ICT Chairman Richard Gere visits Washington, D.C. to engage Members of Congress on Tibet; Attends observation of the Dalai Lama’s birthday on Capitol Hill

ICT Board Chairman Richard Gere recognizes the Representatives for their work on Tibet, including Reps. McGovern, McCollum, Jayapal, Beatty, Lee, Slaughter, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council Keith Harper.

International Campaign for Tibet Board Chairman Richard Gere came down to Washington, D.C. earlier this week for the third time this year to continue and deepen ICT’s engagement with Members of Congress on initiatives for Tibet, as well as to participate in a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday on Capitol Hill.

During this visit, which took place on June 27 and 28, 2017, Gere took the opportunity to brief the Members on the situation in Tibet, on the vision and efforts of the Dalai Lama to solve the Tibetan issue, and on the importance of continued United States support to the Tibetan people.

More specifically, three issues where raised during the meetings:

  1. Drawing attention to the need to implement the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, which is the core legislation that guides US policy on Tibet. The Trump Administration is mandated under the Act to undertake a series of policy initiatives, including the appointment of a U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.
  2. Calling for support to the bipartisan and bicameral Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (reintroduced in the House as H.R.1872) and in the Senate (S.821). Symbolizing bipartisan support for the issue, the House version has Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL) as the lead sponsors while the Senate version has Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) as the leads. The Bills were introduced in the House and the Senate on April 4, 2017.
  3. Outlining how effective United States humanitarian and development assistance has been to the Tibetan people, both inside and outside of Tibet, and seeking continued assistance in the Congressional budgetary proposals.

Representative Penpa Tsering of the Office of Tibet and ICT President Matteo Mecacci (along with staffers from the two offices) accompanied Richard Gere in the meetings.

Dalai Lama’s birthday observed on Capitol Hill

On the evening of June 27, 2017, the Office of Tibet and the International Campaign for Tibet jointly held a reception celebrating the upcoming 82nd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the United States Congress with the support and cooperation of Members of Congress. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jim McGovern and Ambassador Keith Harper, former United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, addressed a gathering of more than 200 people, including members of Congress, congressional staffers, civil society representatives, members of the Tibetan American community in Washington, D.C. area as well as from Charlottesville and Philadelphia, and members of ICT. They paid glowing tributes to the Dalai Lama for his unflinching effort at making this world a better place to live in. They also expressed their commitment to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people. Richard Gere was commended for his contribution in putting the spotlight on the plight of the Tibetan people, notwithstanding many challenges. Gere, in his remarks, expressed his appreciation to the Members of Congress and their staff for supporting Tibet and to the staffs of ICT and the Office of Tibet.

ICT President Matteo Mecacci.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi gives remarks.

Penpa Tsering, Representative of the Dalai Lama, speaks.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen gives remarks.

Rep. Jim McGovern speaks about the Dalai Lama.

A musical performance from Karma Gyaltsen, a graduate of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamsala, India.

Rep. Sensenbrenner speaks in front of a backdrop of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

Rep. Slaughter and Richard Gere together at the podium.

Tenzin Tethong, first president of the International Campaign for Tibet, along with ICT Board Chairman Richard Gere and current President Matteo Mecacci.

ICT Board Chairman Richard Gere recognizes the Representatives for their work on Tibet, including Reps. McGovern, McCollum, Jayapal, Beatty, Lee, Slaughter, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The Honorable Keith Harper, former US Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, speaks.

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