was the Principal of Dalhousie Tibetan School. He received his Lharampa Degree in the year 1968 and Ngagrimpa Degree in 1969. From 1971 to 1988 he was the Principal of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS, Varanasi). From 1988 to 2001 he worked as the Director CIHTS. In 1990, he was a member of the Drafting Committee Constitution of the Future Polity of Tibet and Law for the exiled Tibetans.

From 1991 to 1995 he was specially appointed by His Holiness as one of the deputies of ATPD and later was unanimously elected as its Chairman. From 1996 to 2001 he was elected member of the Parliament from Kham province and also its Chairman. In year 2001, he became the first directly elected Kalon Tripa of Central Tibetan Administration and served in this position till 2011.

Women's leadership in the 21st century - poster

TWA to hold Women’s Leadership in the 21st Century panel discussion

A Symposium: ‘Women’s Leadership in the 21st century, a noble achievement’

Women's leadership in the 21st century - poster
Click to enlarge

Delhi, November 28: On the momentus occasion of South Asian Women’s Day, and as a culmination of the concluding session of the 2nd Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training, the Tibetan Women’s Association is organizing a 90 minute audience based discussion on the topic ‘Women’s Leadership in the 21st century, a Noble Achievement.’ This will take place on the final day of TWA’s Second Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training. Please view our website following the event for the report and pictures.

The 21st century saw the dawn of proven leadership by women and this has been reiterated with the recent announcement of three women leaders as winners of the Nobel peace prize 2011 for ‘their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.’

Four prominent and distinguished personalities; Dr. Kiran Bedi, Social Activist and (Retd) Indian Police Officer, Youdon Aukatsang, Senior Member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Jaya Jaitly, Activist and former Political leader, and Vinod Saighal, (Retd) Major General, will discuss ‘Women’s Leadership in the 21st century, a Noble Achievement’ and receive questions from the audience consisting of dignitaries, young Tibetan women leaders, professionals and members of the media.

The 90-minute discussion will be moderated by Dhardon Sharling, member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and Research and Communications officer of Tibetan Women’s Association

Time: 11:30 – 13:00
Day and Date: Wednesday, 30th November 2011
Venue: Seminar Hall Number 1, India International Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Program Schedule 11:30 to 13:00

11.25: Speakers, guests, media and selected audience arrive at Seminar Hall number one, India International Center, Lodhi Road.

11:30: Moderator of the discussion invites the panelists on the dice

11:35: Dolkar Lhamo Kirti, President of Tibetan Women’s Association, gives the welcome message

11:40: Panelists will speak for 10 minute each

11:40 to 11:50 ; Dr. Kiran Bedi, Social Activist and (Retd) Indian Police Officer

11:50 to 12:00; Youdon Aukatsang, Member, Tibetan Parliament in Exile

12:00 to 12:10: Jaya Jaitly, Activist and former Political leader

12:10 to 12:20: Vinod Saighal, (Retd) Major General

12:20: Moderator will leave the floor open for a 30-minute Question and Answer session

12: 20 – 12:50: Audience will pose questions (pertaining to the assigned topic) to the panelists

12:50-12:55: Moderator will give the concluding note

12:55 – 13:00: Samten Choedon, Vice president of Tibetan Women’s Association will deliver the ‘thank you note’ while President, TWA will offer scarf and gifts to the panelists.

13:00 pm to 14:00 pm : Lunch at India International Center.
Our esteemed panelists are requested to join us for lunch at the Pre-meeting hall, which will be followed by a photo session.

Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) is the second largest Tibetan Non Governmental Organization (NGO) based in exile India and the only Women’s NGO in Tibetan history. We are today a 16,000 member organization with 56 chapters in four continents; Asia, US. Europe and Australia. TWA’s slogan is ‘Advocacy for Home, Action in Exile.’

nuns_empowerment_training

TWA’s 3rd Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training successfully completed – report

Reporting from ‘Empowerment through Action Desk’ of TWA

nuns_empowerment_trainingContemporary Tibetan history stands testimony to the courage and leadership of Tibetan nuns in Tibet. Since 1959, nuns have displayed these virtues by initiating and participating in the peaceful demonstrations on the streets of Lhasa and across Tibet. Tibetan Women’s Association felt the tremendous need to address the issue of nuns’ leadership and empowerment, to better enable nuns to further their individual goals and pursue the national interest.

The “Empowerment through Action Desk” of the Tibetan Women’s Association organized the ‘Third Annual Tibetan Nuns Leadership Training’ from April 25 to 29 at the Shugseb Nunnery, Garoh. Funded by “Science meets Dharma” (a foundation aspiring to introduce science to Buddhist monks and nuns), the training was attended by twenty five nuns from eleven different nunneries based in Dharamsala, Garoh, Ladakh, Dehradun, Tashijong, Tilokpur, Solan and Kathmandu (Nepal).

Four trainers from TWA- Dhardon Sharling, Nyima Lhamo, Tenzin Dolma and Tenzin Woebum-, and three resource speakers- Dr. B Tsering Yeshi (former president of TWA and current coordinator for Science Meets Dharma), Tenzin Tseyang (Women’s Empowerment Desk of CTA) and Dr. Sonam Wangmo from Mentsekhang-, led the five-day training.

The morning yoga session was led by veteran yoga master Choedhar.

Day One;

The Minister for Culture and Religion (Kalon), Rev. Tsering Phuntsok, graced the opening ceremony as the chief guest and Kasur Rinchen Khando, the executive director of the Tibetan Nuns Project, as the special guest.

Kalon Tsering Phuntsok said, “culturally both sexes were designated with different forms of work such as men doing farming and business and while women took care of household chores and this shows the existence of gender inequality based on traditional beliefs, but these days we see a more sensitized society where women and men do almost everything up to their level best.”

“But the most important part of such empowerment programs is that the trainees should be able to grasp, understand and implement what is being taught during the training” said the minister for Religion and Culture.

Kasur Rinchen Khando congratulated the nuns for taking hold of the momentous opportunity being provided to them. “Empowering oneself is the greatest empowerment and this can be achieved by asking, analysing, enquiring and seeking knowledge and finally implementing and making the best use of what you have learnt” she said.

 

After the special tea break was the introductory session, where participants and trainers introduced themselves. Dr. Sonam Wangmo from Mentsekhang (Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute) led the afternoon session on ‘Women’s Health and its Implications’. Dr. Sonam spoke on health issues of particular import to women, and led a 45- minute question and answer session, which saw a good flow of questions from participants.

 

This was followed by a session on creative communication led by TWA trainer Dhardon Sharling. The participants worked in groups according to the nunneries to which they belonged, each group preparing a visual presentation on ‘Life in my nunnery’, which could be either chart presentation or a skit. The most important thing was about being able to communicate with creativity.

 

After dinner was a documentary film-screening; featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 19th March 2011 speech on His devolution of political authority. Though the screening ran for two and a half hours and though the nuns had a long day, the participants had constructive views and opinions to share after the screening.

 

Day Two

The second day of the training witnessed Tibetan resource persons lead very informative sessions for our participants. Dr. B Tsering Yeshi (former president of TWA and current coordinator for Science Meets Dharma), led the morning session on, ‘Science and Buddhism – imbibing the best of both’. To begin with, Dr. B Tsering la explained more about Science Meets Dharma and its work since its initiation, and explicated important concepts. Participants were then organised into groups, with each discussing a different statement concerning a concept in science or Buddhism. Each group presented their discussion to the other participants (giving points both for and against their statements); some had lots to share and greatly impressed our resource person. The crux of the session was a message of taking the best of both Buddhism and Science, letting the two work together and never judging which is better. Dr. B Tsering la concluded her session with some encouraging words, asking the nuns to seize opportunities, for example attending the ample workshops and trainings on ‘Science and Buddhism’ made available.

 

Tenzin Tseyang, (Women’s Empowerment Desk of CTA) led the afternoon session on Women’s Empowerment; where she explained what women’s empowerment is; the dimensions of power; why there is a need to empower women; and the aspects of empowerment. The participants agreed that women’s empowerment is important, because women constitute half of the population. They agreed that there is dire need for equal involvement of women in decision making and policy development or planning at both community and national levels. Tseyang also gave a power point presentation, which was explicit enough for the nuns to understand the concepts and the significance of women’s empowerment. Our participants had a close look at the demographic survey conducted by CTA in 2009 which showed how many men and women work at CTA and how many women there are at different decision making levels. Most of the participants confessed that they never understood what women’s empowerment was about until that date. They took pleasure in learning new concepts and look forward to building on their understanding.

 

The evening saw a screening of a VOT organized panel discussion on the topic, ‘Women’s Empowerment’. The panellists included Mrs. Gyari Dolma, the deputy speaker of TPIE, Mrs. Tsering Yangkey, founding director of TEAM, and Lugar Jam, independent researcher. The participants learned that every woman has the potential and the capacity to accomplish bigger things, that opportunities for women persist and that therefore it is imperative for woman themselves to develop. The panellists inspired the participants to a great extend.

 

“One is Not BORN, but rather becomes a Woman” – Simone de Beauvoir

 

Day Three

 

Four trainers from TWA- Dhardon Sharling, Nyima Lhamo, Tenzin Dolma and Tenzin Woebum- led the remaining days of training.

 

The morning session began with a presentation on ‘Women and Leadership’ by Nyima Lhamo. The presentation showcased six prolific and accomplished women: Mother Teresa, Aishwarya Rai, J.K Rowling, Navenetham Pillay, Sonia Gandhi and Jetsun Pema la. After the presentation, the participants were divided into six teams and each group had to defend one iconic woman of their choice. The TWA trainers sat as judges with the power to save only one of the women; thus, the groups had to convince the judges to save their chosen woman. In the process of convincing the judges, our participants were helped to realise that they had potential equal to those iconic women, that sheer hard work, determination and unyielding struggle made those women icons, and that we should all take a leaf from their chapters.

 

Thereafter, our participants played some mind-stimulating games, the practical play of which taught them a few important things. The participants had lots of fun trying to solve the puzzles and  effectively implement the tasks. After lunch, the theme was working as a team and team effectiveness; in groups they had to solve “the square puzzle”, played a ball game and “crossing the border”. Each game showed the importance of discussion, team planning, allocating roles according to various skills, strategic thinking, etc. The participants laughed a lot during “crossing the border” as the ropes got higher: this was the point where their planning and strategic thinking played major roles.

After the tea break, Dhardon Sharling led a session on Goal Setting and Visualisation, with a focus on the importance of keeping ones goal SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). The participants enjoyed the session thoroughly, becoming engrossed in their role play exercise on Visualisation; in this exercise, participants had to visualize and accordingly act on the scenarios: visit Amdo Ngaba for one day; meeting Hu Jinato for one hour; meeting Obama for one hour; forming the cabinet of the Tibetan Government in Exile for one day. The participants performed very well and their visualization process was very impressive.

 

The training also saw ‘Climate Night’, where TWA WEDD staff Tenzin Woebum introduced Tibet as the third pole and spoke extensively on, ‘Our responsibility in the age of Climate change’. In the evening, the 25 nun participants each took a pledge to contribute to combating the climate crisis and promoting climate justice. The climate pledge session was filmed and is being edited by our WEDD officer Woebum. Upon its completion, we will send you its youtube link.

 

Day Four

 

Day four was practical. Our participants began implementing the leadership theories they had learnt over the past three days.

 

The nuns were divided into four groups and given two hours time to draft a project proposal under the broad theme of social service. They had a limited budget of Rs. 1000, and would have only the time from 2 pm to 6.30 pm to complete the project. Rev. Lobsang Dechen la, the assistant director of Tibetan Nuns Project kindly accepted our invitation to judge the project presentations. The nuns looked uncertain and hesitant while drafting their proposals: they had to draft proposals in two hours, with a limited budget, for a project that could be implemented in four hours. However, when they returned to the venue at 6:30pm, they all expressed contentment and gratification over the successful completion of their projects.

 

Group A had seven members who divided themselves into three parts. Two of them visited and gave handkerchiefs to thirty residents of Jampaling, the old people’s home at Lhagyalri (Mcleod Ganj), while two remained at Shugseb and gave a health talk to the nuns at Shugseb nunnery, proceeding to do the same at the Jamyang Choeling nunnery. The remainder of the team went to Nyingtogpling (a centre for physically challenged children) and gave a talk on how to be happy and how to balance and control ones mind.

 

Group B were very creative and innovative. They organised a health talk and yoga class for twenty nuns at Gaden Choeling nunnery in Mcleod Ganj. It was impressive to see how they divided their time line and budget, and determined who would do what, when, how and why. The clarity of their project, and the precision with which they were committed to the project, impressed the panellists and they grabbed the complimentary prize of Rs. 500 over the Rs. 1000 provision for project implementation.

 

Group C also went to Nyingtogpling but with a motive to spread happiness. To this end, they brought game kits- which included badminton rackets, balls, balloons and skipping ropes-, and also some goodies and fruits and spent few hours with the children of Nyingtogpling.

 

Group D’s project looked simple but in reality was effective in the longer run. and catered to a broader global theme – the environment. They proposed to buy and plant eight eco friendly and health friendly trees at Shugseb nunnery; one of the members belonging to Shugseb took on the responsibility of watering the plants.

 

From 7pm, the evening session saw participants expressing their views on how their project implementation went, with a focus on what went right and what went wrong. Some of them expressed having learned about the various ways of contributing to the community and that they were happy that they could do something that day. Many confessed it was the first time they had planned and implemented a project that included public speaking, lecturing, meeting people, counselling them and purchasing necessary items.

 

The day’s training taught the participants on the importance of: planning, team management, creative communication, effective thinking, realistic approaches and practical implementation.

 

Day Five

 

The morning session of the final day of the training saw the nuns sitting in groups according to the nunnery they belonged to (thus we had eleven different groups). They were given two hours to discuss and draft an action plan on, ‘what they will do to empower nuns in their nunnery for the next one year until the fourth Annual Nuns Leadership Training’. TWA trainers acted as mentors, helping the nuns to give a practical outline to their plans. Before lunch each group presented their action plan and received ‘feed-forward’ from participant and TWA trainers. Taking this advice on board, the groups reworked their plans and TWA adopted the final action-plans by printing each under TWA’s letter head, endorsed with a seal. Each group procured two copies of the action plan, keeping one for themselves and giving one to TWA.

 

TWA’s ETA Desk looks forward to following up with the groups, and have requested each to report to TWA’s ETAD coordinator with written reports and pictures as they implement their plans. We also plan to visit the nunneries which are in close proximity to Dharamsala, to see and observe as the nuns implement their action plans. Most action plans focused on teaching and sharing the skills they learned from this training with the other nuns at their nunneries, for example: teaching yoga, planting plants, organizing resource talks and trainings, managing garbage and fruit enzymes, and generally sharing the skills learned. We shall keep our partner and sponsor updated as we follow-up with the participants throughout the year.

 

Rev. Lobsang Dechen la appreciated “Science meets Dharma” and Tibetan Women’s Association and graced the concluding function with a motivational speech encouraging the participants to make the most of their futures. The participants were each accorded certificates, traditional Tibetan white scarves, and a TWA WEDD bag carrying environmental messages and a pack of TWA’s publications.

 

The participants and the trainers had an afternoon recreation together, visiting the religious site (Kangra Lhamo) and enjoying a special dinner at the Kangra Fort.

 

Conclusion

The TWA trainers are now convinced that the successful completion of the training gives nuns a unique opportunity to stand on the threshold of the creative process of building leadership skills, and the courage to reach for higher levels of achievement; it thus treads the path of effective change. The training opened new avenues for nuns’ leadership in the Tibetan community and sought to broaden the horizons and prospects of leadership and shed the conventional connotation of leadership.

 

The 25 nuns who attended the training expressed in their feedback that, through this training, they had begun to explore the talents they possessed that could be harnessed not only for furthering their own potential, but also for the benefit of wider society. TWA is confident that this training will be a new milestone of inspiration for the nuns to contribute constructively to the Tibetan freedom struggle and to the promotion of Dharma.

 

In their feedback, the nuns requested TWA to organize more such trainings (if possible, twice a year), and also requested TWA to visit their nunneries and train more nuns there. Thus their feedback was fully positive and TWA’s ETA Desk and the trainers consider the training to have been a great success, which we look forward to taking even higher. We also look forward to enthusiastic and lively participation from our future participants.

This training is the third in the series and we remain indebted to Mr. Kalsang Chokteng la, Managing Director of “Science meets Dharma”, a project of Tibet Institute Rikon, for funding all the nuns’ leadership trainings held so far (since 2009). We also look forward to your continued support in the coming years, just as many of our participants wish to see continuity of similar trainings.

 

TWA’s ETA Desk remains thankful to all the participants for attending the workshop and we hope that this training will be a channel of positive change and inspiration for the nuns. TWA feels the need to do a lot of projects to empower and serve the Tibetan community, but one of the greatest barriers has always been the scarcity of funds. Therefore, we wholeheartedly thank “Science Meets Dharma” for their generous financial support.

TWA’s primary goal is to advocate the rights of the Tibetan women inside Tibet and to empower the Tibetan women in exile. TWA’s Empowerment through Action Desk (ETAD) was founded in May 2009 and the desk exists to strengthen and support the aims of TWA by ensuring that programs are accessible and presented with excellence. The ETAD provides a central point of contact of resources for Tibetan women in exile, while effectively coordinating empowerment programs in culturally appropriate and gender sensitive ways.

 

TWA’s ETAD imparts leadership and empowerment actions which include the Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training, the Annual Young Tibetan Women’s Leadership Program, the All India Gender Sensitization Training and the Annual Tibetan Nuns Leadership Training.

 

Feedback from the participants:

 

It is a good platform to introduce new concepts to the nuns and I appreciate TWA for having thought of this program. You should continue with it- thank you very much, I had a great time here with all the participants and the trainers.”

Ngawang Tendol, Kyidong Thukje Choeling, Nepal.

 

Thank you so much for everything and for including the nuns from Ladakh into your programs”

Ani Tenzin Palmo, Ladakh Nuns Association, Ladakh.

 

I hope to see this program being conducted every year because it is really helpful”

Lobsang Wangmo, Yung Drung Bon monastic Centre, Solan.

 

Such workshops not only impart knowledge, but build confidence and self esteem to our nuns. I hope our nuns can thus contribute and participate to better our community. Thank you for inviting the nuns from here.”

– Namgyal L. Taklha, Advisor to the Drikung Kagyu Samtenling nuns

 

Also view the photographs on Flickr.

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

Third Annual Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Training

TWA’s Tibetan Women’s Advanced Leadership Training 2010, report

Tibetan Women’s Advanced Leadership Training (TWALT); Advancing high level women leadership and promoting women representation in the Tibetan community

7th – 17th June 2010: House of Peace and Dialogue, Upper TCV School.

June 2010 ATWLTThe Tibetan Women’s Advanced Leadership Training organized by the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) kick started with a opening ceremony held at the House of Peace and Dialogue, Upper TCV School and was attended by dignitaries from the exile Tibetan Community.

Statistics say the Central Tibetan Administration is comprised of a 46% female and 54% male workforce, but this does not demonstrate the true situation. There is a shocking discrepancy of a low 3% of women at top level positions, in stark contrast to the 97% of males at high level positions. The same picture also fits in many other frames of Tibetan exile Diaspora.

The Tibetan Women’s Advanced Leadership Training (June 7 to June 17), an undertaking of the Tibetan Women’s Association, seeks to not only address this issue, but to tackle it by enabling women’s representation in the higher realms of representation and ranks of governance. Thirty professional and high potential Tibetan women leaders from all over India participated in this 11-day training, which is the first of its kind. Additionally, this training accentuated the implementation of the Kashag’s eight point policy on women’s empowerment launched in October 2010. It also provided a niche platform and a creative forum for potential women leaders to identity and hone their leadership skills.

The Chief guest for the afternoon’s ceremony, Mrs. Rinchen Khando, former minister of the Tibetan Government in exile and the founding president of the TWA applauded this daring initiative of TWA and said that “women, rather than waiting for equal opportunity to befall them, should prove their mettle and if anyone dares to interrupt, then the women should assert their equal rights.” Mrs. Gyari Dolma, the deputy speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, said that “compared to the other societies, Tibetan women have had equal footing and they are well positioned, but it is also increasingly important to identity and address the gaps and the loopholes and then empower women who constitute a very important proportion of the Tibetan community.” Mr. Tsewang Yeshi, the President of Tibetan Children’s Village Schools, lamented that “intentionally or unintentionally, there is discrimination against the Tibetan women and hence it is essential to sensitize and educate the larger community and take collective efforts to empower women for the benefit of the society.”

The guests also launched the 21st anniversary special edition of ‘DOLMA’ magazine, TWA’s annual literary magazine in both Tibetan and English, which stands for the intellectual expression of and for Tibetan women.

The 11-day training was divided into three phases; professional and experienced resource speakers from the exile Tibetan Community officiated the first phase of the training on ‘Understanding Leadership’. Lynda O Lepcha, the director and master trainer of Holistic Training Solutions (New Delhi) lead the second phase of the training on ‘Building Leadership Skills’. TWA trainer Dhardon Sharling along with Michelle Pomeroy, a young trainer from the United States who has served as a training coordinator, spearheaded the final phase of the training on ‘Practicing Leadership’. Gaea Logan, professional psychotherapist, a professor and author based in the United States actuated the evening sessions on ‘Women and Personal Dialogue.’

An insight into the 11-day training;

Day 1 – June; Orientation, Motivation and Goal Setting

An introduction and orientation round followed the opening function. Dr. Kunchok Tsundue, Secretary of the Planning Commission, CTA spoke to the participants about the general overview of Women’s Representation in the CTA and the significance and relevance of this training.

Michelle Pomeroy led the first session on motivation and goal setting. Many of the participants could relate well to these concepts as we tend to have many goals in our lives but fail to work towards achieving them.

Gaea Logan, professional led the evening session on “Aspiration, Intention and Vow: the process of leadership development.” The exercises inspired us to utilize others’ strengths as sources of aspiration.

Trainee feedback: “It pushed me to set my goals not only the long term goals, but small goals I could achieve in a month’s time. I had been procrastinating for a long time, will try to avoid it.”

Day 2 – June 8; Experienced Women Panel Discussion, Media and Advocacy Training

Two powerful panel discussions were held. The first panel comprised of Mrs. Tashi Dolma, Department of Education, CTA, Mrs. Tsering Yangkey, Director of TESI Team and Kirti Dolkar Lhamo la, Member of TPIE and President of TWA. The second panel discussion encompassed four female Settlement Officers; Tsering Lhamo (Bir), Karma Dolma (Poanta Sahib), Tenzin Kunsang (Shimla) and Yeshi Choedon (Sataun). It was encouraging to know how these women struggled through their lives to overcome challenges and attain great success.

Tenzin Tsundue, an activist and writer, led the second session on Media and Advocacy that stressed on the significance of media as the 4th pillar in a democratic set up. The day ended with Gaea Logan’s session on “Aspiration: Be the change.”

Trainee feedback: “Very effective, needs more of these for Tibetan youths to get empowered; we need more time on this session.”

Day 3- June 9 Women’s Empowerment and Conflict Resolution

The days’ session on “Women’s Empowerment” lead by Tenzin Tseyang, Coordinator of WED, drew everyone’s attention to the ‘culture of silence’ that is prominent among Tibetan women. It was educative and identifiable when Tseyang shared anecdotes relating to her experiences in training grass root people at the Tibetan settlements.

The afternoon session was led by Mr. Karma Lekshey (Director) and Miss. Tencho Choemphel (Information Officer) of the Tibetan Centre for Conflict Resolution. The training taught presented many new approaches to conflict which were very practical and applicable.

The evening session by Gaea Logan on “Intention: Dancing with Mara” had the participants enact the roles of aspirations, support systems and ‘Mara’(negative thoughts in a person) was enjoyable and from this exercise we learned that as much strengths as we have, we also have weaknesses in us and therefore, it is important to focus on personal strengths in working towards your goals.

Trainee feedback: “Absolutely enriching experience learned a lot of new ideas to empower the society at large. Inspiring to see a young trainer trying to educate on such an important issue.”

Day 4- June 10 Effective Communication Skills and Time Management

The morning session on communication skills led by Dhardon Sharling was very clear and precise with plenty of exercises and activities. The session was very effective and it was elating to see active participation from all. Good communication skills are the basic requisite of a good leader, and this session helped us realize the need to learn and grow as better communicators.

Michelle Pomeroy led the afternoon session on time management and personal effectiveness. The techniques on time management were simple and easy to implement, such as the ‘SMART’ goals and the need for a ‘time log’ to track one’s efforts and time spent working towards your goals. The day concluded with the participants attending to the invitation to take part in an on-air discussion at the radio station ‘Voice of Tibet’ on the topic; ‘Women’s Empowerment’.

Trainee feedback: “The skill is must for a leader. Very informative, could relate so well with the activities, and a complete new exposure especially the exercise on press conference, loved it.”

Day 5- June 11 Males speak; Where and Why Women go Wrong

On this day, five male Secretaries from Central Tibetan Administration shared their experiences with our participants and also brought in a male perspective to women leadership and focused their discussion on the positive and negative attributes of women in their work sphere. The purpose of the session was to hear from males of high-level positions the major hindrances in women advancing their career. The discussion ended constructively as the Secretaries gave constructive suggestions to tackle these challenges.

The participants then reflected on the crux of the message from the morning’s discussions, and worked in groups to brainstorm and devise remedies to the problems, flaws and loopholes expounded by the Secretaries. The groups prepared a power point presentation on the proposed solutions to meeting the challenges.

The networking dinner was the highlight of the day and gave participants the opportunity to dine and have conversation with the male Secretaries and strengthen the networking circle.

Trainee feedback: “Thank you TWA for inviting the male Secretaries and listening to their experiences changed my viewpoint towards them. Networking dinner was a great idea.”

Day 6- June 12; Transactional and Transformational leaders

This day commenced the second phase;’ Building Leadership Skills’ led by Lynda O Lepcha. Lynda demonstrated effective communication with the use of an inspirational story to get one’s message across in a simple and direct manner. The morning session examined the differences between transactional and transformational leaders.

It was interesting to see the participants involved as Lynda began with the concept of ‘DISC Profile’. The DISC report measures four dimensions of normal behavior: 1) Dominance: how you respond to problems and challenges 2) Influence: How you influence others to your point of view 3) Steadiness: how you respond to the pace of the environment 4) Compliance: How you respond to rules and procedures set by others. The participants related the concept. The focus then shifted to ‘Leadership Challenge’.

In the evening, Ven. Ngawang Woebar, President of Gu Chu Sum Movement for Tibet presented on the topic ‘Political Prisoners in Tibet.

Trainee feedback: “Enjoyed the session thoroughly, learned lots of new games which I shall share with my colleagues. Her presentations and video clips were so great.”

Day 7- June 13; Strengthening Beliefs and Values of a Leader

The day’s theme was ‘The Five Practices’. In leadership it is sometimes important to challenge the process by experimenting, taking risks and asking ourselves what we can learn when things do not work as planned. It was important to learn that transactional trust is reciprocal and it is created incrementally, step by step.

The session on ‘Beliefs and Values’ were effective as the participants were given value cards and asked to rank their personal values on a sheet of paper and then were made to agree on the three highest and lowest values in a group. The most interesting thing of the day was when Lynda brought in the concept of ‘Feed Forward’ instead of feedback. The objective of the activity was based on the importance of encouraging the heart.

Lynda then spoke about the importance of ‘Visualization’ and related activities helped illustrate changes and commitments that participants need to build on. The day ended with a whole lot of commitments.

Trainee feedback: “I learned how different people can be but there are different ways in dealing with persons of differing natures. Got plenty of feed forward to empower myself.”

Day 8- June 14; Leadership Skills in Influencing Others

The day’s theme was “Influencing Others to Get Things Done.” It was informative to learn the different influencing styles including: logical persuasion, asserting, common vision, participation and trust. Each participant was given a handout to see how influential she is and in which of the four styles she fits into.

The ‘Thomas Kilmann Model’ in managing conflict was attractive. It became very clear that avoiding conflict is never the solution. The participants were then given ‘post it pads’ and asked to write down one thing they want to start, continue and stop doing as a leader. Then we examined the ‘Grip model,” which addresses team effectiveness. This exercise on making a balloon sofa tested whether the team had a common goal, trust, a shared vision and objective.

Gaea Logan completed her final evening session on “Vow: Visioning the Future, Redefining the Present.” The envisioning of a different future helped us to redefine our present actions, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Trainee feedback: “It was fun, educative, motivating, challenging and effective.”

Day 9- June 15; Evaluating Communication and Team building skills

With this day we entered the third and final phase; ‘Practicing Leadership’. We had the group divided and assigned topics. This daylong exercise was to evaluate the leadership skills that the women gained over the past eight days. The participants were divided into 6 groups and each group represented 6 departments of the CTA namely; Home, Health, Education, Finance, DIIR and Culture and Religion. The groups expounded on practical implementation of Kashag’s Eight Point Policy on Women’s empowerment. The whole dialogue process was filmed for further evaluation.

Later in the afternoon, Victoria Camp led a session on Public Speaking that proved very effective. Following the long and intensive week-long training, the participants enjoyed a ‘walk in paradise’ up to Naddi hills to refresh, relax and unwind.

Trainee feedback: “It was very practical, feels great to see myself in the video and evaluate myself.”

Day 10- June 16; Project Proposal and Implementation

The six groups were made to draft a project proposal for Rs.1000/-to be implemented on the same day. Dr. Kunchok Tsundue la guided the groups through the process. Each group presented their project and Dr. Kunchok gave ‘feed forward’ after each presentation. Following lunch, all teams dispersed in and around Dharamsala to implement their projects. TWA’s co-trainers followed each team and filmed the groups implementing their projects. After dinner, everyone gathered to share their experiences and reflect on the successful implementation of their projects. The day long practical evaluation clearly proved that we are all capable and the day ended with a great sense of accomplishment.

Trainee feedback: “I am happy our team won the extra cash prize and could help one more home at TCV with first aid box.”

Day 11- June 17; Final Grand Evaluation at Upper TCV School

The same six groups nominated their best speakers who sit on the panel discussion that presented the action plan for the implementation of the Kashag’s Eight Point Policy to the senior school students of Tibetan Children’s Village. The discussion was effective and constructive. The inflow of questions from students was appreciated and it was nice to hear some of the male students speak about women’s empowerment. Mrs. Sonam Dolkar, the Education Director of Tibetan Children’s Village, addressed the gathering thanking TWA for the wonderful initiative of holding such trainings. All the participants and trainers shared their experiences during the final closure led by TWA’s program coordinator Nyima Lhamo and gave positive ‘feed forward’ for future TWA trainings. This was followed by a written feedback evaluation.

The closing ceremony had Mrs. Gyari Dolma, Deputy Speaker of the TPIE give away the certificates and in her deliberation lauded the efforts of TWA and stressed on the importance and need of such trainings and encouraged TWA to organize similar trainings at the grass root levels across Tibetan settlements.

Trainee feedback: “This training required a lot of time, commitment and challenges over the year, we are happy that this training ended on a positive note.”

Conclusion

TWA is confident that the heights of leadership skills that these women attained from this training will help them to climb ladders of success. TWA proudly looks at these women as ‘Empowered Women for an Empowered Nation.’ Both the trainers and trainees jointly agree that this training was a huge success and we remain thankful to The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation (USA) for supporting this maiden venture of TWA with the much needed financial impetus along with financial resources from the Open Meadows Foundation.

“By the end of this training, we aspire to see women who are not only empowered, but also capable, prepared and willing to take up challenging roles in the decision making arena,” said Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, the president of TWA.

TWA’s primary goal is to advocate the rights of the Tibetan women inside Tibet and to empower the women in exile. This training fits in the paradigm of TWA’s ‘leadership and empowerment actions’ that also includes the ‘Annual Young Tibetan Women’s Leadership Program,’ ‘All India Gender Sensitization Training’ and the ‘Annual Tibetan Nuns Leadership Training’.

Also view the photographs on Flickr.

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TWA embarks on an Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training, 2010

The time is now ripe for She-roes and States-Women

Tibetan Womens Association logoAlbeit statistics say that the workforce in CTA accounts to 46%-female and 54%- male. But is also reveals a shocking discrepancy of only 3% of ‘Women on top level’ in stark contrast to the 97% male. The same picture fits in other frames of tibetan exile Diaspora as well. TWA is now hands-on preparing for the first ever ‘Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training’ (June 2010) targeting the potential women leaders to enable their representation in the higher realms of representation and ranks of governance . The training also seeks to accentuate the Kashag’s eight point policy towards achieving women’s empowerment and to essentially provide a forum for women leaders to take the leap forward.

The ‘Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training’ is scheduled to be held from in the second week of June this year at the House of Peace and Dialogue, Upper TCV School, Dharamsala.

In a statement released by the cabinet of CTA on September 2, 2008, it stated that, “In order to establish a true democratic society, it is very important to have gender equality in general, and particularly women should equally partake in the administrative and political work of a country”. The cabinet outlined an eight-point policy to empower Tibetan women’s equal participation in the successful establishment of non-violent and democratic Tibetan community as envisioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The third point emphasizes that the Tibetan settlements should make efforts in having women as representatives and settlement officers, and also underscored the need to strengthen women’s role in the administration and politics of the democratic Tibetan community. This training strives to make this third point a reality.

TWA aims to address the dearth of female representation in the civil society of Tibetans in exile. For instance only 5 of the 54 current Settlement Officers are female. For over a year, TWA has been working on this training which is first of its kind. The main objective of this training is to empower Tibetan women in leadership qualities and to boost female representation in the decision-making positions in the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and other myriad avenues of the exile Tibetan society and in the global arena. The program will be followed by monthly workshops and networking days to help create a permanent, expanding female social and political network. Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) is promoting gender perspectives that will make the Kashag’s Policy on Women’s Empowerment more effective, and provide critical insight and dedication to many social and gender-specific issues.

This training will be two weeks long and will attract as much as 30 able women from all over India. The past, week-long leadership trainings have proven extremely successful in fostering leadership skills among Tibetan women and Tibetan nuns, and in encouraging women to become effective leaders within their own lives and within the community. This one will be much more intensive and focus specifically on empowering women as political representatives.

In conducting this training, TWA pays for accommodation and transport of the participants, TWA staff, and speakers, as well as rents and learning tools for participants. The Tibetan Women Leadership Training aims to foster leadership skills among Tibetan women, and therefore strengthening the whole Tibetan democratic community by empowering our women. There are many decisions relating to women and children that are socially crucial, such as education, maternal health, community-based services, and equal legal rights, where opinions, advises and expertise of women is indispensable. Also the working atmosphere has proven to be better with mixed. By the end of this training, we aspire to see women who are not only empowered, but also capable, prepared and willing to take up challenging roles in the decision making arena in the CTA and other areas of decision making. Eventually, this training will produce more able women leaders in the higher realms of the administration.

With this training, we plan to give the participants a unique opportunity to stand on the threshold of the creative process of building leadership skills and give them the right impetus and skills to reach for higher levels of leadership.

As of April 2010, Dr.Kiran Bedi, social activist and retired Indian Police Officer Service-(IPS) has agreed to grace the occasion and deliver a talk on ‘motivation.’ Gaea Logan, professional psychotherapist, a professor and author will lead sessions on personal dialogue, Lynda O Lepcha, the director and master trainer of Holistic Training Solutions (New Delhi) will hold the core training on Building Leadership Skills’. The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation (USA) has agreed to support his maiden venture of TWA with the much needed financial impetus. Michelle Pomeroy, a graduate student at New York University and Tenzin Palkyi former TWA staff and now a graduate student at the University of Kentucky is hands-on, working to make this ambitious project of TWA a grand success.

Please follow the posts on our website for further updates on this milestone and breakthrough Training.

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