THE auspicious occasion of the 85th birthday of the Tibetan spiritual leader, HH the XIV Dalai Lama will be celebrated globally as World Tibet Day on July 6, 2020.
In the wake of the Chinese virus outbreak aka COVID-19, the event this year is limited to the online releases of films on the life of the Dalai Lama, online discussions and webinars on the Tibet issue. In 2019, more than 50 countries and 110 cities joined the celebration worldwide.
In a message, HH the Dalai Lama stated that "World Tibet Day has opened many hearts to fundamental rights of the Tibetan people to preserve our culture and to practice our religion freely. The event had greatly raised public awareness of the present threat to the very existence of the Tibetan people."
On World Tibet Day, the foundation announced a new and refreshed official information portal of the organisation — www.worldtibetday.org, an updated site with better navigation and content developed by Friends of Tibet [Research] in coordination with Design & People. An upgraded website with new sections with a whole host of smaller but impactful changes is being added in order to make your experience better. The new website gives all the information one requires on this global event is just a single click away, according to the Foundation.
July 5, 2020: Kalon Karma Yeshi, Minister for Finance, Central Tibetan Administration launching www.worldtibetday.org, the official website of the World Tibet Day. ◼
In an informal and simple function at Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, Kalon Karma Yeshi, Minister for Finance inaugurated the website making it live for the public to access. Speaking on the occasion, he said that he is pleased to launch the World Tibet Day website on the auspicious occasion of 85th Birthday of His Holiness the great XIV Dalai Lama. "I thank everyone involved with the Foundation for all their hard work and dedication. And I sincerely hope and pray that this website will go a long way in disseminating authentic information on Tibet and in creating greater awareness about Tibet issue worldwide. May His Holiness live long to guide us," said Yeshi.
World Tibet Day (WTD) was initiated in Chicago in 1997 at an informal meeting between Tendzin Choegyal, the Dalai Lama's younger brother and Richard Rosenkranz, a Pulitzer Prize nominee in history and a former correspondent from the US Senate. Rosenkranz proposed the concept of WTD, saying it could become an annual worldwide event, aimed at helping the Tibetan people regain essential freedoms. Believing in the potential of the proposed event great promise, they offered the idea to His Holiness, who unanimously gave them his blessing and warm support. Founded in 1998, World Tibet Day has grown into one of the most important events on the Tibetan calendar. ◼
World Tibet Day in Tanzania
Birthday of HH the XIV Dalai Lama (July 6, 2020)
FOR the first time, the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet and World Tibet Day were celebrated in Tanzania, East Africa. The initiative was taken by Rohit Singh, Campaigner, Friends of Tibet which shortly became a unique event at Arusha city of Tanzania joined by the ex-pats community of both India and Sri Lanka. Friends of Tibet congratulate and thank all those who joined the global celebration on July 6, 2020! ◼
Message from HH the XIV Dalai Lama
WE are living at a time when different circumstances have resulted in increasing interdependence within the global community. On the other hand, we are witnessing a new era of freedom as people's long-suppressed seek to assert their liberty and preserve their distinct identity.
We, six million Tibetans have a unique and distinct cultural heritage just as other people have. Even today, our rich culture, peaceful outlook and respectful attitude to the environment contain a wealth of experience that can be of widespread benefit to others. For this reason our cultural traditions from a precious part of the world's common heritage. Humanity would be poorer if they were to be lost. Although those of us in exile have made every effort to preserve and promote them, we will not succeed in isolation. We require help and support. That depends on the Tibetan people and their traditions being better understood and a greater awareness of the threat that confronts them both.
I am greatly encouraged that there is to be another World Tibet Day. It gives me great pleasure to know that the cause of Tibet has such strong support. I send you my greetings on this occasion and I am happy to learn that our supporter's participation in World Tibet Day will also be able to enjoy yourselves. The Tibetan people continue urgently to need hope and encouragement. They will find these if they feel they have friends and I no doubt that the World Tibet Day will be a great opportunity for reinforcing that friendship.
The Dalai Lama
Richard Rosenkranz, the Founder
RICHARD Rosenkranz (1942-2014) is a Pulitzer Prize nominee in history and a former correspondent from the US Senate. In 1997, he initiated World Tibet Day (WTD) in Chicago at an informal meeting between Tendzin Choegyal, the Dalai Lama's younger brother. He is the founder of World Tibet Day Foundation. Same year, Rosenkranz founded the Interfaith Call for Universal Freedom of Worship and for Human Rights in Tibet. He intended the Call as a vehicle to help raise awareness and support for religious freedom and human rights in general, and in particular for the Tibetan people.
Having lost members of his own family in the holocaust, Rosenkranz was both disturbed and energised by predictions that the religion and culture of the people in Tibet could be wiped out within years because of genocidal practices of the Chinese government. He created the Call party to help the Tibetan people as well as the world at large. Largely through his perseverance and energy, the Call became a phenomenal success in an incredibly short time. At the end of last year, more than 150,000 people made a commitment to observe the Call, up from 8,000 people the previous year.
Working from his house in Florida, Rosenkranz did extensive outreach on a shoestring budget, financial largely through his savings. Relying mainly on e-mail and occasional mailing, he succeeded partly from his ability to convince total strangers this was a cause worth volunteering their time and effort.
He established a network of volunteers, especially young students, to help him reach out to thousands of houses of worship from many faith traditions. He also created a Web site — with help from friends with computer skills — and then solicited prayers for the Call from many eminent spiritual leaders, including His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He posted the prayers on his site, and then asked theologians from different faith traditions to write full prayers services for the Call. As a former national correspondent, he used his journalism skills to write numerous media releases to raise awareness about issues related to the Call. ◼
A Host of Prominent Figures Have Enthusiastically Lent Their Support to World Tibet Day
Politics and the Arts: Richard Gere (Actor & Philanthropist); Melissa Mathison Ford (Screenwriter & Activist); Harrison Ford (Actor & Environmental Activist); Arlo Guthrie (Singer, songwriter & founder of the Guthrie Center); Ivana Trump (Czech-American Businesswoman); Richie Havens (American Singer & Songwriter); Joseph Robinette Biden Jr (47th Vice President of the United States); Congressman Benjamin Gilman (Chair, House of International Relations Committee); Congressman Tom Lantos (The only survivor of the holocaust serving in Congress); Congressman Donald Payne (American politician who has been the US Representative for New Jersey); Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, (American politician who has been the US Representative for Illinois); Congressman Cristopher Smith (American politician who has been the US Representative for NJ); Congressman Peter DeFazio (American politician who has been the US Representative for OR); Congressman Dana Rohrbacher (American politician who has been the US Representative for CA); Congressman Sherrod Brown (American politician who has been the US Representative for OH); Congressman James McGovern (American politician who has been the US Representative for MA); Congressman Neil Abercrombie (American politician who has been the US Representative for HI); Congressman Julian Dixon (American politician who has been the US Representative for CA); Congressman Danny Davis (American politician who has been the US Representative for IL); Congressman Maurice Hinchey (American politician who has been the US Representative for NY); Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (American politician who has been the US Representative for GA); Congressman Elijah Cummings (American politician who has been the US Representative for MD); Congressman Dennis Kucinich (American politician who has been the US Representative for OH); Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (American politician who has been the US Representative for WI); Congressman Henry Waxman (American politician who has been the US Representative for CA); Congresswoman Barbara Lee (American politician who has been the US Representative for CA); Congressman Peter King (American politician who has been the US Representative for NY); Congressman Thomas Tancredo (American politician who has been the US Representative for CO); Congressman Michael Capuano (American politician who has been the US Representative for MA); Congressman Luis Gutierrez (American politician who has been the US Representative for IL); Congressman Fortney Pete Stark (American politician who has been the US Representative for CA); Congressman Bob Filner (American politician who has been the US Representative for CA); Congressman Earl Hilliard (American politician who has been the US Representative for AL); Yesudasan (Cartoonist & Columnist, India); Tushar Gandhi (Great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi & Kasturba Gandhi)
Tibetan Community & Tibet Support Groups: Lodi Gyari Rinpoche (Former Special Envoy of HH the Dalai Lama); Rinchen Dharlo (The Tibet Fund); John Ackerly (International Campaign for Tibet); Karma Yeshi (Minister for Finance, Tibetan Government in exile); Erin Potts (Milarepa Fund); Sonam Wangdu (US Tibet Committee); Thupten Thokmey (Tibetan Youth Congress of NY and NJ); Chime Wangdu (Tibetan Association of NY&NJ); Phuntsok Dolma (Tibetan Women's Association); Lama Lobsang Ngodup (The Tibetan Monastery, NY); Karma Zurkang (Director, Tibet Alliance of Chicago); Ronit Herzfeld (World Artists for Tibet); Nena Thurman, (The Tibet House, NY); Ed Bednar (NY Association for New Americans); Guy Lieberman (Tibetan Cultural Center of South Africa); Mark Moore, (DEVI); Earthville Institute of Dharamshala; Rev John Lundin (San Diego Friends of Tibet); Larry Gerstein (International Tibet Independence Movement, USA); Tsering Yangdon (Princeton Area Friends of Tibet); Judy Tethong (Canada Tibet Committee); Carol Fields (Bay Area Friends of Tibet); Thupten Gyaltsen & Pema Dechen Gorap (Colorado Friends of Tibet); Kathy Hargit (North Bay Active Campaign for Tibet); John Hocevar (Students for a Free Tibet); Lhadon Thethong (SFT); Thupten Tsering (SFT); Kaari Schlebach & Angela Passang (SFT, New Zealand); CA Kallianpur (Friends of Tibet: India); Kashi Art Cafe (Fort Kochi, India), Friends of Tibet Foundation for the Wellbeing (India); Ravindra Ranasinha (Friends of Tibet: Sri Lanka)
Spiritual & Religious Leaders and from the Interfaith Movement: Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Anti-Apartheid & Human Rights Activist) Arun & Sunanda Gandhi (MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence); Marcus Braybrooke (Interfaith Centre at Oxford); Rev James Parks Morton (Cathedral of St John the Divine, NY); Barbara Bernstein (Global New Thought); William Swing (Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of California); Deepak Chopra (Author & Orator); Jean Houston (Foundation for Mind Research); Sister Joan Kirby (The Temple of Understanding, NY); Nemu Chandaria (Institute of Jainology, London); Sister Joan Chatfield (Institute for Religion and Change, Hawaii); Brother Wayne Teasdale (Christian Sanyassi); Dr Michael Beckwith (AGAPE Center of Truth); Rev Mary Manin Morrissey (Living Enrichment Center, Portland); Brother Rolph Fernandes (Interfaith Officer of the Franciscan Order in Canada); Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Spiritual Eldering, at Naropa Institute, CO); Rohinton Rivetna (Zoroastrian Association of NA); Elizabeth Espersen (Center for World Thanksgiving)
Academia & Social Services: Prof Robert Thurman (Columbia University); Prof Diana Eck (Harvard University); Prof Roger Corless (Duke University); Ashok Gangadean (Haverford College); Paul Ingram (Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies); Prof Dorothy Austin (Drew University); Prof Sallie B King (James Madison University); Prof Terry Muck (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary); Prof John Keenan (Middlebury College, VT); Prof Harry Wells (Humboldt State University); Prof John W Cobb (Claremont School of Theology, CA); Dr Marvin Sussman (U of Delaware); Dr M Radh M Achuthan (Action Institute for Human Resource Development, New Delhi)
Legal Assistance: David Gart (Shutts & Bowen, FL, USA)
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Friends of Tibet is a people's movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China's occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for independence. Friends of Tibet is also one of the principal organisers of World Tibet Day around the world.
Digital Support: Design & People, India + Ibiblio Digital Library & Archive Project, University of North Carolina, USA