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Students for a Free Tibet .......................................

Transforming our world through nonviolent action Students for a Free Tibet 602 East 14th Street New York, NY 10009 Tel: +1 212-358-0071 Email: info@studentsforafreetibet.org Web: www.studentsforafreetibet.org Facebook: StudentsforaFreeTibet Twitter: SFTHQ

2011 Annual Report .................................................................................... INTRODUCTION / SUMMARY

As SFT works to mobilize Tibetans and supporters in an emergency response to the unprecedented wave of self-immolations in eastern Tibet, we continue to be inspired by the homegrown resistance movement that has spread widely across Tibet this past year. Tibetans are boldly asserting their cultural identity to resist Chinese rule, and SFT is doing everything we can to amplify their voices and maximize the impact of their actions. This year, we held trainings on three continents to cultivate the next generation of movement leaders, invested in the growth of our national networks, and continued to challenge Chinese rule in Tibet at every strategic opportunity on the global stage. The Tibet Action Institute, our most

exciting new project, has doubled its budget and capacity in the first two years of operation, and launched the Lhakar Academy - Tibetan School for Leadership and Change. The following action and program highlights were only made possible by the unwavering commitment and generosity of our supporters worldwide, without whom we could not have accomplished our objectives. Your support makes our work possible; your encouragement drives SFT to take hard-hitting actions for Tibetan freedom. We hope you will continue to support our efforts at this critical time for Tibet.

CAMPAIGNS & PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

....................................... Daring banner hang at G20 Meeting in France

....................................... ....................................... Postcard to promote Tibetan nomads’ rights campaign

Enough! Global Intervention Now to Save Tibetan Lives: SFT, in collaboration with the International Tibet Network, launched the Enough! Campaign to demand global multilateral diplomatic action in response to the spiraling crisis in eastern Tibet, where 12 young monks and nuns have lit themselves on fire in an unprecedented wave of protests against China’s repressive policies. On StandUpForTibet.org, more than 30,000 people ­­— including Nobel Laureates, celebrities, musicians, and politicians — have pledged support for Tibet. On November 2nd the Tibetan Freedom Movement united in the largest global day of action since the 2008 Beijing Olympics protests. 100 creative actions carried out in over 65 cities around the world. On the eve of the G20 Summit in Cannes, France, members of SFT and Tibetan Youth Association in Europe rappelled off the Cannes train station, unfurling protest banners and Tibetan flags to demand G20 leaders pressure China to stop the crackdown in Tibet. A week later, US Secretary of State Clinton called on China to reform its policies in Tibet. In late

November, SFT released breaking footage of nun Palden Choetso’s self-immolation to the international media, and the story was covered by the world’s leading news channels. Nomad Rights Campaign Launch: For millennia, Tibetan nomads have lived sustainably on the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau. Since 2000, the Chinese government has quietly pursued a sinister plan to force all 2.25 million nomads off their land and into reservation-style, concrete housing blocks. Resettlement is a death sentence for Tibet’s nomadic communities. In September, SFT launched the Nomad Rights campaign to raise the global alarm and to demand an end to China’s forced resettlement. We organized a week of protests during the UN General Assembly, and launched www.NomadRights.org, along with an educational video on the plight of Tibetan nomads that has been viewed over 8,000 times. Continued...


CAMPAIGNS & PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS (cont.) ....................................... SFT exposes skeletons in Hu’s closet

....................................... “Speak in your mother tongue, for language is the lifeline of the nation.”

....................................... 3rd Annual Tibet Lobby Day in Washington, DC

Protesting Hu Jintao’s First State Visit to Washington, DC: In January 2011, three days of creative, non-stop protests by SFT and other US-based Tibetan organizations were widely covered by domestic and international media during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s first official state visit to Washington, DC. SFT’s Executive Director Tenzin Dorjee addressed journalists alongside leaders of Uyghur, Taiwanese, Burmese, Southern Mongolian, and Chinese democracy communities. During the visit, the Obama administration publicly raised human rights as a core issue in Sino-US relations, including the rights of the Tibetan people. Lhakar Movement: Tibetan Self-Reliance and Non-Cooperation: Lhakar (“White Wednesday”) is the most significant grassroots movement to emerge from Tibet in decades. What began as a campaign to take practical actions on Wednesdays – the Dalai Lama’s soul day – to assert Tibetan cultural identity is evolving into a widespread non-cooperation movement. A growing number of Tibetans are engaging in simple, socioeconomic actions that are low-risk and sustainable, yet profoundly revolutionary —eating only in Tibetan restaurants, buying only from Tibetan shops, not using Chinese words while speaking Tibetan, and more. To promote the Lhakar movement in exile, SFT initiated the launch of www.Lhakar.com, held many talks in Tibetan communities, and encouraged people to take the Lhakar pledge to commit to one concrete action for Tibet every Wednesday. Global Lobby Day for Tibet 2011: On February 28th and March 1st, more than 100 Tibetan-Americans and supporters descended on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to urge greater congressional support for Tibet. The next day, SFT Canada arrived in Ottawa for two days of lobbying the Canadian Parliament for Tibet. National Tibet Lobby Days were also held in Sydney, Australia; London, UK; and New Delhi, India in what has become SFT’s annual grassroots political advocacy program organized in partnership with Tibetan Associations and other Tibet Support Groups. Occupation is No Vacation: In November 2010, the St. Regis Lhasa Resort opened its doors, becoming the first luxury hotel in Lhasa. Within weeks, the Intercontinental and Shangri-la announced similar plans to open 5-star hotels in the city. This year, SFT contacted the companies’ executives and property owners to express concern over the operation of luxury hotels in an occupied country, posed questions at the companies’ annual shareholders meetings, and SFT’s senior staff recently met with St. Regis’ executives.

....................................... Acclaimed Tibetan poet Tsering Wangmo Dhompa reads at SFT’s Renaissance Series

....................................... Tibetan detainees in Nepal

....................................... Petition campaign for Tibetan Heroes

Renaissance Series: Amplifying Everything Banned in Tibet: In response to China’s continued crackdown on Tibetan artists, writers, and intellectuals, SFT’s Renaissance Series went global in 2011 with episodes in Japan, Toronto, London, San Francisco, Minnesota, and New York. The series aims to amplify the explosive growth in poetry, music, art, and literature from Tibetans inside Tibet, while providing analysis on the growing use of Tibetan culture and identity as creative tools of resistance. Episodes covered a wide range of topics including Tibetan poetry, music, revolution-themed art, social media, Tibet and the Arab Spring, and the emergence of a stronger relationship between Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile. Supporting Tibetans in Nepal: In September, 23 Tibetans detained after fleeing into Nepal were about to be deported to Tibet, where they would likely face imprisonment and torture. SFT issued an urgent call to action. While SFT leaders met Nepal’s Prime Minister Bhattarai in person in New York, our global networks engaged in a grassroots campaign targeting Nepal’s embassies. Combining private diplomacy and public pressure we successfully helped persuade Nepal to grant the 23 Tibetans safe passage to India. Free Tibetan Heroes: SFT continued to campaign for the release of prominent Tibetan political prisoners through the Free Tibetan Heroes campaign. SFT produced a short video featuring Dhondup Wangchen’s daughters writing him letters to promote a global letter-writing initiative for his release. During the Kalachakra in Washington, DC, SFT displayed life-size posters of Tibetan heroes Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Runggye Adak, Norzin Wangmo, Paljor Norbu, and Dhondup Wangchen and collected thousands of petition signatures for their release.


LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTS:

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Tendor inspires camp participants

....................................... Camp participants in Germany learn climbing techniques

....................................... SFT Japan’s Board of Directors

Free Tibet! Action Camp XV in India: In October, SFT India hosted 40 participants for the 15th Free Tibet! Action Camp, held in Dharamsala. SFT trainers from around the world helped facilitate five days of intensive workshops on the theory and practice of nonviolence, online and mobile security, public speaking, grassroots recruitment, media advocacy, and direct action coordination.

Free Tibet! Action Camp XIV in Germany: SFT collaborated with the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) to hold our third Free Tibet! Action Camp in Germany with 40 participants from eight countries. In addition to our core curriculum, we featured presentations by former Tibetan political prisoners, a workshop on China’s nomad resettlement policies, and an intensive campaign and direct action simulation. A majority of the participants

used their newly acquired skills to take part in direct actions at the recent G20 Summit in France. Regional Trainings in Asia: In February 2011, SFT HQ held our first-ever national conferences in Taiwan and Japan. In Japan, the conference included a poetry night featuring banned writings from Tibet. We also held strategic planning sessions in both countries to develop a plan for SFT’s growth in East Asia. Regional Trainings in the US: SFT held weekend activist trainings across the United States for over 100 Tibetans, students and supporters in San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Minnesota, New York, and Madison.

TIBET ACTION INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS: The Tibet Action Institute, a special project of SFT, provides open-source technology, training and strategy for Tibetans to help advance their nonviolent struggle for freedom. Tibet Action is spearheaded by Lhadon Tethong, former Executive Director of SFT; Nathan Freitas, SFT’s Chief Technologist during the 2008 Olympics campaign; and Freya Putt, former Campaigns Director of SFT and former Olympics Campaign Coordinator for the International Tibet Network. The Tibet Action website (https://tibetaction.net) was launched in March 2011.

Secure Technology & Training: Tibet Action is supporting the creation of easy-to-use apps on commercial mobile phones that allow mobile users to circumvent censorship and safeguard their mobile data and communications from unjust intrusion. In addition to developing leading-edge technology and training for Tibetans to be more safe and secure in their communications, Tibet Action has also trained over 125 key leaders and organizers of the Tibetan freedom movement in the art and techniques of strategic nonviolent resistance so that they can employ effective strategies, campaigns, and innovative technologies to overcome occupation and oppression.

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Tibet Action holds online security training in Japan

Launch of the Lhakar Academy: In May 2011, the Tibet Action Institute held the inaugural session of the Lhakar Academy – Tibetan School of Leadership and Change, providing intensive training over four weeks to 12 of the most talented, active, and experienced young Tibetan leaders. Graduates left with an in-depth understanding of Tibet and China in the context of contemporary global politics and history; a keen knowledge of strategy, strategic nonviolent action, and tactics of resistance; and secure communications technology and media skills. These leaders will be strategic planners, mobilizers, agenda-setters, spokespeople, and, collectively, a decisive force in the struggle for Tibet’s freedom.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZING HIGHLIGHTS: SFT India: Newly appointed National Director Dorjee Tsetan and Grassroots Coordinator Dolkar toured 12 Indian cities this summer as part of a major awareness raising campaign in India, speaking at several prominent Indian universities. In November, SFT India campaigned against the Censor Board of India for blurring a “Free Tibet” banner in the major new Bollywood film, Rockstar, grabbing major media headlines across the nation before the film’s release. Continued...


INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZING HIGHLIGHTS (cont...)

....................................... SFT Canada’s National Director Tenzin Lobsang with Canadian Foreign Minister Baird

....................................... SFT India protesting the censorship of a Free Tibet banner in a Bollywood film

....................................... SFT HQ and Tibet Action with SFT Taiwan

SFT Canada: Held a national conference in Calgary and hosted a Renaissance Series episode. SFT Canada leaders were at the forefront of lobbying the Canadian government to Stand Up for Tibet. The campaign to stop Canadian mining corporations from pillaging Tibet’s natural resources heated up as SFT Canada members confronted investors at a major mining conference in Vancouver, as well as China Gold International Resources’ Vice President at an investor round-table in Toronto. Protests were held inside and outside of the companies’ shareholder meetings, and SFT Canada launched an initiative to urge the World Gold Council to classify Tibet’s Gold as ‘conflict gold.’ SFT UK: Hosted SFT’s first-ever academic conference on Tibet’s environment with support from SFT HQ, which focussed on China’s policy of forcing Tibetan nomads off their traditional lands. Presentations and panel discussions with leading Tibetologists and activists were followed by a one-day strategy session to develop the campaign in support of the right of Tibetan nomads to remain on their land. SFT Europe: Re-established SFT Poland, led by a dynamic group of young Tibetans and students. Following the Free Tibet! Action Camp in Ger-

many, the first SFT chapter in Austria was started, and chapters across Europe intensified their campaigning and grassroots activism. SFT Taiwan: Organized a month-long peace walk with the late Jigme Norbu, the son of Taktser Rinpoche, in December to educate hundreds of Taiwanese about Tibet. SFT Taiwan has grown from a two-person chapter to a strong network with dedicated core members who have held numerous events including conferences, a youth camp, protest rallies, and prayer vigils. SFT Taiwan translated resource materials on the SFT website into Chinese to help present our message to a larger Chinese audience. SFT Japan: Hosted dozens of protests, marches, and outreach events throughout the year; helped organize a Peace Walk and “Free Tibet, Free People!” music festival in Osaka; and premiered the revolutionary documentary film The Sun Behind the Clouds in Tokyo. SFT Australia: Held its first-ever Lobby Day for Tibet in Canberra, continued to build support amongst youth across the country, and has become one of SFT’s fastest growing national networks.

ORGANIZATIONAL GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT

....................................... SFT Japan protests Chinese President Hu Jintao

....................................... 3rd Annual Art for Tibet Auction was a huge success

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Support Us: www.sfthq.org /donate .......................................

SFT continues to expand our online presence; we reach over 100,000 members through our Facebook Causes site, and 60,000 members through our online action network. SFT currently has 12 staff members located worldwide; five in New York at SFT HQ, five in Dharamsala, India, one in Toronto, Canada, and one in London, UK. Our most recent addition to the team is HQ’s Development & Communications Manager, Evie de Cleyre, a former SFT India intern and Tibetan studies major who spent a semester in Lhasa studying at Tibet University. In spite of the tough economic climate, SFT’s annual budget continues to grow as .................................................. we increase support from existing donors while generating new revTendor joins Amnesty International in honorenue sources. In SFT’s 2010/11 fiscal year we raised $841,342, of which ing His Holiness the Dalai Lama at their 50th $265,523 was raised by the Tibet Action Institute team. Anniversary event Art for Tibet: SFT’s most successful cultural and fundraising event is our annual charity art auction, combining art, culture, and resistance. This year’s auction had participation from over 75 international artists, including some from Tibet. Collaboration with Rights Groups: SFT has pursued greater collaboration with allied organizations, working particularly closely with Amnesty International for the release of Tibetan political prisoner Dhondup Wangchen, and with Human Rights in China to highlight the self-immolations in eastern Tibet, among others.

CONCLUSION In the coming year, SFT will continue amplifying the voices and actions of Tibetans inside Tibet, intensifying our campaign to target world leaders to multilaterally demand Beijing end its colonial repression in Tibet. We will continue to build international pressure to stop China’s efforts to uproot and displace Tibetan nomads, while escalating our campaign to block foreign financing of China’s exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources. We will significantly increase our investment in secure communications technology and training for the next generation of Tibetan leaders, expand our networks in Asia and other strategic regions, and continue to ensure Chinese leaders are confronted by Tibetans and supporters everywhere they travel around the world.

Profile for Students for a Free Tibet

Students for a Free Tibet's 2011 Annual Report  

Students for aFree Tibet's 2011 annual report

Students for a Free Tibet's 2011 Annual Report  

Students for aFree Tibet's 2011 annual report

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