Bay Area Friends of Tibet Officers visit Dharamsala
By Giovanni Vassallo
April 8, 2003
Bay Area Friends of Tibetís Secretary, Mr. Giovanni Vassallo visited
Dharamsala from March 24, 2003 to March 29, 2003 after recommendations of
Tibetan Association of Northern California President Chimmy Gonpo. The trip
from San Francisco coincided with a visit to Tibetan communities and family
in Nepal and India.
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His wife and Board Member, Tsering Dolma Vassallo and his three-year-old
son, Tenzin, accompanied him.
In Dharamsala, officials from the Department of Information and
International Relations (DIIR) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile warmly
received Mr. Vassallo. A program for Mr. Vassallo was prepared which
included meetings with Tibetan officials, and DIIR Secretary Thupten
Samphel, visits to the Parliament in session, to various Tibetan
Institutions, followed by an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The program included visits to the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Office of
the Reception Centres (for newly arriving Tibetan refugees), the Tibetan
Childrenís Village, the Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet (Ex-Political Prisonerí
s Association), the Tibetan Museum, the Tibetan Institute for Performing
Arts, ex-TYC President Lhasang Tsering, The Tibetan Freedom Movement, The
Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, and the Norbulingka Institute.
He also was honored to meet with Tenzin G. Tethong, Private Secretary to His
Holiness the Dalai Lama.
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Mr. Vassallo is absolutely delighted by the visit during which he gained a
first hand understanding of the Tibetan situation and the workings of its
democratic institutions in exile. "Actually seeing the faces and hearing the
stories of survival from the newly arriving Tibetan refugees certainly makes
you believe in Tibetan human rights work," he said. "I am happy to share
information to educate anyone interested about the many Tibetan and Tibetan
relief organizations in Dharamsala," he added.
About Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Founded in 1983, BAFoT is a non-sectarian, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3)
organization and is the West Coast's original Tibet support group. BAFoT
educates the public about Tibet and the Tibetan people; organizes grassroots
projects and events to benefit Tibetans locally and internationally. BAFoT
organizes events in cooperation with local Tibetan groups including the
Tibetan Association of Northern California, San Francisco Tibetan Youth
Congress, Dalai Lama Foundation, Tibet Justice Center, Tibetan Nuns Project,
Committee of 100 for Tibet, and Students for a Free Tibet.