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A cultural approach to resolving the Tibet issue?

www.TibetanReview.net, June16’08

China has agreed to commit 70 million dollars over a five-year period to the Louise Blouin Foundation, an international fund for preservation of culture in Tibet, under an agreement, reported the AFP Jun 6. “This unique and significant agreement is aimed at preserving Tibetan culture,” French-Canadian magazine publisher and philanthropist Louise Blouin MacBain, who heads the foundation, was quoted as saying. She has also said the project will enable China and the exile Tibetan government to interact towards resolving the Tibet issue.

Significantly, MacBain has claimed Beijing had agreed to allow the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile to participate and “provide oversight” in the cultural preservation projects. The report said the agreement was reached recently between her and Sun Jiazheng, the vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Culture Minister Cai Wu during a recent trip to Beijing as well as Tibet. It said she would hold talks with the Dalai Lama’s representative to the Americas, Mr Tashi Wangdi, in New York on Jun 16 on the issue.

“I think this is the first model in the world where we approach a peace process or foreign affair issue through culture and I think it is going to be a model which we are going to be using for the future in Africa and the Middle East,” MacBain was reported to have told AFP.

MacBain has said that the foundation would convene its annual global creative leadership summit in Beijing in 2009. She has also said that to a summit to be held in New York in Sep 2008, China had agreed to send a large delegation. A forum will be held at the time with Chinese and Tibetan representatives on the Tibet issue and “peaceful coexistence”. And she has said, “Chinese are very open for discussions and change but they can’t change overnight.”

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