117 grassroots women leaders belonging to 26 regional chapters of Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) have converged in Dharamsala for the 6-day (May 8-13) General Body Meeting (GBM), the 11th in the series of TWA’s history. Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan Political leader(Sikyong), Mrs. Rinchen Khando, founding President of Tibetan Women’s Association and former Kalon and Mr. Penpa Tsering, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in Exile graced the opening ceremony as the Chief guest and Guest of Honours.
The GBM convened after every three years is the highest decision making body of TWA and is empowered to amend the association’s working charter. The 11th GBM will elect the 11th central executive officers. The concluding ceremony including the announcement of the election results is slated for 5 pm on May 13th – the final day of the general body meeting.
Tibetan Women’s Association honoured the group of Tibetan women who strove vigorously and effortlessly to reinstate Tibetan Women’s Association in Exile in the early 1980s which led to the reestablishment of the Association on 10thSeptember, 1984. Ms. Rinchen Khando, founding President of Tibetan Women’s Association and former Kalon was honoured for her continued leadership and guidance in the Tibetan community. Ten Central and Regional Executives were honoured for their 12 years of service and contribution to Tibetan Women’s Association at the regional and central offices. The dignitaries also launched three Tibetan Women’s Association’s publications in Tibetan; the publications are titled “History of Tibetan Women Leaders”, “Tibetans Intermarriages inside Tibet and Exile” and “History of Regional Tibetan Women’s Association”.
The Central TWA has drafted a 7 point agenda covering a wide range of issues: political, social, educational, advocacy and empowerment initiatives to reinforce capacitate and strengthen the role of Tibetan women in the Tibetan freedom struggle. Adequate time will be provided for discussions, brainstorming sessions, and deliberations, on the agenda. All resolutions derived from these broad agendas will serve as the action plan for TWA and its chapters for the next three years (2015 – 2018).
From a humble beginning in 1984 in exile India, TWA is today the second largest NGO (17,000 members) in exile and the only women’s NGO in Tibetan history with a global network of 56 regional chapters spread over 4 continents.
In the course of TWA’s history, Tibetan women have had a steadfast presence in- empowering women in the Tibetan freedom struggle, amplifying the suppressed voices of Tibetans in Tibet, lobbying world leaders, empowering women in exile on social, political, educational and economic front, strengthening democracy in exile, advocating for Tibet’s environment and in strengthening the TWA organizational structure and influence.
TWA’s slogan is ‘Advocacy for Home and Action in Exile.’