MENLO PARK, Calif. – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, spoke with Tsering Vassallo, President of the Bay Area Chinese and Tibetan Friendship (BACTF) group and other BACTF Steering Committee members on the morning of October 14, 2010.
Ms. Vassallo presented His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a welcome note and a report on the history of the Bay Area Chinese and Tibetan Friendship group. “Very good, very, very good,” His Holiness said. He was keen on the BACTF members to be present at the dialogue planned later that afternoon with Chinese students and scholars from Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and other institutions. “You’ll be there, right?” he questioned George Ge, the BACTF Secretary. BACTF was responsible to helping around fifty students and scholars and friends to join the later afternoon dialogue session with the Dalai Lama.
Ms. Vassallo expressed her happiness to receive His Holiness guidance and his inspiration towards human value and religious harmony and hopes continued dialogue brings fruitful insights that helps others and provides for their well being.
The seeds of BACTF were planted in 2003 when the Dalai Lama encouraged the Bay Area Friends of Tibet to work to bridge the gap in understanding between the Chinese and Tibetan people. Tsering Vassallo heard this message. Following the 2008 Beijing Olympics a dialogue friendship group began on the eve of His Holiness’s 2009 visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, at Vassallo’s home. By December 2009 the independent group decided on the mission of promoting a “better understanding and friendship between the ethnic Chinese and Tibetans through dialogue on cultural, religious, artistic, and human rights issues.”
On March 10, 2010 five Tibetans and five Chinese were elected to the steering committee for one year. Tsering Vassallo was elected president, George Ge elected Secretary and Amalie Sinclair elected Treasurer.
A BACTF general public meeting was held in Berkeley, CA in April 2010 and His Holiness’ Secretary, Chime R. Chhoekyapa informed us that the Dalai Lama hoped it was a “useful one in bringing the two communities closer to each other; to exchange ideas and building friendships. “The BACTF members were honored to receive this message and the Dalai Lama’s prayers and good wishes.
In addition to meetings, public, and private discussions, the Bay Area Chinese and Tibetan Friendship participated in the annual March 10 Tibetan National Uprising Day and the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre Anniversary commemorations in order to remember and dialogue on notable occasions of Chinese and Tibetan peoples sufferings and to explore how to make the future together a better one.
BACTF members also spent time outreaching to the public at community fairs such as the Himalayan Fair in Berkeley and the Silicon Valley Fall Festival in Cupertino, California, and to students at local universities such as UC Berkeley and Stanford University.
Later at the October 14th dialogue session, His Holiness placed the hope of the humans on this planet on the youth. Therefore “BACTF and others must help them,” Ms. Vassallo said in a message to members. “We especially look forward to exploring more how to better empower our friends from the younger generation and keep real hope and peace alive for a secure, happy future together.”
BACTF plans the next Chinese and Tibetan dialogue to be held at the 25th Annual Tibet Day at Ft. Mason, San Francisco on Dec 11, 2010. Look forward to more information about that event