Secretary of State Colin Powell has designated Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Global Affairs, as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues in the Bush Administration. Dobriansky will take on this responsibility in addition to her current position.

In appointing an Under Secretary of State, Powell has elevated the stature of the position from the Assistant Secretary level of the last Tibet coordinator.

“We are extremely pleased that Secretary Powell has filled this position with a person of such ability and standing within the State Department,” said John Ackerly, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.

“In naming a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues within the State Department, the administration has clearly demonstrated its commitment to safeguarding the Tibetan identity and interest in promoting a negotiated solution to the Tibet issue,” said Ackerly.

The timing of this appointment is significant as the new Special Coordinator will be in place to meet with the Dalai Lama during his May 23-24 visit to Washington, D.C.

The central objective of the Special Coordinator’s office is to promote substantive dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and his representatives. The office also maintains close ties with the NGO community and the public. Consistent with the overall U.S. goal of promoting the protection of human rights in China, this office will advance this goal in Tibet and seek to assist in preserving the unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage of Tibetans.

Before being appointed Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Dobriansky was the Vice President and Director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has served as the Associate Director of the Bureau of Policy and Programs at the U.S. Information Agency from 1990 to 1993; as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs from 1987 to 1990; and in the office of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council from 1980 to 1987. She is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and received both her Master’s degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University

Dobriansky is the third Tibet Coordinator. She succeeds Julia Taft, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration and Gregory Craig, former Director of Policy Planning.