In the presence of the board and nearly 30 staff of the International Campaign for Tibet, Dr. Jan Andersson was thanked at a dinner in Pomaia, Italy last week for his decades of service to Tibet.
Andersson, who retired as the ICT Europe Board Chair in December 2022, was presented with a letter from the Dalai Lama saying: “You were there right from our early years – making efforts in Europe and the United States – when we were reaching out to the international community for support and at a time when the world only had very little knowledge about Tibet.”
ICT President Tencho Gyatso said: “I am filled with gratitude and inspiration as I join this celebration thanking Jan Andersson for his steadfast friendship and support for Tibetans and His Holiness. Jan is one of those people who believed the Tibetan people suffered great injustice and put his full weight and energies to work to further political support for Tibet. We Tibetans will forever remember the support of friends like Jan in this most difficult time in Tibet’s history. As President of ICT, I am particularly grateful for his leadership for ICT’s work in Europe.”
ICT Europe Board Chair Christina Jansen said: “Being successor to Jan Andersson as Chair of ICT Europe is a challenge in many ways. Jan has always been reliable and calm and with a great sense of humor as he guided the board members through meetings which could be pretty rowdy at times. I have admired him always as he clearly was able to combine his sharp wit with the aim to reach the best possible solution in any question that would arise. His motivation to throw his weight behind the Tibet issue, including religious freedom and problems of climate change, has stemmed from his decision to fight for justice for all Tibetans, inside Tibet as well as those living in other countries. I am very happy that Jan will support us a little longer as a board member and be part of our road ahead together with the ICT offices in the US and Germany.”
Service to Tibet
Born in Malmo, Sweden, Andersson is one of the most senior and recognizable faces in the Tibet movement.
As a student in the 1960s, he was inspired by the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, “My Land and My People,” to found the Swedish Tibet Committee in 1967 to advocate for Tibetan self-determination.
On a journey to India in 1969, Andersson met the Dalai Lama, an encounter that deeply impacted his life. He was later instrumental in organizing the Dalai Lama’s first trips to Europe and the United States in the 1970s.
Andersson was editor of the Swedish magazine Tibet (1971-1976) and the German-language Tibet Forum (1980-1996).
Andersson believed the Dalai Lama’s Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 opened doors to facilitate conversations with politicians and raise awareness among the public. He co-founded the Tibet Initiative Deutschland in 1989.
In 2007, Andersson organized the Dalai Lama’s visit to the University of Muenster, where the Tibetan leader was awarded an honorary doctorate in chemistry. Andersson was a professor of chemistry at the University of Muenster until his retirement.
Founding ICT Europe
In 1999, Andersson co-founded the International Campaign for Tibet Europe and served as its vice chair until 2018 and chairman until 2023.
In 2000, Andersson co-founded the International Campaign for Tibet Germany. He served as its chair until 2020.
ICT is the world’s largest Tibet support group, with offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin and Washington, DC.
Under Andersson’s visionary leadership, ICT Europe and ICT Germany have become prominent, influential advocacy organizations. Over the past 25 years, they have forged strong connections with governments, parliamentarians, the United Nations and other key entities.
Andersson’s strategic approach has provided much-needed stability, solidifying ICT Europe’s position as a leading advocate for Tibet-related issues, as well as fostering partnerships with international bodies and governments.
Through effective advocacy, ICT Europe has sparked meaningful dialogue and policy discussions, gaining increased attention and support for Tibet.
Under Jan Andersson’s leadership and guidance, ICT offices in Europe have stepped to the forefront of European advocacy, nurturing a dynamic network of partnerships that drive positive change.
With a steadfast commitment to amplifying Tibetan voices and advocating for their rights, ICT Europe’s legacy of impactful advocacy and partnership-building remains a testament to Andersson’s enduring dedication and the entire team’s efforts.
Today, Andersson continues to serve as a board member of the International Campaign for Tibet Europe and the International Campaign for Tibet Germany.
Despite the challenging political environment surrounding Tibet and the rise of China as a global power, Andersson remains hopeful. He emphasizes the importance of keeping alive the vision of a free Tibet and encouraging the preservation of Tibetan culture in exile.