87th birthday celebration of the Dalai Lama
Traditionally, hundreds of Tibetans in the Netherlands gather on July 6 to celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday. This time however, a large number of Tibet supporters and guests were invited to take part in this special celebration.Not only as spiritual leader of all Tibetans, but also a dedicated advocate for compassion, tolerance, nonviolence and the environment, the Dalai Lama unites not only Tibetans, but millions of people around the world. As a festive introduction to the evening there was a traditional yak and snowlion dance which immediately set the right tone for the rest of the evening.
As hostess, board member Palkyi opened the evening and welcomed the enthusiastic attendees to the colorful program. In his opening speech, Board Chairman Dawa Tsering emphasized that, true to the inspiring example of the Dalai Lama, the three core goals of the Tibetan community are: preserving the unique Tibetan language and culture, supporting Tibetans in Tibet, and building bridges between the rich Tibetan culture and Dutch society. The program continued with a prayer by Lama Choeying and Samten, followed by cultural dance performances by Tibetan children and adults in traditional Tibetan costume.
The famous flamenco guitarist Eric Vaarzon Morel and equally famous Traditional Tibetan singer Namgyal Lhamo performed as special guests. The unique combination of flamenco and traditional Tibetan music made the evening an exceptional high-level experience.In a video message recorded especially for the occasion, Erica Terpstra, a well-known Dutch personality and one of the most loyal Tibet supporters, conveyed her congratulations to the Dalai Lama. In her message, Erica addressed how the Dalai Lama, during an audience with her, stressed the importance of compassionate one another for a better world.Given his commitment to Tibetan culture, the Dalai Lama's birthday was of course the perfect opportunity to launch the Tibetan Community’s new campaign to establish a Tibetan cultural center in the Netherlands.
In a short introduction, hostess Palkyi highlighted the importance of this initiative and discussed how this center will become a place for cultural events, providing Tibetan language lessons for children and adults, helping Tibetan refugees in the Netherlands and supporting compatriots in Tibet. However, the center intends to be so much more than that. Following the vision of the Dalai Lama, the center will also form an important bridge between the Tibetan community and the wider Dutch society. In a specially recorded video message, Tibetans in the Netherlands expressed their deep conviction that a Tibetan cultural center will strengthen their Tibetan culture and identity within Dutch society. They also expressed the hope that the center can spread their beautiful culture to everyone who is interested in it.Tsering Jampa, former director of ICT Europe and chairman of the Tibet Support Group emphasized the importance of supporting this new initiative. Only a strong Tibetan community with a good foundation in Dutch society has the strength to keep our unique culture and traditions alive for future generations.No Tibetan celebration is complete without food and the guests were invited to join an abundant authentic Tibetan dinner during the informal part of the evening.
In good Dutch tradition, the party ended with a large birthday cake. The current director of ICT Europe, Wangpo Tethong, together with chairman of the board Dawa Tsering and coordinator Rosemarijn Dissen of TSG officially cut the cake and then divided it among the guests.The three organizers of the evening, the Tibetan Community, ICT Europe, and the TSG and all participants and guests can look back with satisfaction on a very successful birthday event for the Dalai Lama.
Please also view photos of the event and video messages from Erica Terpstra and members of the Tibetan community.