May 11, 2013: Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay completed a successful visit to Washington DC. This was his third official visit to the American capital since assuming the Tibetan political leadership. The Sikyong was in Washington from May 6 to 10 and was accompanied by Special Advisor Kaydor Aukatsang and Ngawang Yonten from the Office of Tibet in New York
The Sikyong was received at the airport by members of the Capital Area Tibetan Association. The visit got off to an auspicious start with the Sikyong paying his respects to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 6 who was in the neighboring state of Maryland on May 6 and 7. During the weeklong visit, the Sikyong was able to reach out to new and important audiences for Tibet, and actively promote his agenda. Visit highlights included:
Senator Ben Cardin, a democrat from Maryland, and Chairman of the East Asian & Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, hosted a working coffee for the Sikyong on behalf of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 7. Senator Tim Kain, a democrat from Virginia, was also present. The two Senators and the Sikyong met for over an hour and discussed a range of issues related to Tibet. Another important meeting in the Senate was with Senator McCain who warmly received the Sikyong and reiterated his support. There were also important meetings with key aides of Senators Leahy and Feinstein and senior staff at the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In the House of Representatives, the Sikyong met with Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressmen Jim McGovern and George Miller. He, also, had a lunch meeting with 35 Congressional staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives. This meeting was organized by the American Enterprise Institute. The staffers were able to ask questions and the Sikyong made a case for why Tibet is important and requested for support from the Congress.
Think Tank and NGO Community
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) hosted “A Conversation with Sikyong Lobsang Sangay”on May 8th. Professor Jerome Cohen, a Senior Fellow at CFR, introduced the Sikyong and presided overthe evening. Speaking to a standing room only audience, the Sikyong spoke on his election,responsibilities, devolution of political power from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetan democracy and most importantly the current critical situation inside Tibet. Professor Cohen and the audience asked numerous questions. The audience was comprised of people in the government (both American and foreign), think tanks, media, universities, private and the NGO sectors. A complete video of the event is available at:
The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a non-profit, non-partisan organization, that has promotion of human rights of those oppressed by their governments as one of its objectives, hosted a private dinner for the Sikyong on May 6. The event brought together a select and high-level group of human rights and foreign policy experts in DC.
The Sikyong also met with representatives of various human rights organizations at the office of the International Campaign for Tibet on May 8. Leaders from Amnesty International,Reporters without Border, Project 2049 and Freedom House attended the meeting. The Sikyong earlier met with leaders of Human Rights Watch in a separate meeting.
The Sikyong met with the senior leadership of the National Endowment for Democracy on May 10th.
The Hill, a widely read publication in DC, published an Op-Ed by the Sikyong on May 6.https://www.facebook.com/notes/sikyong-lobsang-sangay/report-on-sikyongs-first-two-days-in-washington-dc-may-67-2013/305278486270877http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/guest-commentary/297903-tibetan-leader-lobsang-sangay-congress-needs-to-hold-china-to-account-on-tibet
C-SPAN, aprivate, non-profit American cable television network, did a live 40-minuteinterview and call-in show on May 10 as part of their C-SPAN Washington Journal program. Here’s a link:
Josh Rogin,a well-known foreign policy journalist in Washington, DC interviewed the Sikyong for an upcoming article in Newsweek.
The Sikyong also spoke with Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute and he will be writing a piece on Tibet in his column on the Wall Street Journal.
The Sikyong did a live interview with VOA Mandarin service on May 8. He did a recorded interview for VOA Tibetan Service on May 10, which will appear on Kunleng on May 15th. He also did a recording for VOA Mandarin Service’s History’s Mysteries show
In addition to the US Congress, think tanks and media, the Sikyong and his delegation also had meetings with officials in the current President Obama administration.
Lastly, over a hundred Tibetans came together the evening of May 9 to meet the Sikyong and hear him provide an update on the work of the Kashag, and the purpose and accomplishments of his third visit to Washington, DC.
The Sikyong left for India via a stopover in Europe on May 10.