Bogotá: Sikyong Penpa Tsering concluded his two-day official visit to Bogotá, Colombia on Saturday, marking a series of impactful engagements with think tanks, the prestigious National University of Colombia, religious heads representing an array of diverse traditions, as well as engaging with members of civil society, deepening the discourse around Tibet and the Sino-Tibet conflict here at the heart of Latin America.
On 5 October, Sikyong Penpa Tsering engaged in dialogue with renowned Colombian think tanks, such as the Foundation Ideas for Peace, Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, and Global Nation. The conversations delved into the human rights situation in Tibet, its implications, and the preservation of Tibetan cultural identity.
Accompanied by Representative Jigme Tsering from the Office of Tibet-Brasil, Sikyong Penpa Tsering also interacted with members of civil society. At the talk titled ‘Encounter of Voices of Tibet’, Sikyong Penpa Tsering spoke about the unwavering determination and aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet whose unrelenting spirit serves as a lifeline for the Tibetan struggle in exile.
In another significant engagement, Sikyong held an inter-religious dialogue with 26 religious leaders representing eight diverse religious groups across Colombia. During the meeting held Friday, joined also by representatives from the Interior Ministry of the Colombian government and the District Religious Freedom Office, Bogotá, Sikyong expounded on the timeless wisdom encapsulated in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings of religious harmony, emphasising their pivotal role in fostering peace in these turbulent times.
The dialogue underscored the urgent need for global solidarity and support for repressed peoples of various faiths in China, including Tibetan Buddhists, and Uyghurs and Southern Mongolia.
Further enriching the discourse on Tibet in the Colombian academic landscape, Sikyong Penpa Tsering shared his profound insights during a session on “Exiles and Displacements: Interdisciplinary Reflections” at the National University of Colombia, deepening the understanding of the Central Tibetan Administration and the democratisation of the system of exile Tibetan polity, a legacy bestowed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Amidst his visit, Sikyong also engaged with prominent Colombian media outlets, including Caracol Radio La W and El Spectador, in addition to participating in a Q&A session with Santiago Aviles of the Bio-ethics department at El Basque University on the vital role of the Tibetan plateau in ensuring water security in Asia and mitigating the rapid pace of climate change.
On Friday, the final day of his visit, Sikyong Penp Tsering was honoured with a reception hosted by the Yamantaka Centre. The following morning on 7 October, Sikyong flew to Mexico City, Mexico to embark on the third and final leg of his tour in Latin America.
The first formal visit by Sikyong Penpa Tsering to Bogota, Colombia was facilitated by the Tibet support group Amigos del Tíbet – Colombia led by its President Claudia Bonitto and the Yamantaka Centre.