Phayul[Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:21]
By Tenzin Tsering
Dharamsala, October 25: The Students for a Free Tibet India concluded a 5-day intensive training in strategic nonviolent action Sunday in the valleys of lower Dharamshala. More than 40 Tibetan and Indian students from Bangalore, Baroda, Delhi, Pune, Kathmandu, Dehradun, Mundgod, and Dharamsala participated in SFT’s flagship leadership training program.
Representatives of Tibetan Women’s Association, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, National Democratic Party of Tibet, and GuChuSum also participated in the training.
“The motivation behind this Action Camp is to train young Tibetans and Tibet supporters on bringing methods of nonviolent activism in the freedom struggle of Tibet” said Tenzin Choedon, the new National Director of SFT India.
Our goal is to produce young Tibetans who are articulate, strategic thinkers and are efficient event organisers in future activism, added Choedon.
“Through this training, we have empowered student activists across India and expanded their understanding of the power of nonviolent action to bring about real change in Tibet,” said Choedon.
“SFT India’s vision is to build our network of Tibetan youth leaders so that we have hundreds of strategic organizers, articulate spokespeople, and effective advocates here in India and around the world. We believe this is how we can truly challenge China’s rule in Tibet.”
Aside from the workshops, presentations were given by guest speakers including Tibetan uprising hero Tsewang Dhondup; Gandhian scholar Rajiv Vohra; professor Kondapalli of Jawaharlal Nehru University; and Rangzen activist Gen Lhasang Tsering.
“This is my second time attending SFT’s leadership training and I look forward to sharing the skills I learned with my fellow Tibetan activists, and in turn strengthening our movement for freedom,” said Sonam Tenzin, a participant from South India and founder of the SFT chapter at Ganden Monastery.
SFT’s signature leadership training program, Free Tibet! Action Camp has been attended by hundreds of young Tibetans and supporters in countries around the world, including the United States, India, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The trainings focus on the theory and practice of nonviolent direct action, media campaigning, video activism, grassroots organizing, and strategic planning.
Free Tibet! Action Camp also provides participants an opportunity to try rope climbing and blockades, some of the same skills used in SFT’s signature banner hanging actions designed to highlight China’s illegal occupation of Tibet and to help press for change on the ground in TibetThe five day long Action Camp included an intensive program on philosophy of non violence in the Tibetan movement, presentations, workshops, political theatre, media advocacy, event management, technology and activism among others.
“The last five days at the Camp have been one of the most fulfilling and enriching experience for me as a Tibetan and as a student. I will share the knowledge I gained here with other Tibetan students “ said a college student participant from Pune.
“I thank the professionals, many of whom are non Tibetans, and taught us so much in the past few days. I am more inspired now to work for the Tibetan movement,” said another participant.