Kalon Tripa Dr. Losang Sangay with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Kalon Tripa Dr. Losang Sangay with His Holiness the Dalai Lama following his inauguration. (AP)

  • Inauguration of new head of Tibetan exile government Lobsang Sangay marks ‘new era’ for the Tibetan people; Dalai Lama says his long-cherished aspiration for democratically elected leader vested with full political authority and responsibility has been fulfilled
  • New Kalon Tripa speech is a rousing assertion of Tibetan nationhood and solidarity, celebrates connection between Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, wisdom of Dalai Lama’s leadership
  • Inauguration message to Beijing of commitment to non-violence, Middle Way, and return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet
  • Kalon Tripa emphasizes self-reliance and education as number one priority, announces new exile administration initiatives on transparency, technology, skills training, youth employment

At his inauguration today in Dharamsala, the new head of the Tibetan exile government, Lobsang Sangay, pledged to carry on “the great legacy” of Tibetan elders and to strengthen the Tibet movement until freedom is restored. Paying tribute to the “brave” Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet, Lobsang Sangay called for unity among Tibetans. He said that his message was addressed “with particular urgency” to a younger generation, saying: “Let us never forget: during our lifetime, our freedom struggle will meet the fate of justice or defeat.” He emphasized the importance for all Tibetans in diaspora, including the Dalai Lama, of returning home to Tibet.

Mary Beth Markey, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “The new Kalon Tripa Sangay defined the spirit of the moment – a rousing call for unity among all Tibetans and an assertion of self-reliance and identity.”

The Dalai Lama, made a powerful speech at the ceremony outside the Tsuglakhang, the main temple in Dharamsala, India, saying that it was an important day in the more than 2000-year long history of Tibet. He reiterated that the power lies in the hands of the billions of people on this earth and not with the kings and religious leaders. “Similarly, in the case of Tibet, the Tibetan people are the masters of Tibet, and not the religious leaders and kings and their heirs. Therefore, I always say that it is wrong for the religious leaders to hold political authority. I feel proud to be able to implement what I firmly believe and tell others to put into practice my ideology that the world and countries belong to the general populace and the period of keeping control through power is outdated. Moreover, I will get more opportunity to speak strongly since I have implemented what I confidently and consistently emphasized – the separation of religion and politics.”

The 43 year-old Kalon Tripa Sangay said that the results of the Tibetan exile elections held in March this year “should send a clear message to the hardliners in the Chinese government that Tibetan leadership is far from fizzling out — we are a democracy that will only grow stronger in years ahead” He reiterated that the Tibetan struggle is not against the Chinese people but that it “is against those who would deny freedom, justice, dignity, and the very identity of Tibetan people. Chinese authorities and our Chinese friends alike must realize that grievances of Tibetan people are many and genuine.”

Media and dignitaries from across the world, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Europe, as well as a packed audience of Tibetans, braved heavy monsoon rain to attend this morning’s ceremony, symbolically held on the anniversary of the birth of Guru Rinpoche, the Indian yogi who spread Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century. (Photos)

In a letter from the International Campaign for Tibet congratulating Lobsang Sangay in his new role, Mary Beth Markey, ICT President wrote: “This is a remarkable day in the history of Tibet and the evolution of democracy as a political system in which the people hold the power and share it equally through the right to vote. The tremendous enthusiasm, significant turnout and your own overwhelming victory in the Kalon Tripa election has demonstrated how deeply invested Tibetans can be in the success of their democratic institutions and elected leadership…On this day of great achievement for a future Tibet rooted in the democratic principle of self-rule, the International Campaign for Tibet and its thousands of members around the world celebrate with you, your family and the Tibetan people.”

Lobsang Sangay, who said that he accepted the post of Kalon Tripa “with deep humility” promised “to work to fulfill the vision of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to create a truly secular democratic society.” He concluded by saying that it is important to remember that the devolution of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s political power is not at all solely to him as the Kalon Tripa, “but to all Tibetans.”

Lobsang Sangay also announced new initiatives to further professionalize the Tibetan administration in exile and ensure greater access and transparency through the integration of technology and social networking tools. He announced the creation of a Tibet Policy Institute in Dharamsala and his intention to establish sister settlements between Tibetans in India and the West and a Tibet Corps, an employment program for young Tibetans.

The full text of Lobsang Sangay’s speech is available on SaveTibet.org.