More than a thousand Tibetans gathered at the football grounds of the school to celebrate the occasion, which was graced by chief guest, His Eminance Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje and several other notable guests including Kalon of Department of Religion and Culture Venerable Karma Gelek Yuthok, as Officiating Sikyong, Speaker of 16th Tibetan Parliament Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, members of the Kashag, Secretaries and officials of Central Tibetan Administration, representatives of various NGOs, TCV 20 Years Service Award Recipients, TCV Alumni class of 1991 and long time supporters and donors of TCV.
Welcoming sponsors and guests, the President of TCV, Mr Thupten Dorjee, began by saying, "This is a moment of celebration in the last 56 years for the care and education of our children. While we celebrate, we also take a moment to reflect back on these last 56 years to express gratitude and thanks to you all. We hope you have a nice day, and thank you for coming."
Reflecting on the day's theme of unity among the three Tibetan provinces, the next speaker, officiating Sikyong, Kalon Ven Karma Gelek said, "It is undeniably the lifeline of the Tibetan movement. Unity is required by all units that constitute our society, which includes the educational institutions, cultural and religious centres and all organisations. The Tibetan movement can only be driven with the collective thoughts and actions of all of us, and its imperative that we do away with our personal and regional biases to move forward."
In his inaugural speech, His Eminence Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche asserted strong concern on endurance of Tibetan identity and cultural nourishment of young Tibetan children. "Inevitably the most important duty of each Tibetan, in the face of the ever changing time and events, is to be mindful that one's action contribute in ensuring the survival of Tibetan identity and dignity, and not otherwise. Secondly, the school administrators, teachers and parents as the guardians of Tibetan culture, must assert the traditional Tibetan knowledge and values to the young and new generations of Tibet."
His Eminence advised the young students to imbibe the ethical, traditional and cultural values advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to remember the old generation of Tibetans whose sacrifices and hard work has preserved the true essence of the Tibetan movement.
Following the speeches, the day was marked by a cultural presentation and march by TCV students. While the older students displayed a Tibetan traditional dance, the junior and infant students also participated in the day, singing and dancing to a song about gratitude.
For the finale, 500 upper level students participated in a grand display, spelling out phrases including, 'Unity is strength,' 'We bow in gratitude,' and forming the Olympic rings using their bodies.
Following the opening ceremony, an inter-house athletics tournament is to be held on Monday.
TCV is the largest residential school of the exiled Tibetan community. It was founded in 1960 as a nursery with 51 children. TCV has become an integrated educational community for Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet each year. With established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in the South, TCV has over 15,000 children under its care. It is a registered, nonprofit charitable organisation with headquarter based at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, North India.