In an initiative to help familiarize young Tibetan-Canadians with the workings of Parliament, the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet* coordinated an internship placement for Canadian students of Tibetan origin with various Parliamentarians. The six-week internship lasted from May 7th to June 15th, 2007.
Four Tibetan students from different parts of Canada were chosen for the program. Three interned on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, while one worked at a constituency office in Calgary. Hosting the interns were PFT members the Hon. Senator Consiglio Di Nino, the Hon. Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, Colleen Beaumier, MP, Brampton West, and Rob Anders, MP, Calgary West.
The interns not only helped their offices with their responsibilities, but were exposed to the Canadian Parliamentary/Government structure, giving them a better understanding of how government and parliament function. They learned from interaction between Members and their Constituents, and work done by Parliamentarians in their respective Chambers as well as in Committees. They also learned about the legislative process through research in the Library of Parliament and attendance at Committee meetings.
During the internship, the interns participated in special seminars and meetings to enhance their understanding of Canadian politics and the Tibetan situation. They met with a representative from Nunavut Tungavik Inc. to learn about the Nunavut Land Claims agreement as well as the economic, social and cultural aspects of the northern Nunavut territory which the interns found to be similar, in some ways, to that of the Tibet. They also met with the small Tibetan community in Ottawa, and took an informative guided tour of Parliament Hill.
The interns also attended sessions in the House of Commons and the Senate and listened to a presentation by former MP and long-time Tibet-supporter David Kilgour about human organ-harvesting in China. Several other highlights included a private lunch meeting with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deepak Obhrai, and media workshop by a journalist from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. They also met with Canada Tibet Committee founder Thupten Samdup, and attended a Parliamentary Friends of Tibet meeting.
Overall, the interns had an enriching six weeks and learned much about how Canada is governed. The Parliamentary Friends of Tibet hope to continue this program as a means of enhancing theses students’ skills, knowledge of Canada’s democratic institutions, and exposing them to a unique work environment.
A big thank you goes out to the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario (CTAO) and the Tibet Canada Women’s Foundation for generously helping to fund housing and travelling expenses for the interns during their stay in Ottawa.
This year’s participants:
· Dawa Bhuti Ghoso was born in Tibet, attended Upper TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) in Dharamsala, and continued her education in England and Canada, where she graduated from Glendon College, at York University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Furthermore, she graduated with a Masters in Asia Pacific Policy Studies at the University of British Columbia. Dawa has been an executive member of the Canada Tibet Committee and was also on the Board of Directors for Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) Canada. Dawa Bhuti worked in the Parliament office of Ontario Senator Consiglio Di Nino for the duration of her internship.
· Tenzin Kunsang Kabar was born in India and grew up in Nepal. She attended 2 years out of 3-year Honour’s Degree program in Bachelor of Commerce at St. Joseph‘s College in Darjeeling, India, and then moved to Calgary, Alberta – Canada in 1999 where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Law & Society and Communication & Culture at the University of Calgary. Tenzin has experience and an interest in immigration settlement and multiculturalism. She also takes great interest in human rights issues and in dispute resolution studies. Tenzin Kunsang interned in the office of Brampton West MP Colleen Beaumier on the Hill.
· Tenzin Khangsar was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He has just graduated from George Brown College where he earned an Advanced Diploma in Marketing, and was an active member of Students for a Free Tibet. Furthermore, Tenzin was the president of the Alberta Tibetan Youth Congress for two years and hopes to use his business background to work for a non-profit organization, as well as continue his work with Students for a Free Tibet and the Tibetan Community of Alberta. Tenzin Khangsar interned in the constituency office of Calgary West MP Rob Anders.
· Jigme Duntak was born and raised in Belleville, Ontario. He has just completed his second year of studies in the Bachelor of Arts program with Honours in History at the University of Ottawa, where he is actively involved with Students for a Free Tibet. Jigme was involved with the Belleville Tibetan dance group for most of his life, and enjoys playing basketball representing the Belleville Tibetan Youth Congress. He currently runs a blog called “Tibet Talk” where he posts discussions on various issues related to Tibet at http://tibettalk.blogspot.com. Jigme worked for the Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity.
*Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT) is a group of Parliamentarians whose mission is to represent the views of Canadians on the issue of Tibet within the Parliament of Canada and conduct research by various means (including through, but not limited to, fact-finding missions) and to publish reports on policy issues of relevance to the Tibetan people. PFT also encourages the Chinese government to respect the fundamental human rights in Tibet and China, encourages the Canadian government to broker negotiations on Tibet between representatives of the Dalai Lama and China, promotes His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s non-violent strategies for conflict resolution and peace building, and networks with Tibet-specific parliamentary associations in other countries, including the World Parliamentary Convention on Tibet.
Based on report by Tenzin Lobsang Wangkhang, Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (Parlementaires amis du Tibet du Canada). Tenzin Lobsang can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by: T.L.