July 6: World Tibet Day
Birthday of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet
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, designed to help the Tibetan people regain essential freedoms. He also suggested this event could be a way to showcase and celebrate the unique value of Tibetan culture and thought. Enthusiastic about the idea, Tendzin Choegyal suggested WTD should be held in July, linked to his brother's birthday — in order to increase potential support among Tibetans. Believing that the proposed event held great promise, they offered the idea to His Holiness — who gave them his blessing and his warm support.
World Tibet Day was created with three main goals: first to create an annual worldwide event to help restore essential freedoms for those living in Chinese-occupied Tibet; second to increase awareness of the genocidal threats to the Tibetan people; and third, to celebrate the unique beauty and value of Tibetan culture and thought. Founded in 1998, World Tibet Day has grown into one of the most important events on the Tibetan calendar. ◼
Making World Tibet Day Events
ONE of our major goals when we founded World Tibet Day was creating an event that would build much greater support and awareness for the Tibetan cause while at the same time celebrating Tibetan culture. And we wanted to make an occasion that would attract Tibetans, Tibet supporters and the general public — thereby hopefully widening the base of the Tibet movement.
One way we did that was by linking WTD events with observances honoring the birthday of the Dalai Lama. And with the approval and support of His Holiness, we've been holding WTD events on or near the same day that Tibetan communities are honoring the Dalai Lama's birthday. In most cases, Tibetan communities hold private religious services in the morning, and then in the afternoon, they hold their traditional picnic while observing WTD at the same time.
We deliberately constructed World Tibet Day as a multi-faceted event — one that appeals to the public in a variety of ways. And for those of you who want to help organise a WTD observance in your area, there are some fairly easy steps to follow. First you need to contact the closest Tibetan Association that is putting on a WTD observance and offer your help. Secondly, you need to choose one of the many facets of WTD events that appeal to you — including the following:
Raising Awareness Through the Media
1) Writing media releases about World Tibet Day (WTD) and about the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and everything he represents as a Nobel Laureate and a spiritual leader
2) Using your own media releases or downloading and downloading Tibet reading materials from the World Tibet Day website and sending these releases to newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and wire services
3) Repeatedly telephoning reporters and assignment editors in advance of the event — both to publicise and promote World Tibet Day, while at the same time raising public awareness of Tibet-related issues.
Celebrating Tibetan Culture by Creating an Afternoon or Evening Festival During World Tibet Day
1) Contacting musicians, dancers and other artists to celebrate and showcase Tibetan culture
2) Helping to organise musical performances and artistic presentations as part of World Tibet Day — from Thangka painting, demonstrations of Tibetan calligraphy etc.
Organising Speeches and Presentations on the Issue of Tibet
1) Contacting informed celebrities and local politicians and inviting them to come to the event to speak about general issues of human rights and religious freedom and in particular about Tibet issues
2) Helping to organise showings of a Tibetan film or even a small Tibet film festival
3) Helping to set up an exhibition of Tibet photos or thangkas
4) Helping to organise a slide show and lecture about Tibet.
Setting up World Tibet Day Information Tables
1) Contacting Tibet Support Groups and Human Rights Groups and inviting them to set up information tables at the event.
2) Showing films about His Holiness as part of World Tibet Day celebrations honouring his birthday
3) Talking about His Holiness Dalai Lama's life and emphasising everything the Dalai Lama represents and symbolises as a spiritual leader, as the exiled leader of Tibet working tirelessly for his people, and as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Interfaith Outreach for Tibet
Contacting religious and spiritual leaders, giving them Tibet materials and Interfaith Call for Tibet and encouraging them to hold interfaith services linked with World Tibet Day advocating a restoration of religious freedom and human rights in Tibet. ◼
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. ◼
How You Can Help!
THERE are a number of events and campaigns, all intended to help the cause of Tibet, each deserving our support. And the more of us who stand up, in as many effective ways as possible, supporting basic freedoms for the Tibetan people, the harder it will be for the Chinese authorities to pretend the world doesn't care about Tibet.
With World Tibet Day (WTD), we urgently need any help you can give. At a minimum, you can simply show up at the closest World Tibet Day celebration near you, and volunteer with set-up, clean up, running a booth. Something much more useful would be your working with a Tibet Association or a Tibet Support Group near you, helping to organize and put on a World Tibet Day celebration July 6, the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Contacting the media would be an enormous contribution by taking advantage of WTD to increase awareness of Tibet issues. You can also help promote the event by helping members of the Tibetan Association to contact artists and performers, thereby attracting more people to the event while also celebrating Tibetan culture. In general, you would contribute greatly by making the WTD event as big as possible, thereby hopefully widening the base of support for the Tibetan cause.
We need your support to make things happen! Be an organisation or an individual, you can join World Tibet Day campaign to spread awareness about the Tibet cause and to stand up in solidarity. To officially support the World Tibet Day Foundation or to receive additional information, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Sethu Das, Director of the World Tibet Day Foundation at: email@example.com
A Host of Prominent Figures Have Enthusiastically Lent Their Support to World Tibet Day
(From the list maintained by the late Richard Rosenkranz (1942-2014), Founder of World Tibet Day Foundation since 1998)
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)
Friends of Tibet, PO Box 16674, Mumbai 400050, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.friendsoftibet.org
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