Essays written in Tibetan were the top winners in this year’s Light of Truth essay contest organized by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). Mansher Lotou (Kirti Monastery, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala) secured the highest points with Sherap Gyatso (Norbu Lingka Institute, Dharamsala) in second position and Kunchok Phelgye, (Drepung Loseling, Mundgod, India) in third position.

Commenting on the essays, Mr. Gyatsho Tshering, one of the judges, said, “The Tibetan essays are worth studying. They convey a sense of strength and sincerity.”

“The quality of written Tibetan language as reflected in the essays makes for reassurance and a matter of deep satisfaction,” Tshering added.

Mr. Gyatsho Tshering is the former director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. The other three judges were Mrs. Chungdak Koren, Prof. Nawang Phuntsog, and Mr. Baima Wangjie.

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 and the winners were selected by taking an average of each score.

This year we received 49 entries – 39 in Tibetan, nine 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 greatly encouraged to see that this year there are more submissions in Tibetan than in other languages,” said Mary Beth Markey, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet. “We are pleased to be contributing to the promotion of Tibetan scholarship, including in the Tibetan language,” added Markey.

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

Essays were invited on the following topic:


Given the demographic transformation caused by Chinese migration into Tibetan areas, a critical issue facing Tibetans today is the survival of the Tibetan identity. What actions can be taken by Tibetans, both inside and outside Tibet, to mitigate the negative impacts of this trend and harness whatever positive impacts this trend may bring?


The tremendous influx of non-Tibetans into Tibet has been a major cause for concern for Tibetans. Pointing to this issue in a number of key statements, the Dalai Lama stresses that the increased transfer of Chinese population into Tibet has altered and continues to change the character of the Tibetan plateau. This demographic change involves major economic, cultural, environmental, linguistic, legal, human rights and other implications. Moreover, most Chinese people do not understand Tibetan perspectives, sharpening the colonial characteristics of the Chinese population and governing structures in Tibet.

Brief Biographies of the judges

Mrs. Chungdak Koren lives in Norway and was formerly the Representative of the Dalai Lama at the Bureau du Tibet in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Prof. Nawang Phuntsog is a professor of education at California State University at Fullerton, specializing in multicultural education, curriculum, and teacher education.
  • Mr. Baima Wangjie (Pema Wangyal) graduated from the Central University for Nationality, Beijing, and is currently a visiting instructor at Hsi Lai University in Rosemead, California.
  • Mr. Gyatsho Tshering was the longest serving Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) in Dharamsala, which assisted the research of over five thousand scholars and research students internationally. He lives in the US.

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. We will also be translating them into English.