A conference on ‘Women’s Leadership Roles in Asia’ marked the culmination of the 10-day training
A conference addressed by veteran Indian women leaders: Dr. Kiran Bedi, India’s first and highest woman ranking officer and political activist, Jaya Jaitlley, former political leader and social activist, Dr. Alana Golmei, activist for Burmese human rights and Radha Bhatt alias Radha Bhen, leading activist and chairperson of Gandhi Peace Foundation, marked the concluding session of 10-days of Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training (ATWLT), organized by Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA).
25 young participant of ATWLT from exile pockets in India: Sikkim, Chennai, Gujurat, Dharamsala, and Delhi were joined by guests and the press at Magnolia auditorium of India Habitat Center, New Delhi. The two-hour discussion dwelled on how and in what ways, over the past centuries women in Asia have been key figures in the promotion of non-violence; from homemakers to nation builders thus leading the path to progress and advancement.
Moderated by Dhardon Sharling, activist and member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, the discussion established that women in Asia, particularly Tibetan women have persevered as agents of positive change in the 21st century.
Dr. Bedi stressed on how leadership is innate and is both personal and professional and that true leadership is ‘you are what you are from inside out.’ Dr. Bedi cited His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi as exemplary leaders who are ‘leaders in performance and not in position.’
Jaya Jaitley, spoke about ‘3 symbols of leadership; the jail-prepares you for the sacrifice of freedom in pursuit of greater freedom’, the spade/shovel- representing individual action in cleaning the drain and the ballot box- making you deserving of a leader.’ Jaya lauded Tibetan Women for being archetypal leader and for walking the right path. “Women are instrumental in peacekeeping because they will not resort to violence as they have the strongest weapon—the strength of will.”
Radha Bhatt, said that leadership prowess is exhibited by the common people in villages in Asia and through their every day acts of defiance. Radha expounded that, leadership at grassroots level provide bedrock support to bigger foundations in the society. Radha reiterated Gandhiji’s message of how individual action can bring about change in the society. “Be the change you want and expect to see in the society and that way Asia can become a harmonious region on the globe.”
Dr. Alana Golmei narrated her early experience of fleeing from conflict in Manipur and getting involved with the Burmese human rights struggle. “You cannot run away from a problem and you cannot expect another positional power or authority to solve your problem, but you should have the solution.” Dr. Alana expressed on the importance of networking and advocacy skills in the human rights struggle and said that Tibetan women ‘should reach out, expand and built a strong base to ensure the sustenance of the struggle and the movement.’
The 10-day ATWLT, the 3rd in the series is an undertaking of TWA. Between December 18 and December 27, professional trainers such as Lynda O Lepcha-Director of Holistic Training Solution, New Delhi, Irene M Santiago- Chair and former Chief Executive Officer of the Mindanao Commission on Women and Convener of the Mothers for Peace Movement in the Philippines and Dhardon Sharling- member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and Co-Chair of the International Tibet Network, led the three phases of training- identifying, understanding and building leadership skills.
Funded by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, through the Tibet Fund based in the United States, and the National Endowment for Democracy, the intensive training encouraged hands-on experiences of leadership and included exposure trip, event management, lobbying Indian leaders, debate with women leaders, participation in NDTV’s ‘The Big Fight’ and implementation of social empowerment projects in Delhi.
The trainees confessed that the experience was akin to a roller-coaster ride and that they benefited a great deal by being on the learning curve. Tsering Kyi, a young Tibetan university student in Delhi confessed that ‘these kind of leadership training is a huge investment by TWA for creating future women leaders.’
The young women participants shared commitment and to take strident steps in their everyday lives to perfect their leadership skills and hold the mantle of female leadership, to continue with the legacy of women’s leadership and thereby secure a safe and a sound future women across the globe.
The Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) has 56 regional chapters and over 16,000 members outside Tibet. Today, TWA is the second largest Tibetan NGO and the only women’s NGO in exile that advocates human rights for Tibetan Women in Tibet and works to empower Tibetan women in exile, in particular new refugee women from Tibet. TWA’s tag-ling is ‘Advocacy for home, Action in exile.’
Please follow the link to view pictures of the 10-day event on Picasa web album:
Tashi Dolma, President: 9459553
Nyima Lhamo, General Secretary: 9882502