Office of Tibet, Washington DC, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Mr. Penpa Tsering bade farewell to Dr. Sarah Sewall who currently serves as the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the U.S. State Department. She concurrently serves as the Special Coordinator for Tibet issue. Dr. Sarah Sewall is a longtime expert on civilian security and human rights and was sworn in as the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on February 20, 2014.
Farewell meeting held on January 11, 2017 Wednesday at 4:00 pm at Under Secretary Sewall’s office in the State Department was attended by the President of International Campaign for Tibet, Matteo Mecacci with Vice President Buchung Tsering and Associate Director for Chinese Engagement & Tibetan Empowerment Programs, Ms. Tencho Gyatso. Mr. Namkha Tenzin, the President and Ms. Pema Tulotsang, Executive Member of the Capital Area Tibetan Association also attended the meeting. Mr. Kunga Tashi, Chinese Liaison Officer and Mr. Tenzin Ignyen, Special Assistant to the Representative attended the meeting coordinated by Mr. Todd Stein from the office of the Under Secretary on the request of Office of Tibet.
All the attendees offered traditional Tibetan scarfs to the out going Under Secretary and expressed their gratitude for her steadfast support for the Tibet. The Under Secretary Sarah Sewall on several occasions met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and also visited Dharamsala, seat of the Central Tibetan Administration. She has also initiated events like celebration of Tibetan New Year (Losar) in the State Department in recognition to the Tibetan cultural values.
Representative Mr. Penpa Tsering offered traditional Buddha Shakyamuni Thangka to the Under Secretary as a token of appreciation and also presented her with the farewell message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He extended his deepest thanks to her on behalf of all the Tibetan inside Tibet and in Exile. Mr. Penpa Tsering also expressed his hope to continue to keep in contact with the Under Secretary after she leaves office on January 20, 2017 to seek advice and guidance.
Under Secretary Sarah Sewall at the meeting expressed her deep appreciation for the gesture and acknowledge the spearheading work that her staff Mr. Todd Stein has carried in pursuance of Tibet issue in the office. In her remarks she assured that Tibetans would continue to have their voice and symbol within the United States government and the State Department. She also said that the extraordinary Tibetan community with their perseverance and resilience has been real source of inspiration. She said, “given the gravity of the issues, particularly situation on the Tibetan plateau, I think lesser we are of successes, more we are of unable to do and I appreciate the gratitude that I think all of us who work with you, we all know how much there is for us to do and how little is in our control and that is the source of frustration, and again we have His Holiness the Dalai Lama to help us keep things in perspective and stay focused”.
She also said, “ the Tibetan community is an extraordinary community and I would not wish upon rest of the world perseverance and resilience that you have shown because its only hardship you have to show perseverance and resilience, nonetheless it is real source of inspiration and I believe we will be seeing in the near future significant changes and challenges”
Under Secretary Sarah Sewall also deeply applauded and expressed her respect for the Tibetan community for its cohesion of the community, communication within the community, leadership within the community, which go hand in hand with the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and assures that it will serve Tibetan very well as events unfold. She also added, “It is never true that you can do nothing, together you can do much. The strength of your community is that against all odds you have done much, I am confident that you will have strong partner here in the United States”.
The Representative Mr. Penpa Tsering once again extended his deep gratitude and group at the end of the meeting took a group picture for remembrance and bade Under Secretary warmest farewell and best wishes.