The International Campaign for Tibet is saddened to learn of the passing of Paljor Thondup, who died of cancer at his home in Santa Fe in late August at the age of 72, as announced by his son, Thupten Thondup.
Thondup was born in Dongpa Mayma village in Nangchen region of eastern Tibet in 1947. When he was in his teens, following Chinese forces’ invasion of Tibet, he was part of one of the resistance groups challenging them and eventually fled to India via Nepal. He later relocated to New Mexico in the mid 1970s.
Thondup was among ICT’s earliest supporters and, in addition to providing counsel and support to Lodi Gyari, who was the Special Envoy of H.H. the Dalai Lama and also the Executive Chairman of ICT, he also served on the ICT Board of Directors.
He was active in community service through Project Tibet, which he established in 1980. Project Tibet rendered humanitarian, educational and disaster relief to the Tibetan communities, including to those in Tibet. Project Tibet also coordinated the resettling of Tibetans in the US in the 1990s, as part of the 1,000 visas to Tibetan refugee community provided by Congress. He also founded the Friends of Tibet New Mexico and was supportive of the Tibetan Association of Santa Fe.
Thondup’s memoir “Undefeated: Confessions of a Tibetan Warrior” is being published by Tibet House US. “He was an undefeated type of guy,” Bob Thurman, scholar and head of Tibet House, told the Santa Fe-New Mexican. “He never gave up, and the Tibetan people have never given up,” Thurman added.
Thondup is survived by his wife, Tsering, and sons Tseten and Thupten. Thupten Thondup told the Santa Fe- New Mexican that the family will continue to run Project Tibet.