Most Tibetan refugees who immigrate to America from India or Nepal see themselves as not only going to make a new life for themselves in the land of opportunity, but also going to help bring awareness to the plight of their homeland. In fact when government organized groups of immigrants go to receive audiences with the Dalai lama, he often tells them that they should think of themselves as ambassadors for Tibet in their new country.
That’s why Thepo Tulku, a Tibetan American man living in Santa Barbara, California, felt that he had finally succeeded in his responsibilities as an immigrant when he was able to come to Washington DC last week and introduce Mr. Salud Carbajal, his district congressman, to the Dalai Lama’s representative to North America and to the President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an advocacy group headquartered in Washington DC.
During the meeting which took place January 19, congressman Carbajal expressed his support and concern for the human rights situation inside Tibet, after being briefed on the situation in Tibet by representative Penpa Tsering, and the president and vice president of ICT, Matteo Mecacci and Bhuchung Tsering. The congressman was informed of the worsening human rights condition inside Tibet which had resulted in over 140 people carrying out self-immolation protests since 2009, and the ongoing demolition Larung Gar, the largest Buddhist studies institute in the world.
Thepo Tulku tells VOA that he had been in touch with congressman Carbajal for several years during which he often brought various Tibet related issues to his attention. So naturally when Carbajal was recently elected as the representative of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County, Thepo Tulku wrote to the congressman, asking that he meet with the Dalai Lama's representative and ICT, and the congressman agreed.
Soon after the meeting took place and Thepo Tulku’s mission to connect his US congressman with people working for Tibet was accomplished, he returned to his normal life in California, happy that he had succeeded in his unofficial role as an ambassador for Tibet.