Prime Minister of Tibet Will Officiate
Utah’s Tibetan community will gather for the much anticipated dedication and blessing of the Utah Tibetan Community Center on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 5 p.m. at 135 West 2950 South in South Salt Lake.
Since the 1984 arrival of Pema and T.J. Chagzoetsang as the first Tibetans in Utah, the Tibetan community has grown to over 250. For the last 30 years, ceremonies, celebrations and meetings have been held in garages, parks and borrowed office space. The need was great for a gathering place to celebrate Tibetan culture, hold traditional events, and build and stabilize Tibetan social, cultural and economic lives.
The purchase of a warehouse in 2014 by the Utah Tibetan Association was a bold step for the Tibetan community. Literally each family contributed to the purchase price.
“The Utah Tibetan people mostly work for modest wages, but nevertheless, virtually every member of the community contributed and is continuing to contribute what he or she can for the community center,” said Pema Chagzoetsang.
Over the last year, the Tibetan community has worked tirelessly to renovate the warehouse. Trade unions, contractors, designers, nursery owners and others have stepped in to help transform the warehouse into a beautiful, welcoming, cultural center.
The dedication of the center will be officiated by Tibetan Prime Minister Dr. Lobsang Sangay, who was elected to his post as political leader of the Tibetan People in 2011 in an unprecedented competitive democratic election in the Tibetan diaspora. He is an expert on International Human Rights Law, Democratic Constitutionalism and Conflict Resolution.
Dr. Sangay will perform the dedication on behalf of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, who was scheduled to dedicate the Utah Tibetan Community Center on October 19. After a health evaluation in September, the Dalai Lama was advised by U.S. doctors to cancel upcoming engagements and return to his home-in-exile in Dharamsala, India for complete rest.
As members of the Tibetan community prepare for the dedication and blessing of their new cultural center, they continue to pray for and wish the Dalai Lama a speedy recovery.
“The encouragement and blessings of His Holiness have helped us complete our dream of a cultural center,” said Chagzoetsang. “We will have a space to preserve and pass on our rich cultural heritage for future generations of Tibetans in Utah.”