Her assistant, Andrea Harrington, is quoted in media reports as saying that she died in her sleep at her Washington area home.
“Kirkpatrick’s health had been in decline recently,” Harrington is quoted as saying.
A strong admirer of the Dalai Lama and supporter of the rights of the Tibetan people, Ambassador Kirkpatrick was a member of the International Campaign for Tibet’s International Council of Advisors, a select group of prominent leaders from all fields.
Upon learning of an initiative by Members of Congress to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama, Kirpatrick wrote to the sponsors of the legislation in the House of Representatives last June, saying, “I am writing to tell you of my personal pleasure at your active support for awarding the 14th Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal which more than almost anything signals the esteem and appreciation of Americans and the U.S. Congress for the tireless work of the Dalai Lama on behalf of the Tibetan people, and more broadly on behalf of peace, freedom, and human rights for all. When the Congress and the American people honor him, they (we) honor the values to which he has devoted his life. I see the Dalai Lama is a model of commitment and love. Thank you for your support of this good man and this good cause.”
“With her passing away, the world has lost a human rights defender and the Tibetan people a committed supporter of their rights,” said Mary Beth Markey, Executive Director of International Campaign for Tibet.
Kirkpatrick regularly made references to the situation in Tibet in her remarks and publications, criticizing the policies of the Chinese Government. In a 2001 letter to Lodi Gyari, ICT’s Executive Chair, she said, “The Tibetan people have suffered deeply and long. Their country and their religion and culture have been devastated by the policies of the government of China. Every independent investigation of China’s policies in Tibet have testified to the systematic violation of Tibet’s rights and the acts of genocide which Tibetans are systematically subjected. The U.S. government, which was founded on the affirmation of human rights in our Declaration of Independence, has special obligations to work hard for the amelioration of the conditions under which today Tibetan’s strive to survive and to preserve their religion and culture.”
In an interview for the documentary, Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion, Kirkpatrick said, “What the west has done is avert its eyes while genocide takes place in Tibet.”
Kirkpatrick had three sons, Douglas Jordan, John Evron, and Stuart Alan, two of whom survive her. Douglas Jordan passed away earlier this year. Her husband, Evron M. Kirkpatrick, passed away in 1995. Her son Stuart Alan has been recognized as the Tibetan Buddhist master Traktung Rinpoche, a direct mind incarnation of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, a renegade Master and mystic who lived in Tibet during the 19th Century, and heads the Buddhist Center Tsogyelgar in Ann Arbor, Michigan.