MEDIATION AND COUNSELING:
We are very happy to render our services of Mediation and Counseling for those individuals or groups who accept and follow some criteria that demands by the guiding principles of mediation, counseling and also of the Centre.
INTENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAMMES
- Trainer’s Training Programme:
TTP is by far the most intensive activity of the Centre with duration of several months followed by Follow up Trainings. It is to provide training for interested and motivated Tibetans who can become qualified trainers and work for Centres like ours. For trainers in TCCR, it is imperative to go under TTP to become eligible. TTP is not only for the need for adequate human resources and to ensure the sustainability of the Centre but also for its great social impacts. TTP train groups of selective young college and university graduates before they step into different walks of life and communities, by giving opportunities not only to learn the important tools and skills to become a good member of the community but also to be capable of teaching these tools to others.
- Mediation and Counselling Training:
Conflicts are bound to happen everywhere. Therefore having trained Conflict workers in Tibetan settlement would contribute to a great extent in solving conflict situations non-violently. The need for people with such skills are felt in all the settlements but due to the number of trainers that Centre can effort, TCCR is unable to be present in all these places all the time. Thus TCCR has plans to organise training programmes to train selected people from various settlements to become Conflict Workers in their respective settlements. TCCR would train these Conflict Workers in such a way that they are able to contribute towards positive management of conflicts in their respective communities.
INTER CULTURAL INITIATIVES
Since Tibet’s invasion by China in 1959 India has become one of the primary countries where a large number of Tibetan refugees continue to settle. It is a known fact that differences breed conflicts. Tibetan refugees strive to keep the Tibetan culture alive while living in a bigger foreign culture. Also the Indian host community strives to keep its culture intact while welcoming a different culture in its midst. These pose challenging situations to both the communities and there is a tendency of clashes of interests and way of living. From the very beginning one of the messages that we carried to every workshop was the importance of maintaining good relations with our Indian brothers and sisters. Since 2007 we have given special focus in this area and started planning initiating different inter cultural activities like Inter Cultural Conflict Transformation Workshops, Talks, Meetings and other supporting and sharing events. This we consider extremely important not only because we are two different communities living side by side but also because there are so many beautiful aspects of being a Tibetan or being an Indian that are many times hidden or unknown to each other. Aspects, which when revealed, bring forth overwhelming feelings of mutual respect and love.
- Workshop for New Comers from Tibet:
Dharamsala is a home and junction to many Tibetans who are roughly divided on a basis of periodic entry into India into two category i.e. Tibetan born and brought up in India and New Comer from Tibet. Those Tibetans who are born and brought up in India who have an advantage in terms of co-existing with host nation’s people as compared to the New Comer from Tibet. So, it becomes more challenging for New Comers to akin with Indian socio-cultural sentiments, administrative and legal system. These in- competences are proving drawback for them to adapt with new culture and system, which sometimes make them prone to conflict situations. Since the inception, TCCR has felt that Conflict Resolution (CR) workshops would do good for the New Comers from Tibet. We chalked out the program under “New Comer workshop” and executed numerous times, many of which have been for the TTS (Tibetan Transit School) students.
- Youth Empowerment Workshops:
Under this we conduct two subcategories of workshops in series, YEW series for college going students and YEW series for youth in non-academic line. Much like the young people from all over the world, Tibetan youth also have many distractions and need for fun and enjoyment while keeping in mind the need for being an achiever in life. In addition to all this, what distinguishes the Tibetan youth is the constant reminder that they are the ones to keep the Tibetan struggle and Tibetan culture alive. Tibetan youngsters both inside and outside Tibet are born, brought-up and are still undergoing an extensive scale of unnatural calamity causes by the Chinese occupation of Tibet. As we witness their bringing up is heavily disturb, we felt the responsibility to put an effort to empower them. The Centre always believes that to make a beautiful future for the world, we have to continuously nurture beautiful minds for those who will lead the future. And Tibetan youth are expected to shoulder more responsibility than others as the Tibet issue is not yet resolved and we do our best to encourage the nonviolent aspect of the Tibetan struggle to continue to flourish.
- Workshop For Tibetan Settlement:
The majority of Tibetan refugees live mainly in the 52 settlements scattered across India. Some of these are big settlements that enjoy a successful infrastructure while many are situated in remote locations and are financially unstable. Some Tibetans also live in clusters in the small Indian towns doing petty business. But irrespective of where they live, one fact remains true for everyone which is that they live in small communities surrounded by the local Indian communities. Even within the Tibetan communities there are people of different financial, educational and ancestral backgrounds. Refugee communities all over the world face challenges within their community and also with the host community, Tibetan refugees are not much different. Therefore our workshops have proved very useful not only in creating more harmony among the settlers but in improving their relations with the host communities.
- Workshop for School Teachers & Administrators:
Although severe punishments like beating has been banned in the Tibetan Schools for many years now, news of either students misbehaving and teachers not being able to find a proper way to deal with them or news of students still being punished violently keeps seeping through now and then. As a Centre for Conflict Resolution we take an initiative to promote nonviolent methods of dealing with disciplinary issues and facilitate a process through which the school administrators and teachers are able to see the actual needs of the students. We shared various skills and tools that could be useful in dealing with various problems in the schools and taught different alternatives to corporal punishment. Our workshop also focused on inspiring Teachers to create new methods of teaching that can appeal to the students making them more receptive to their studies.
- Workshop for School Students & Parents
- Workshop for School Students:
School students today are more confident, open, creative and very independent which are positive attributes, but the School administrators or teachers and parents worry about the uplifting of moral principles, ethical values; they also would like to see an improvement in social skills and communication skills which could become useful for the children in times of troubles and enhance their overall development. Moreover, today, there are many Indian students of local families and Himalayan regions enrolled in Tibetan schools. It becomes very important to encourage respectful and friendly atmosphere for a harmonious coexistence. Learning to respect differences and appreciate diversity are important democratic principles which are extremely needed in daily life and for future leaders which we believe the Schools are trying to nourish and prepare for.
- Workshop for School Foster Parents:
The workshop for School Foster Parents held first in Ladhak TCV on invitation from school authority. Later when TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) opened a new Department known as MTC (Mothers’ Training Centre), the Director of MTC Mrs. Kalsang la brought the idea to us and requested workshop for village home mothers in 2011. Every TCV home mother/parent bears a tremendous responsibility to look after twenty or more foster children till they go for college or higher studies. Taking care of dozens of children by a foster mother is never an easy task, yet most of those foster mothers are untrained and they do not hold educational qualifications. Thus both MTC and TCCR considering the need of training for foster mothers is imperative and our workshop is being conducted in series since 2011 with invitation from Mothers’ Training Centre, TCV.
- Civil Society Strengthening Workshops:
In democratic world, NGOs or the Civil Society is a key factor. When many see reasons in calling media the forth pillar, they are more reasons to call the Civil Society the fifth pillar but the matter here is the strength of the civil society. TCCR being an NGO among the civil society promoting Conflict Resolution, Peace Building and Democratic Processes, Centre feels the responsibility as well as capacity to work in strengthening the civil society. Thus we have been and planning more workshops and meetings in future.
- Woman’s Empowerment Workshops:
During the past years TCCR has conducted more than 300 workshops and touched the lives of over 8,000 people directly. As a result of our pro-active effort to maintain a gender balance in all of our workshops, approximately 50% of these have been women. Although many of the workshops we have conducted in the past have been strictly for women, such as the workshops for Buddhist nuns or the TCV home mothers, the first time that we implemented a Women’s Empowerment Workshop was in 2012.
A striking feature of the Tibetan community is the pivotal role women play in financially supporting their families. Typically women share an equal working responsibility and more often than not, are the backbone of the family’s financial stability. Many working men have wives who do winter sweater selling or manage other small-scale businesses that serve as the main source of income for the family. Meanwhile, the husband’s occupation is viewed as a status symbol.
Despite playing integral roles within the family support structure, women often refrain from taking on major leadership roles, whether in the family or in the broader society. Due to their upbringings, Tibetan women often feel that their roles as decision-makers should be limited. Our workshop further revealed that such societal norms and social constraints continue to pose obstacles for women who seek to explore different professions.
Therefore our Woman’s Empowerment Workshops aim to empower women and to guide them in harnessing an inner source of strength to confront challenges in their daily lives. Through these workshops, we also seek to highlight womens’ essential contributions to society and to encourage them to become the natural Peacebuilders that they are.
- Workshop for Monastic Communities:
In Tibet, before 1959, the lives of Tibetans revolved around Buddha Dharma and religious ceremonies were very important part of life. It was a common practice for each family to have at least one and many times more than one member becoming a monk or nun. The Monasteries played a very important role in the social structure. Even in the exile Tibetan Society there is not a single settlement which does not have a monastic institution. This indicates the important role that Buddhism and the Monastic institutions play in the lives of the Tibetan people. TCCR has given great importance to the incorporation of Buddhist philosophy and Classic Conflict resolution. Therefore taking another step towards this we have reached out to monastic institutions with an aim to introduce the skills and tools of Conflict Resolution and also a new methodology of teaching to the Tibetan monks and nuns. The workshop to the monastic institutions will also help the Centre to gain in-depth knowledge of Buddhism from the learned participants through discussions and sharing their views on conflict resolution from the Buddhist perspective. This platform for exchanging ideas of Conflict Resolution and Buddhism will be very helpful in enhancing the quality of our research work and make it more productive.
- Parents Workshop:
TCCR has conducted many workshops for the Department of Education targeting Teachers, Counsellors, and B Ed students. Through these workshops we have received heart warming feedback and much appreciation from the DoE. As requested by Mrs. Donkar Wangmo, Chief counselor of DoE, the first workshop for parents was conducted in 2013.
Our aims for this workshop was to introduce a new perspective where the parents saw the conflicting issues with their children as opportunities to build stronger bonds and create a more understanding and supportive atmosphere at homes that may foster healthy growth for the children. We also aimed at taking an objective look at corporal punishment and looking for more respectful and compassionate alternatives.
- Workshop for Business Community:
With the Nobel Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration based here, Dharamshala is a town of great attraction for Tibetans and with the presence of an exotic culture. Dharamshala is also an attraction to a great many tourists from all over the world and lately from many different parts of India. With the growing economy many Indians are now travelling to these cooler Hill Stations to find an escape from heat and work stress. So when these great many people from all over India and the world come to Dharamshala; the shopkeepers, road-side stall keepers and restaurant workers are usually the only Tibetans they interact with during their short stay here. And thus form an impression of a culture and people.
During the Round Table Discussion for Indians and Tibetans titled “Coexisting and Flourishing” held in December 2014 it was stated by one Indian participant that the way Tibetan shopkeepers and restaurant owners or waiters treat the Indian customers was very disrespectful. This may be a single incident or may happen again but we know that many Tibetans run small businesses (road side stalls) due to lack of jobs or educational and other opportunities; with very little understanding of how to be a host. These incidents may not sound too critical but we know that being a refugee community they have potential to harm our ties with the local Indian community. Therefore this is the first workshop that we have organised especially for the Business community.
- Conflict Transformation Workshop for mixed cultural groups:
Our Inter-cultural workshops on Conflict Transformation provides a learning atmosphere where stereotypes and doubts of the other are scrutinized and subjected to careful revelation of the truth, and where cultural differences and differences in ideology are respected. We believe that by facilitating and introducing the skills and tools of Conflict Resolution to mixed groups of Local-Indians and Tibetans we would be able to address the issues and conflicts faced by them and explore means of transformation of these conflicts. We try to promote clarity and mutual understanding among the Indian and Tibetan people. Since this is an inter-cultural programme we have also taken into consideration the need to teach through example. For each Inter-cultural workshop we have invited Trainers from other Indian NGOs. Ms. Manjrika Sewak (WISCOMP) and Ms. Jaya Iyer (Theatre of the Oppressed) have both partnered with us on several occasions.
INTEGRATION WITH BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY
TCCR not just complacent with the Centre’s expertise in western conflict resolution skills and approaches, we embrace and integrate skills and ideas that contribute Centre’s aims and objectives. As a Tibetan NGO serving mainly in Tibetan community, it is imperative for us to make our service packages to suit and relevant with the local culture and mindset. Owing to our prior knowledge of Buddhist Philosophical concepts dealing with our negativity and conflicts, we see a tremendous benefit on integrating Buddhist Philosophical concepts with our conflict resolution tools which would perfectly fit for Tibetan community. And we truly marvel at the thought and intellectual exploits of Nalanda scholars like Acharya Shantideva in their practice of compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and to confront with poisonous emotions within us. Thus every year we choose some Buddhist text or concepts that are more relevant with us to include in the program schedule of TCCR staff capacity building. We highlight the importance of Tibetan Buddhism, culture and traditions and blends it with Western approaches. The outcome is a genuine and most appropriate set of tools and skills for our community.
ORGANIZING SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES
- Roundtable Discussions
The Tibetan Centre for Conflict Resolution has always given great importance to building better relations between Indians and Tibetans who live side by side. We have organised several programmes to bring the two communities together into building a more supportive and understanding coexistence. Our Round Table Discussion provides a very practical and useful opportunity for Tibetans and Indians to sit together and discuss various issues of importance and conflict in the community. This series of Round Table discussions “Coexisting and Flourishing” began in 2009 and is much appreciated by both the communities. We have been supported by the Tibetan Settlement Office and Indo Tibetan Friendship Association.
- Public Meeting
In 2007 we have partnered with Karuna Centre for Peacebuilding in conducting a Peacebuilding Seminar in Lumbini which included a Dialogue session where all the major stake holders were present and working towards making Lumbini more peaceful with all those living there getting equally respected and benefitted. We have partnered with Mulgrave School, Canada, International School Manila (ISM) and Mahindra United World College, India, in organising ten day workshops titled ‘Youth Gathering for Peace for three times. The first one in Dharamsala where TCCR acted as the main organiser, second time in Mindanao, Phillipines, where along with the Assisi Foundation Mr. Tim Boulton from ISM was the main organiser and the third time in Katmandu Nepal where along with Youth Action Nepal Mr. Mark Pulfer was the main organiser. These are some of the bigger international partnership events; some smaller ones included us partnering with Institute for Multi Track Diplomacy, Wiscomp the women’s branch of Foundation for Universal Responsibility and Jaya Iyer from the Theater of the Oppressed.
PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS AND WORKSHOPS ON REQUEST
Along with our initiatives to empower diverse communities, TCCR has had increasing requests from organisations and groups to share our expertise by conducting full-fledged Conflict Resolution Workshops, short Sessions and Talks. We therefore conduct specialised workshops for NGOs; School Teachers, Teacher-Counsellors, Home Mothers (school wardens and matrons), Students, Parents’ Association members, Indian College/School Students and Foreigners.
As a Centre that was founded and built on the ideals of Non-Violence, Compassion and Respect for the Other, it is always very rewarding to see our participants adopting the skills and tools learnt through our activities. And when others appreciate our efforts, and request us to collaborate with them, it is even more satisfying because not only do we receive affirmation of our effectiveness but we also get another opportunity to spread our methods and ideals further.
The Centre regularly receives invitations and requests for our various Trainings from many Non-Governmental Organisations, the Home Department and Department of Education of the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetan Children’s Village, Central Schools for Tibetans and Sambhota schools and other institutions. We believe that these recurring invitations reflect the amount of trust these organisations place in TCCR’s effectiveness and professionalism.
TCCR has also partnered with Indian and international NGOs and schools on several occasions to organise workshops that include participants from various countries. We have also co-conducted Dialogues among conflicting parties; been invited to lead sessions at international workshops and organised programmes for student groups.
Through these global initiatives, not only do we meet people from various cultures but we get to learn so much about their work. As a result we are inspired to explore our own creativity and design new methods and exercises to suite their requirements. The impetus of this international exposure has led to the Centre’s growth and ongoing innovation in the field of conflict resolution through dialogue and non-violent remedies.