Brussels, 05 February 2022: On the invitation of Mr Jean-Louis Halioua, Mayor of Salles-sur-Garonne, a municipality in southwestern France, EU Advocacy Officer, Ms Rigzin Genkhang participated in a videoconference to discuss the possibilities of reviving and expanding the existing “Town Adoption Campaign” to other parts of Europe and the world.
The “Town Adoption Campaign” initiated by Mr Halioua in collaboration with France-Tibet, a French Tibet Support Group, and supported by 189 French MPs and 67 French Senators, all members of the “Tibet Study Group”, consists of European communes adopting Tibetan towns and villages in a similar spirit to the town-twinning projects. The campaign aims to garner grassroots support for the preservation of Tibetan identity and culture and to bring international focus and attention to the actual situation in Tibet.
In 2010, Salles-sur-Garonne became the first French commune to adopt the Tibetan village of Lhatse.
Since the launch of the campaign in 2010, over 76 European communes, mostly from France, have adopted an equal number of Tibetan towns and villages. The communes participating in the campaign are required to formalize their participation in the campaign by installing a plaque either at the entrance and exits of the communes or at a significant landmark of the communes. At the inaugural ceremony, the communes invite Tibetans native of the town or village they adopt, other Tibetan representatives, local elected officials, and representatives of local Tibet Support Groups and organize Tibet related events.
During the videoconference, Mr Halioua presented the campaign in detail and shared the related documents with the participants.
Ms Genkhang welcomed Mr Halioua’s initiative to revive and expand the campaign at a time when the Chinese government is doing everything possible to destroy the Tibetan identity and culture. “Beyond its symbolism, such an initiative will represent a gesture of support and concern for Tibet and its people”, continued Ms Genkhang.
She also shared with the participants that in order to document this support, the Office of Tibet, Brussels, would publish a pictorial book on the town adoption campaign shortly. She also reported that the Bureau du Tibet, Brussels, sends out hundreds of Tibetan flags to the municipalities participating in a similar campaign called “A flag for Tibet” every year before 10th March. The participants in this campaign hoists the Tibetan flag on a significant landmark of their communes either on 10th March or permanently.
Mr Orgyenbubpa, Vice-President of Lhakar-France thanked Mr Halioua for continuing the campaign, Vajra-Yogini center for their close collaboration with the campaign from its inception and the Bureau du Tibet, Brussels, for closely following the campaign and for documenting the work.
President of the Tibetan Community France, Mr Karma Thinley also thanked Mr Halioua and committed himself to the campaign.
Geshe Loden la from Vajra Yogini Institute expressed his gratitude to Mr Halioua for his untiring work for Tibet and urged all the participants to support him with the campaign work. He also committed his institute’s commitment to the campaign.
Ms Yangkey Muccini, Secretary of the Tibetan Community in France, Mr François Lecointre, former Director of Institute Vajra Yogini and Chief Operating Officer of FPMT (The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) also participated in the videoconference.