MCLEOD GANJ, India, 19 August 2011
Dr Lobsang Sangay took oath of office as the new Kalon Tripa of the Central Tibetan Administration (popularly known as the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile) on 8 August 2011 in McLeod Ganj, India. After the oath-taking ceremony Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama blessed and embraced the new Prime Minister.
It was a historic moment as rule by the Dalai Lamas, which began with the “Great Fifth” in 1642, came to a close. It also marked the shift from the dominance of Tibetan politics by religious figures to democratic rule by ordinary Tibetans. Lobsang Sangay assumed the political leadership role relinquished by the 76-year-old Fourteenth Dalai Lama in May.
The Dalai Lama said that his “most cherished aspiration” has been fulfilled, and expressed satisfaction at the election of a leader with a “high standard of modern education.”
The Dalai Lama said Dr Sangay has become the first Tibetan political leader (Sikyong in Tibetan) to be elected democratically, and vested with full political authority and responsibility. The Dalai Lama completely handed over his administrative and political powers to the elected Tibet leadership through a democratic process, including the amendment of the Charter for Tibetans in exile, in May this year.
The seal of the Tibetan government, first issued by the Seventh Dalai Lama in 1751, was handed over to Dr Sangay by out-going Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche. The seal signifies the legitimacy of the Kashag (cabinet) of the Tibetan people.
Dr Sangay said his administration will strengthen the Tibetan freedom movement to ensure the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, reunite Tibetan people, and restore freedom in Tibet.
Education for the Tibetan exiles will be Sangay’s number one priority, and his goal is to produce 10,000 professionals among the 150,000 in exile in the next ten years. Improving the professionalism of the exile administration, as well as greater access and transparency through integration of technology and social networking tools, are high on his agenda.
Within a few months, a group of Tibetan scholars and intellectuals will be invited to form a Tibet Policy Institute. This Institute will serve as an intellectual platform to envision, develop, and execute policies that will strengthen the Tibetan cause.
What’s your take on the above, and what other pressing issues or projects should be considered?