Kasur Lobsang Nyandak confirms his readiness to lead the Tibet movement at this critical time of our history
LONDON, England, 9 March 2020
Tibetans worldwide are now getting actively engaged in the discourse of the next Sikyong election. The incumbent Sikyong, President Dr Lobsang Sangay, leaves the highest office of the Central Tibetan Administration when he completes his second five-year term in 2021.
After seeing Kasur Lobsang Nyandak named as a possible successor to Dr Sangay on social media recently, I contacted him via LinkedIn. I asked the respected former Finance and Foreign Minister if he was serious about running in the forthcoming Sikyong election. Nyandak responded within hours by writing, “I have given serious thought before making the decision to run for Sikyong. Given my 30+ years of serving the community at various positions, I felt I can serve best to our cause and people at this critical time of our history.”
His confirmation is excellent news for the Tibet Movement. In him, I see a highly experienced, capable, and trusted former Tibetan diplomat, who is a politically-savvy public figure, having lived in the West for nearly 15 years and travelled the world as Foreign Minister for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
In my view, Kasur Lobsang Nyandak ticks all the right boxes for any serious Tibetan leadership contender aspiring to enter the Office of The Sikyong.
Nyandak gained special prominence when he won his Parliamentary seat in 1996. He was known for his non-sectarian views and commitment to promoting unity in the community. At the time, Nyandak was heading the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), the only Tibetan-run human rights organisation. TCHRD was monitoring gross violations of human rights, political and socio-economic marginalisation, as well as the curtailment of the religious rights of the Tibetan people in Chinese-occupied Tibet. In addition, Nyandak was actively engaged in advocacy work on behalf of the Tibetans in Tibet. He also spearheaded various vital educational programmes to promote Tibetan democracy in the exiled Tibetan community. Nyandak founded the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in 1996. Earlier, he had served in various roles within the Tibetan community, including as a leading activist of the biggest Tibetan NGO network — the Tibetan Youth Congress. He also served as Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Party of Tibet.
In 2001, the former Kalon Tripa, Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, chose Lobsang Nyandak as one of his small team of Cabinet members. Nyandak became a minister at the age of 35. During his five-year tenure as Kalon, Nyandak held three major portfolios in Professor Samdhong Rinpoche’s administration. He was the Minister for three Departments: Information and International Relations (DIIR), Finance, and Health.
Nyandak actively promoted Sino-Tibetan dialogue. As the Kalon for the DIIR, he organised exclusive seminars between Tibetan and Chinese scholars. He also served as a member of the Task Force of the Sino-Tibetan Dialogue for over a decade.
As Finance Minister, he oversaw the healthy fiscal budgets of the Central Tibetan Administration. He was instrumental in setting up the Tibetan Social and Resource Development Fund (SARD) within the Department of Finance. Today, the SARD manages core funding which supports the vital needs of the exile Tibetan administration.
As Health Minister, he oversaw many health initiatives, including preventative measures to improve public health and the introduction of free medication to the poorer sections of the Tibetan refugee community.
From 2008 to 2013, as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas, Kasur Lobsang Nyandak established high-level diplomatic relations and worked with many US and Canadian governmental officials and diplomats. During his public service career, he developed internationally an excellent network with a wide range of influential people — potentially of great benefit to the Tibetan cause when he becomes the next Sikyong.
His international development work includes managing and raising vital funds from individuals and major donor sources to support the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal. As President of the New York-based Tibet Fund, Kasur Lobsang Nyandak has conducted multiple field trips to India and Nepal. He knows the realities on the ground there, and has a deep understanding of the enormous and often complex challenges faced by the Tibetan refugee community.
I am endorsing Kasur Lobsang Nyandak as the next Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration.
I believe Kasur Lobsang Nyandak is the right candidate at the right time for the Central Tibetan Administration. I hope there will be many like-minded friends, who care deeply about our Tibetan cause, who will give their vital backing to Kasur Lobsang Nyandak in the forthcoming election. In our efforts to preserve Tibet’s unique cultural heritage and support each other, we must march forward in unity to seek justice for Tibetans in Tibet while finding practical ways to help the Tibetan Diasporas.
Kasur Lobsang Nyandak says, “Together, we build Tibet’s future.” Let’s build it together by supporting Lobsang Nyandak for Sikyong 2021.
About the author
Tsering Passang is former Chairman of the Tibetan Community in Britain (2014 – 2016). He is also an advisor to the incumbent Council of Tibetan Community in Britain (2018 - 2020). Tsering currently works for the London-based Tibet Foundation as its Director. Tsering’s blog: TsamTruk.com