Global Peace Initiative: TIBET

Tibet Training in Dharamsala for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Women’s Association

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Tibet Training in Dharamsala for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Women’s Association For many years Dr. Borris has been giving conflict resolution trainings to Tibetans in India. Dr. Borris continuing relationship with the Tibetan Government in Exile was one of IMTD’s first initiatives in 1992. Since then, Dr. Borris as Director of Training for IMTD has conducted annual training workshops with professionals from the Tibetan community on Conflict Resolution, Multi-Track Diplomacy, Mediation, and Forgiveness. She has trained participants from a variety of professional fields coming from Tibetan communities throughout India and the East Coast of the United States.

In August 2011, IMTD continued its rewarding work with the Tibetan refugee community and government in exile, conducting the training in Bangalore, India. This was a landmark event in the Tibet program, as it was the first training session conducted in South India, marking a new initiative to expand the reach of IMTD’s work to large Tibetan communities outside of Dharamasala. IMTD’s Director of Training Dr. Eileen Borris and Program Manager Mr. Kevin LaFleur conducted a week-long training course for twenty Tibetan professionals. These included teachers, official representatives of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders and monks, and members or staff of Tibetan civil society organizations.

The training is designed to be hands-on and highly interactive, utilizing activities such as group discussions, case studies, role plays, and simulations. Participants also watch and discuss documentaries on case studies of nonviolent resistance and forgiveness and reconciliation movements as sources of inspiration that can be adapted to the Tibetan Community context. Classes such as Mediation Collaboration, Problem Solving, and Dialogue highlight trust-building skills while in-depth discussion sessions challenge participants to look at how to apply Forgiveness and Reconciliation skills in their community as well as personal and professional lives.

Participant evaluations at the end of the course showed a strong and positive response to the training. Participants were eager to engage in discussions, work together, and to teach others in their communities back home about the information they gained. Dr. Borris and Mr. LaFleur feel that this particular training workshop was especially successful in identifying new needs of the Tibetan communities and in inspiring changed perspectives and continued long-term commitment to multi-track strategies of conflict resolution among participants.

Participants encouraged IMTD to expand the Tibet program and are eager for IMTD to return to South India for more training sessions in the future. After nearly 20 years of success in working with the Tibetan community, we are now exploring what an expanded Tibet program may look like in years to come.

2010 Training

Tibet Training in Dharamsala for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Women’s Association Dr. Eileen Borris, Director of training for The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) along with Ambassador John McDonald conducted training for the Tibetan Youth from the Washington DC and Northern Virginia area in Arlington on November 13, 2010. The training was held with undergraduate and graduate students from George Mason University, Richmond University and American University. Ambassador John McDonald spoke about the concepts of IMTD, how a systems approach for peacebuilding can be implemented in a particular context and how such trainings are the stepping stones towards creating a better understanding and relationship between Tibetans and Chinese youth. The Ambassador also shared his valuable experiences meeting along with Dr. Borris His Holiness the 14tth Dalai Lama and the training workshops developed by Dr. Borris with the Tibetan Government-in-exile and Tibetan NGOs in Dharamsala.. Training Director, Dr. Eileen Borris was the principle trainer and Program Officer, Ms. Tsering Yangzom coordinated the logistics and the development of the training materials.

The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) continued its work with the Tibetan community and government in-exile from May 31st until June 5th 2010.Tibet Training in Dharamsala for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Women’s Association IMTD’s Director for Training, Dr. Eileen Borris and then Tibetan Program Officer Ms. Linda Noble, implemented a week-long training course on Conflict Resolution and Multi-Track Diplomacy for twenty one Tibetan professionals.

Initially IMTD had worked exclusively with the Tibetan Government in Exile, however with an increasing interest and demand for conflict resolution skills from within in the Tibetan community, IMTD decided to extend invitation to attend the training to professionals within the Tibetan community. By partnering the training with The Tibetan Centre for Conflict Resolution (TCCR) people from all levels of society are now able to have access to learn conflict resolution skills. TCCR is also able to provide participants with local support system and follow up day courses in Tibetan which helps maintain participant’s motivation and interest while strengthening IMTD’s annual five day training.

The week-long course highlighted building skills in Mediation Collaboration, Problem Solving and Dialogue while also creating space for in depth discussion sessions on how to approach and work with Forgiveness and Reconciliation both personally, professionally and within the community. The training was designed for participants to have hand on experience and be highly interactive with activities such as group discussions, role plays and simulations. Documentaries were also shown not only as examples of the material but also as sources of inspiration and examples which could be adapted to the context of the Tibetan Community.

tibet-142 (1)Tibet Training in Dharamsala for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Women’s Association The participant’s consisted of seven women and fourteen men; their professions ranged from teachers and school guidance counselor to political activist, members of women’s groups, government workers, NGO staff and one person who worked with the rehabilitation of ex-political prisoners. The participants not only came from the Dharamsala area but also traveled to the training form Darjeeling, South India and various districts in the Himachal Pradesh region. Participants had a strong interest in attending the training so they could learn and use conflict resolution skills in their professional lives. In particular, teachers were interested in practicing with and teaching conflict resolution to their students. Participants were also very interested to learn how they could build solid bridges with the Indian community as well as manage and resolve conflict more effectively when it arose.

Tibet Training in Dharamsala for the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Women’s Association Evaluations of the course completed by the participants at the end of the training showed they not only enjoyed the training and learned a lot, but had their perceptions and assumption on conflict resolution changed. Participants were eager to discuss, work together and saw great value in helping each other learn. The training was inspiring with many vowing to begin conflict resolution awareness and training in their schools and workplaces. IMTD’s Director of Training Dr. Eileen Borris along with all the participants felt that the training was very successful. Participants also voice great interest in attending other trainings given by Dr. Borris and IMTD.

June 2009

From 8 June 8 through June 12, 2009, Dr. Eileen Borris and Program Officer Dhirendra Nalbo from the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy carried out a training course in Conflict Resolution and Multi-Track Diplomacy for 23 young Tibetan professionals. This was Dor. Borris’s 5th training with the Tibetan government.

Dr. Borris’s work with the Tibetans has been instrumental and effective not only to the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE) but also to various non-governmental and socio-politically active organizations operating in Dharamsala, India. In this training, for the first time, monks attended from different Monasteries who wanted to establish a linkage between conflict resolution and Buddhist religion in their work. Other politically and socially active organizations i.e. National Democratic Party of Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress, Institute for Buddhist Dialects, and Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies also sent their representatives to participate in the training.

A week-long training course covered skills in Peacebuilding, Multi-Track Diplomacy, Facilitation and Dialogue, Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Multi-Track World, and Reconciliation. The training was highly interactive and throughout the session all participants actively involved in group discussions and various simulations.

At the end of the training session, participants were asked to express their thoughts and experience on the training. Most of them said that this was both the most interesting and most useful training course that they have ever attended. They expressed their deep gratitude to Dr. Borris and her team and requested in further training, particularly on Negotiation and Mediation.

June 2008

From June 23 through June 27, 2008, Dr. Eileen Borris, Ambassador John McDonald, and Program Officer Elizabeth Murray carried out a five-day training course in Conflict Resolution and Diplomacy for 22 young Tibetan professionals. The course was held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Fifteen of the course participants were civil servants employed by the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India, and seven of the course participants were representatives from local non-governmental organizations.

In total, nine departments of the Central Tibetan Administration were represented in the course: the Department of Religion and Culture, the Department of Security, the Department of Finance, the Department of Health, the Planning Commission, the Department of Education, the Department of Information and International Relations, the Supreme Justice Commission, and the Department of Home. Four Tibetan non-governmental organizations were represented in the course, including the Active Non-Violence Education Centre, the Tibetan Women’s Association, the Tibetan Centre for Conflict Resolution, and the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

The participants’ ages ranged from 22 to 42 years old, and the average age was approximately 29. Five of the participants were born in Tibet and fled into exile as children, and the remainder were born and raised in exile in Tibetan settlements in India. More than 80% of the participants had completed at least the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree, and one had completed a Master’s Degree. Twelve men and ten women participated in the course.

Dr. Eileen Borris was the principal trainer, and Ambassador McDonald trained for approximately two hours per day. Elizabeth Murray coordinated the logistics of the trip and the development of the training materials.

Topics covered in the course included Basic Skills in Conflict Resolution, Conflict Analysis, Communication Skills, Fundamentals of Facilitation and Dialogue, Mediation, and Negotiation. All of the sessions were highly interactive and participants had the opportunity participate in group discussions and several simulation activities.

The course was extremely well received by all of the participants, who expressed their heartfelt thanks to the IMTD team and also asked that a more in-depth course be offered in the future. Many of the course participants said that this was both the most interesting and most useful training course that they have attended to date. During the closing session, every participant was able to articulate ways that they would use what they learned in the course in both their professional and their personal lives. Furthermore, the participants indicated that the five-day course would be greatly useful to many of the approximately 400 more civil servants who are employed by the Tibetan Government.

Following the completion of the five-day workshop with the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Borris held a one-day workshop with 23 representatives from the Tibetan Women’s Association. The group was comprised of 17 Tibetan women and 6 foreign women, hailing from the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and the United States.

Approximately six of the group members work in the Tibetan Women’s Association’s office and another six serve as elected officers of the Association. Five members of the group work as “mothers” who care for groups of Tibetan orphans in Dharamsala, and the remaining six were completing internships with the Association. IMTD corresponded with the Tibetan Women’s Association prior to the workshop in order to determine the group’s training needs, and the two themes that the Association requested were Leadership and Trauma Healing.

The morning session of the workshop was dedicated to the theme of Leadership. Dr. Borris first opened with a general discussion of leadership and then broke the participants into smaller groups and instructed them to read a parable about leadership, answer some questions, and present their ideas to the larger group. This stimulated a lively group discussion about leadership during which many of the participants shared instances where they exhibited strong leadership skills.

After lunch, Ambassador McDonald provided the group with a brief explanation of the concept of multi-track diplomacy as well as several anecdotes about IMTD’s work. Dr. Borris then gave a presentation on Trauma and Trauma Healing and answered both general questions about the concept and specific questions relating to traumatized Tibetan refugees. The group then watched the documentary As We Forgive, which presents the story of several Rwandan families who healed from the trauma that they experienced. Afterwards, Dr. Borris led a discussion about the video, and Ambassador McDonald and Dr. Borris closed the session by presenting certificates of participation to the group.

The training was very much appreciated by the group, who were very interested in learning about Trauma Healing. They asked that the IMTD team return to Dharamsala in the future to continue the training.