Lobsang Sangay

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Lobsang Sangayal
Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan Prime Minister.jpg
Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 August 2011
Monarch Tenzin Gyatso
Preceded by Lobsang Tenzin
Personal details
Born 1968 (age 45–46)
Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
Alma mater University of Delhi
Harvard University
Religion Vajrayana Buddhism
Lobsang Sangay
Tibetan name
Tibetan བློ་བཟང་སེང་གེ
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 洛桑森格
Simplified Chinese 洛桑森格

Lobsang Sangay (Tibetan: བློ་བཟང་སེང་གེ་; "kind-hearted lion"; born 1968 at Darjeeling) is a Tibetan legal scholar and political activist. He became Sikyong (equivalent to Prime Minister) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile on August 8, 2011.

Early life[edit]

Sangay was born in a refugee community in Darjeeling in 1968, with a typical Shichak (settlement) background amidst fields, cows, chicken, fetching wood in the forest and helping his parents' small business, including winter sweater-selling. He is now the prime minister of Tibet.[1][2]

Education and academic career[edit]

After graduating from the Tibetan school in Darjeeling, Sangay received his B.A. (Hons) and LL.B. degrees from the University of Delhi in India. In 1995, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to Harvard Law School, where he subsequently received his LL.M. degree the same year.[3]

In 2003, Sangay organized five conferences between Chinese and Tibetan scholars, including a meeting between the Dalai Lama and thirty-five Chinese scholars at Harvard University.[4]

In 2004, he became the first Tibetan (among six million) to earn a S.J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and was a recipient of the 2004 Yong K. Kim' 95 Prize of excellence for his dissertation Democracy in Distress: Is Exile Polity a Remedy? A Case Study of Tibet's Government-in-exile.[3] In 2006, Sangay was selected as one of the twenty-four Young Leaders of Asia by the Asia Society, a global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. Sangay was a Senior Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School through 2011. He is an expert in Tibetan law and international human rights law.

Governmental career[edit]

On 10 March 2011, the Dalai Lama proposed changes to the exile charter which would remove his position of authority within the organisation and devolve his political power to the elected leader, thus making the Kalön Tripa (or Chief Minister) the highest-ranking officeholder. These changes were ratified on 29 May 2011,[6] even though, according to Sangay, there was “a high level of anxiety among Tibetans” over the Dalai Lama's decision to relinquish his own political authority.[5]

L. Sangay in Vienna, Austria, in 2012.

On April 27, 2011 Sangay was elected Kalön Tripa of the Tibetan Government in Exile.[6][7][8] Sangay won 55% of the votes, defeating Tenzin Tethong (37.4%) and Tashi Wangdi (6.4%). 83,400 Tibetan were eligible to vote and 49,000 ballots were cast.[8] On August 8, 2011, Sangay took the oath of office, succeeding Lobsang Tenzin as Kalön Tripa. In a statement at the time, the Dalai Lama referred to Lobsang Sangay as Sikyong; and the title was officially changed from Kalön Tripa to Sikyong in September, 2012.

In his role as Sikyong, Sangay has emphasized the importance of seeking a peaceful, non-violent resolution of the Tibet issue. He has supported the Dalai Lama's call for a so-called “Middle Way” approach “that would provide for genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of Chinese constitution.” Noting that China has established “one country, two systems” mechanisms in Hong Kong and Macau, he has argued that it makes no sense for China to continue to resist a similar solution for Tibet, which, he emphasizes, would be a “win-win” result.[9]

In February 2013, he gave the first annual lecture of the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondence. Expressing concern about the possible ripple effects of recent acts of armed rebellion in west Asia, he called for the international community to strengthen its endorsement of non-violent approaches to oppression. “If non-violence is the right thing to do,” he emphasized, “we ought to be supported by the international community.” Noting the media attention given to armed Syrian “freedom fighters,” he said: “Tibetans have been democratic and non-violent for the last so many decades, how come we don't receive similar support and attention?”[10]

Sangay made a statement on 10 March 2013, the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, in which he paid tribute to the “yearning for freedom” that inspired “the epochal events of March 10, 1959,” and dedicated the anniversary of those events “to all the self-immolators and those who have died for Tibet.” He also restated his dedication to the “Middle Way Approach,” expressing hope that a “speedy resolution” by China of the Tibet issue could “serve as a model for other freedom struggles” and “be a catalyst for moderation of China.”[11]

Sangay has been married for 13 years to Kesang Yangdon Shakchang, whose parents were from the Lhokha and Phare area. They have a three-year-old daughter. His father died in 2004.

Works[edit]

  • Tibet: Exiles' Journey, Journal of Democracy – Volume 14, Number 3, July 2003, pp. 119–130 Tibet: Exiles' Journey archived [1]
  • We Sing a Song of Sadness Tibetan Political Prisoners Speak Out, Billy Jackson, Publish America, 2004, ISBN 1-4137-1677-6
  • Lobsang Sangay, China in Tibet: Forty Years of Liberation or Occupation?, Harvard Asia Quarterly, Volume III, No. 3, 1999.
  • Human rights and Buddhism : cultural relativism, individualism & universalism, Thesis (LL. M.), Harvard Law School, 1996, OCLC 43348085
  • Democracy in distress : is exile polity a remedy? : a case study of Tibet's government in exile, Thesis (S.J.D.), Harvard Law School, 2004, OCLC 62578261
  • A constitutional analysis of the secularization of the Tibetan diaspora : the role of the Dalai Lama, in Theology and the soul of the liberal state, ed. Leonard V Kaplan; Charles Lloyd Cohen, Lanham : Lexington Books, 2010, ISBN 978-0-7391-2617-2

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lobsang Sangay facebook page". facebook.com. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Toomey, Christine ‘’Meet the Heir to the Dalai Lama’’ The Globe and Mail, August 12, 2011
  3. ^ a b Harvard Law School, News & Events (27 April 2011). "Lobsang Sangay LL.M. '96 S.J.D. '04 named prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.oslofreedomforum.com/speakers/Lobsang-Sangay.html
  5. ^ "The Interview: Dr. Lobsang Sangay". The Diplomat. Retrieved May 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ Staff (2009). "Lobsang Sangay - Candidate". Kalon Tripa 2011. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  7. ^ Cornelius Lundsgaard (2011-04-27). "Dr. Lobsang Sangay is the New Political Leader of Tibet". The Tibet Post International. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  8. ^ a b "Lobsang Sangay elected Tibetan exile leader". BBC News. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  9. ^ "Tibetan leader Lobsang Sangay: Congress needs to hold China to account on Tibet". The Hill. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ Arora, Kim. "International community must support non-violent methods: Lobsang Sangay". The Times of India. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The statement of Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay on the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day". International Campaign for Tibet. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lobsang Tenzin
Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration
2011–present
Incumbent