I had the opportunity to work as an intern this summer at SFT (Students for a Free Tibet), a global chapter-based network of young people and activists around the world that primarily works on amplifying the voices of Tibetans inside Tibet. Based in New York city, I worked with other young activists focusing on youth activism to fight for freedom and independence through non- violent strategic actions.
I grew up watching and witnessing SFT campaigns such as No Beijing Olympic 2008 which had huge impact on rising the cost of illegal occupation of Tibet by Chinese communist party.
Coming from a Tibetan background who grew up in Nepal that doesn’t share the same freedom of speech as we are enjoying here in the US, I decided to give back to my close-knit Tibetan community by joining the SFT team as programs intern for the summer. My task included research on China and organizing different events such as Longsho Nite which is the biggest Tibetan concert in the US for SFT’s annual fundraising project.
From Connecticut for Tibet fest to California for the cross-movement action camp, I had the most memorable summer. During cross movement action camp, Tibetans along with Hongkongers, Taiwanese, Uyghurs, and allies engaged in daily workshops about developing skills in strategic nonviolent, grassroots mobilization, public speaking, campaign strategy for our shared vision of collective liberation. I made some lifelong colleagues as well as brothers and sisters from different background with the same dream.
The biggest takeaway from my internship was realizing that nonviolent strategic action and advocacy does works on international level. The most recent example was US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announcing about visa sanction on Chinese official due to forced assimilation of Tibetan children through colonial boarding school. It was done by continuous advocacy as well as lobbying by SFT, other Tibetan based organization and our allies.
As a student interested in human rights and politics, the SFT internship provided me with adequate skills to take part in ongoing momentous Tibetan movement around the world. I am grateful for the Coons award that made me possible to serve my community. I would highly encourage other students interested in human rights and activism to take part in the transformative SFT internship in future.