Today in Amsterdam, International Campaign for Tibet-Europe Executive Director Tsering Jampa received the Knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau—a prestigious Dutch Royal Distinction—for her substantial efforts to defend and promote the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people.
The award was presented to her by Sharon Dijksma, mayor of Utrecht—where Tsering currently lives—during a reception held on the occasion of Tsering’s retirement at the end of this month.
This is the first time that a Tibetan has received this major honor.
Dijksma said: “Sadly you are stepping down as director today, but the good news is that you will continue to work for the Tibetans and everyone who has no voice – but who deserves one. I have great admiration for your courage, patience and peace-lovingness. That’s how you can fight! You are an example for everyone.”
Wangpo Tethong, who will succeed Tsering as ICT Europe’s new executive director, said: “We are overjoyed and very honored about this incredible official recognition for her many years of service to the Tibetan people and their nonviolent struggle for justice and human rights. Tsering Jampa’s passion and dedication to human rights and fundamental freedoms is an inspiration for all women and men who uphold these fundamental values.”
At the age of 5, Tsering fled with her parents from Tibet to India, where she worked as an interpreter and teacher. From 1984, she taught the Tibetan language in the Netherlands.
Tsering was involved in the establishment of the Tibet Support Group in the Netherlands and was vice president of UNPO, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, which gives voice to peoples who are not represented in international arena such as Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongols and minorities all around the world.
As executive director of ICT Europe from 1999 to 2021, Tsering was responsible for nonviolent public campaigns and political advocacy to draw attention to the Chinese government’s oppression of Tibetans among the Dutch public.
In 2006, she also opened an office of ICT in Brussels aimed at expanding these efforts at the European level.
Many Tibetans, friends of Tibet and ICT members attended the farewell reception. Several distinguished speakers were also present, including Erica Terpstra, former vice-minister of public health, former minister of sport and television anchorwoman; Professor Cees Flinterman of the University of Maastricht; and Tashi Phuntsok, representative of the Dalai Lama in Brussels.