Essays written in Tibetan were again the top winners in this year’s Light of Truth Essay Contest organized by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). Chokey Dolma from Dolmaling Institute in Dharamsala secured the highest points with Ka-nyag Tsering from Kirti Jepa Monastery in Dharamsala in second position and Dorjee Wangchuk from Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala in the third position. This is the fourth such contest since 2002. Read Chokey Dolma’s winning essay.

Each judge received copies of the essays from which the names and identifying information had been removed. The judges rated each essay from 1 to 5.

This year we received 26 entries – 17 in Tibetan, 7 in English and 2 in Chinese. Out of the 26 entries, nine exceeded the word limits and have been disqualified. They include six in Tibetan, two in English and one in Chinese. Entries were judged on the basis of content, responsiveness to the question and for leadership qualities.

“The International Campaign for Tibet is pleased to be contributing to the promotion of Tibetan scholarship and encouraging a public debate on issues relevant to the future of Tibet,” said Mary Beth Markey, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet. “We are encouraged to see the trend of more submissions in Tibetan than in other languages this year, too,” added Markey.

The First prize winner gets US $1,000, the second prize winner gets $500 and the third prize winner gets $250.

This year essays were invited on the following topic: The counties, prefectures and the autonomous region in which Tibetans reside in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have adopted a variety of laws, regulations and policies relating to religion, language, education, culture, economy, etc. In addition, there are national laws governing these areas. This system, governed by the Communist Party’s policies on minorities and autonomy, has created a patchwork of regulations and policies.

How have the Tibetans been impacted by being administratively divided? How a particular area has been affected by a certain local regulations and policies? Why regulations and policies are different in different areas?
What steps could be taken to make regulations and policies more uniform?
How local areas have achieved some autonomy or had their autonomy undermined by local regulations and policies?
“Even as the Dalai Lama tries to find a lasting political solution to the issue of Tibet, we feel that the Tibetan people, as stakeholders in the preservation and promotion of their culture and tradition, need to have a better understanding of the different Chinese regulations governing their life currently,” said Bhuchung Tsering, Director of the International Campaign for Tibet.

“We feel the contest has put the spotlight on the viability of Chinese rules relating to Tibetan culture and challenges to their implementation,” Tsering added.

Since its inception, the essay contest has generated good response from the Tibetan community and despite practical and political problems Tibetans inside Tibet have also provided feedback on some of the past topics.

The judges for this year’s contest were Dagyab Rinpoche, eminent lama and scholar residing in Germany; Dr. Yeshi Choedon, Associate Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India; Mr. Thubten Samphel, Secretary, Department of Information and International Relations, Dharamsala, India; and Prof. Jampa Samten, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India.

ICT wishes to congratulate the winners, thank the judges, and thank everyone who submitted essays. ICT will be making the winning essays available to the Tibetan language media for publication.