Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lobsang Sangay

Lobsang Sangay (born 1968 at Darjeeling) is a Tibetan refugee, legal scholar and political activist. He was elected as the next Kalon Tripa (equivalent to Prime Minister) of the Tibetan Government in Exile on 26 April 2011, succeeding the 5th Samdhong Rinpoche.

Education and academic career
After graduating from the Tibetan Refugee 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.

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.

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. 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 is currently a Senior Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. He is an expert in Tibetan law and international human rights law.

Governmental career
On April 27, 2011 he was elected Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan Government in Exile. 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. He will succeed Lobsang Tenzin as the head of the Tibetan Government in Exile. On August 8, 2011 Lobsang Sangay officially took oath and accepted his post as the Kalon Tripa.

While the leadership of the government-in-exile is in a state of transition, the 14th Dalai Lama remains formally ceremonial Head of State and has taken no political stances since his announced retirement in early 2011 from active participation in Tibetan affairs.

Personal life
Sangay was born in a village in Darjeeling in 1968, with a typical Shichak (settlement) background amidst fields, cows, chicken, fetching wood in the forest and helping his parent's small business including winter sweater selling. March 10 is used as his birthday as shown on his facebook page, but he doesn’t know the exact day on which he was born nor did a lot of Tibetan children born in those years in the refugee camp. Upon registration in school where a birthday was needed, his parents entered March 10, as did the parents of almost a third of his classmates. To Tibetans, March 10 is known as the National Uprising Day (1959 Tibetan uprising), marking the 1959 armed rebellion against the Chinese rule over Tibet. Presently, he lives in Greater Boston area in the US. His mother Kelsang Choden from Chamdo lives with him and his father died in 2004. He is married to Kesang Yangdon Shakchang, whose parents were from the Lhokha and Phare area. They have been together for 13 years and have a three-year-old daughter.

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