Representatives of seven German-speaking Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) met from January 10-12 in the Bavarian capital of Munich, South Germany. This was the first time German-speaking TSGs have met in nearly 10 years. They met twice in the early 90s, first in Switzerland and then in Germany.
The meeting came at the initiative of Gesellschaft f?r Schweizerisch-Tibetische Freundschaft (GSTF) and Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V. (TID). The Tibet Initiative M?nchen e.V. (TIM) handled the logistical arrangements.
19 delegates from TIM (TSG Munich: www.tibet-munich.de), Tibet Forum (German language magazine published by the Association of Tibetans in Germany (www.tibet-forum.de), the newly-founded International Campaign for Tibet Deutschland e.V. (ICT Germany), TID (TSG Germany, www.tibet-initiative.de), Save Tibet (TSG Austria, www.logic.at/tibet ), Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (VTJE in Switzerland: www.tibetanyouth.org) and GSTF (TSG Switzerland) met together from Friday evening through Sunday noon.
A representative of the Office of Tibet in Geneva, which looks after the Tibetan affairs in the German speaking countries in Europe, was also present. The presence of Ngawang Choephel from the Office of Tibet proved valuable, as he was able to answer many questions on the spot.
The agenda consisted of planning for the forthcoming 4th International TSG Conference in autumn, ongoing campaigns and future plans in the German-speaking countries.
GSTF introduced 3 of their major projects: Games of Beijing campaign (www.games-of-beijing.org), economic campaign, petition on freedom and self-determination while TID did the same on their flag campaign, Free Me Campaign and Boycott Made in China.
One unfortunate piece of news received over the weekend was the death of Geshe Thubten Ngawang of Tibetisches Zentrum Hamburg who passed away on Saturday. ‘Hamburg-Geshe-La’, as he was affectionately called in Germany and elsewhere, not only established a successful Buddhist Centre (www.tibet.de), but had also been an active part of the world-wide TSG movement, especially in German speaking countries.
As a token of their appreciation for his untiring contribution to the TSG movement, the delegates sent a condolence telegram an interrupted the meeting for a minute of silence.
The attending delegates all agreed that the gathering was fruitful as discussion was focused on concrete campaigns. All expressed their wish that such meetings should be held annually in the future. The delegates hope that other TSGs from Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and South Tyrol will also attend in the future.
This note written on behalf of the participating organizations by:
Tsewang Norbu, Member of the Executive Board (Responsible for Contact with other TSGs), Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V.