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.

2009 game

Tibetan Nun’s Leadership Program

2009 gameThe contemporary Tibetan history since 1959 stands testimony to the sheer courage and leadership roles that the Tibetan nuns in Tibet displayed by initiating and participating in the peaceful demonstrations on the streets of Lhasa and elsewhere in Tibet. Although, Tibetan nuns in exile display such acts of patriotism as well, Tibetan Women’s Association felt the tremendous need to address the issue of nuns’ leadership and empowerment so that they are better able to further their individual goals and also meet the needs of national interest.

TWA in conjunction with Science Meets Dharma, (a foundation aspiring to introduce science to Buddhist monks and nuns), organized the first-ever leadership workshop for Tibetan nuns at Jayang Choeling nunnery. The workshop that lasted for three days was attended by 21 earnest and interested nuns. Three trainers from TWA; Dr. B. Tsering Yeshi (President of TWA), Tsering Yangzom Oshoe (General Secretary), and Tenzin Palkyi (Research and Media officer) worked on the concept, content and manner for the training and handled all the training sessions.

Ven. Jamphel Dakpa, Principal of Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies, honoured the workshop with his eminent presence as the Chief Guest for the workshop’s opening ceremony. Ven. Dakpa delivered an awe-inspiring speech where he encouraged the nuns to take individual initiatives and not to contrive themselves by heeding the conventional norms. He stressed since the nuns make for a significant portion of our community, it is imperative for the nuns to step into leadership roles.

The three-day workshop zeroed in on certain leadership qualities such as; communication skills, goal setting, visualization, leaving a legacy, thinking out-of-the-box, time management and team management skills and albeit the training was limited to three-days, but the trainers saw to it that not a single minute went in vain and that the training procured positive impact on the participants. Documentary screenings in the evenings were well received by the trainees and the three films; ‘The Unwinking Gaze,’ ‘March to Tibet ’and‘ Leaving Fear Behind’ did stir the emotions in the participants and rekindled patriotism.

TWA firmly believes that active participatory and interactive sessions are the most effective methods of leading any workshop. Thus, sticking true to our belief, we designed the entire program to create a space for self-expression and stimulate the participants to actively express their thoughts. We also deemed it of utmost importance to introduce the nuns to think creatively and find out-of-the-box solutions to any issues concerning them and their lives.

The training saw a heightened avatar when the two other distinguished guest speakers; Jampa Monlam and Ven. Lobsang Dechen, who spoke on the contribution of Tibetan nuns in the Tibetan freedom struggle and the role of modern Tibetan nuns respectively. Jampa Monlam enlightened us on the tremendous contribution Tibetan nuns have made in Tibet’s freedom struggle and quenched the participants’ thirst for information regarding the issue. Ven. Lobsang Dechen, being an accomplished nun herself, stuck a chord with the nuns and truly inspired the nuns into believing that they can become anything they want if they give it their best shot.

The final day involved the participants in a daylong practical evaluation where the groups were engaged in a replicated Sino-Tibetan dialogue. The entire dialogue session was video-taped and later screened for the participants in a bid to garner authentic and discerning feedback. The training did make a credible difference in the outlook and lives of the participants and this we believe will go a long way in making them effective leaders of tomorrow.

In their feedback for the workshop, majority of the nuns expressed their extreme liking for the morning yoga sessions and the last day’s dialogue session. They said the dialogue session was particularly helpful since it gave them an opportunity to put in practice what they learned for the past two days. Many participants found the goal setting session to be very effective and all other sessions were equally appreciated. All of them unanimously agreed on the need for creative thinking and heartily enjoyed all the training sessions and games that pushed them to think beyond their common boundaries.

Following a close and a keen observation, one of the nuns raised a questioned on why the Tibetan nun in exile weren’t provided with this kind of workshops earlier?

Many participants requested for more workshops of this kind and asked for longer training sessions. Yeshi Sangmo, a participant from Janchup Choeling, Mundgod, particularly requested the trainers to organise similar programs in her nunnery.

TWA would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the participants for attending the workshop and we hope that this workshop will be a catalyst of positive and credible change for the nuns. This workshop would not have been possible without the generous financial assistance of Science Meets Dharma. We genuinely hope that in being able to break the mould of leadership for the nuns, these schemes will be further explored by like-minded groups. With all of us earnestly and genuinely working together for nuns’ empowerment, a better future for the nuns and an empowered society in exile is not only a possibility, but a certainty.

Tibetan Women Leadership Program’s Letters to the UN

December 18, 2006: Twenty students from Bangalore, Baroda, Delhi and Dharamsala attended the five day Tibetan Women Leadership Program in Delhi. All participants were divided in four groups and each group lodged an individual complaint against the violation of human rights in Tibet to the respective United Nation’s Committee. The following are the copies of the letters that were sent.

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
2 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY
10017, USA

December 14, 2006

Tibetan Women Calls Upon CEDAW to Protect Tibetan Women’s Rights in Tibet

Respected Andreas Mavroyiannis,

The Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women was established in 1979 and in the past 17 years, we are aware that CEDAW has worked diligently towards solving women’s problems around the world. We are five Tibetan women who truly appreciate your dedicated effort towards this cause. As we live in exile and enjoy all freedoms and rights that exile life in India offers, but we are very concerned about the rights of Tibetan women in Tibet. Usually, governments pay vigilant attention towards safeguarding rights of women and children, but in the case of Tibet, we are witnessing a completely opposite policy from Chinese government. Though, we are blessed with freedom in exile, we feel the pain of our sisters in Tibet.

We have many concerns regarding the rights of our women in Tibet, but we would like to bring forth the following crisis that needs urgent attention and action from your committee.

Due to displacement of nomads in Tibet, many are forced to move to urban areas where there are limited job opportunities. Those who live in the city are also affected by the increasing modernization and high unemployment rates. Due to the above two reasons, many women are forced to become prostitutes as it is the only source of livelihood for them. This also results in rampant increase of the AIDS epidemic.

Tibetans are fast approaching a minority status in our own country and it is Chinese government’s strategic planning to completely eradicate Tibetan nationality from this world. Chinese government funds mobile medical groups which travel to different areas of Tibet and conducts forced sterilization of Tibetan women. The medical groups do not even use standard and clean medical equipments while operating on Tibetan women.

Tibetan Buddhism plays a pivotal role in our culture. Religious freedom is practiced only prima facie and nuns are forced to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama. If they disregard the Chinese laws, they are tortured, punished and imprisoned. Some nun political prisoners are even tortured by sticking electronic rods in their private parts.
The above mentioned points are of deep concern to us and we hope that CEDAW will take the necessary actions to hold China accountable for the gross injustice that Chinese policies have on Tibetan women. We thank you in advance for your commitment towards solving women’s issues in the world and especially Tibetan women’s rights in Tibet.

Thank you,

Phurbu Dolma
Tenzin Nyima
Tamdin Dolma
Tashi Tsomo
Tenzin Palkyi

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10

December 14, 2006

Tibetan Children in Tibet Need Your Support and Attention

Dear Jacob Egbert Doek,

We are five Tibetan students born in exile and we had fully enjoyed all the child rights in exile, but our brothers and sisters who are left in Tibet do not get even a single right. They are treated very harshly. So, we want to bring your attention to the true and sad situation through which Tibetan children are undergoing.

Tibetan children living in Tibet do not have right to education. One very strong example is of the Panchen Lama, the youngest political prisoner in the world who is a spiritual and political leader of Tibet. At a tender age of 6, he was kidnapped and he has not been heard of since. Now, he is turning 18 in a few months, and his rights as a child will end soon.

Majority of the Tibetan children are engaged in begging for their survival as they do not get basic education, and thus, they can not get good jobs when they grow up. Many Tibetan children risk their lives by trying to escape to exile over the Himalayas. Many Tibetan children’s lives are wasted into gambling and doing drugs as there are no other alternatives laid by the government to enhance their lives. Recently, there was also a case of Chinese border police shooting Tibetans escaping over the Himalayas. We want to know what happened to the children who are arrested on September 30, 2006 at Nangpa La Pass.

A very serious case of selling Tibetan children has come up in the past and we are very concerned about it. Children who are bought are then forced to do manual work and child labor for the profit of their Chinese owners. The children are treated like slaves.

Actually, there are many more points of concerns, but we pointed out the three main crisis facing children of Tibet. We hope that CRC will pay great attention towards the mentioned issues and that you will fully investigate Chinese government’s claim of upholding children rights in Tibet. We will be very grateful to all of you.

Thank you,

Jampa Lhakey
Tenzin Lhamo
Tenzin Namdak
Sangay Dolma
Tsering Yangzom

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

December 14, 2006

Tibetan Women Request Human Rights Council to Hold China Accountable for Human Rights Abuses in Tibet:

Dear Luis Alfonso de Alba,

We are five Tibet women living in exile in India and we want to request Human Rights Council members to revisit the Tibet issue and revive HRC’s interest in human rights condition in Tibet under the Chinese government. Tibetan people in Tibet are living under great difficulty due to Chinese Communist Party’s ruthless rule in Tibet. Chinese government presents bogus official papers on how human rights condition in Tibet is upheld and respected, which are all propaganda tools for the Chinese government.

If we look at the recent shootings at Nangpa La Pass which was witnessed by the world through a mountaineer’s video camera on September 30th, we can realize how China disregards border laws and ruthlessly kills Tibetans trying to escape into exile. Chinese government has continuously refused its violations of human rights in Tibet, but this time they were caught red-handed. We ask you to hold China accountable for its actions and demand immediate release of the Nangpa La Pass prisoners.

The 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who has been kidnapped at the age of 6, still remains missing for 11 years now. The entire world has been demanding his freedom, but there has been no response from the Chinese’ side.
Tulku Tenzin Delek is also imprisoned for life, and his friend, Lobsang Dhondup, was executed without trial. Tulku Tenzin Delek was feared by the Chinese Government as he was gaining popularity among his Tibetan followers and soon he became a target for the Chinese government policies’ wrath. He was falsely blamed for planting bombs and imprisoned for life.

We have faith in the Human Rights Council and we believe that the member states will pay attention to the above mentioned points. We thank you for your initiative in solving human rights problems around the world and we appeal to you for the urgent need of action towards resolving human rights violations in Tibet.

Thank you,

Tsering Deckyi
Jampa Choedon
Sonam Yangchen
Tenzin Nganan
Tsering Dolma