“The Senate has offered a wonderful tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to service of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people,” said Gare Smith, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet, and a past Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. “Lodi Gyari has worked for decades as a skilled diplomat to advance the vision of His Holiness in diplomatic circles. This resolution is a fitting way to honor Lodi, as he understood early on the essential role that the U.S. Congress could play in elevating, promoting and institutionalizing the Tibetan issue in the U.S.government and the international community.”
The resolution was introduced on September 13 by Sen. John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John McCain (R-AZ), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Mark Udall (D-CO).
In June 2012, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamsala accepted the resignation of Lodi Gyari as Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama following the devolution of power from the Dalai Lama to the elected Tibetan leadership. In this role, he was the representative of the Dalai Lama in talks with the Chinese government, of which there were nine formal rounds between September 2002 and January 2010. Mr. Gyari continues to serve as a member of the CTA’s Task Force on dialogue with China, and as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet.
The text of the resolution follows. Chairman Kerry’s press release on it can be found here »
S. Res. 557
Whereas Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, who was born in Nyarong, Kham in 1949, was recognized according to Tibetan Buddhist tradition as a reincarnate lama and began his monastic studies at 4 years of age in Lhumorhab Monastery, which was located in what is now Kardze Prefecture, Sichuan Province;
Whereas, in 1958, 9-year-old Lodi Gyari fled Nyarong with his family to avoid pursuit by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and was said to have led his group to safety in India through prayer and divinations;
Whereas Lodi Gyari, as a young man in India, began a career-long commitment to the Tibetan struggle against Chinese oppression in Tibet, becoming editor for the Tibetan Freedom Press, founder of the Tibetan Review, the first English language journal published by Tibetans in exile, and a founding member of the Tibetan Youth Congress;
Whereas Lodi Gyari served as a civil servant in the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as Chairman of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, and as a Deputy Cabinet Minister for the Departments of Religious Affairs and Health and Cabinet Minister for the Department of Information and International Relations;
Whereas, in 1991, Lodi Gyari moved to the United States in the capacity of Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and was soon after selected to be President of the International Campaign for Tibet;
Whereas, for 3 decades, Lodi Gyari has met with leaders and diplomats of governments around the world and with Members of the United States Congress and parliaments of other nations–
- to explain the Tibetan position with regard to engagement with China;
- to urge supportive strategies and policies from governments;
- to explain the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” philosophy of seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet within the People’s Republic of China that contributes to harmony between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples; and
- to promote Tibetan statecraft as the Dalai Lama’s senior ambassador-at-large;
Whereas, during his time as Special Envoy based in Washington, DC, Congress approved many policy and programmatic measures on Tibet, which served to institutionalize the Tibet issue within the Government of the United States, most notably the establishment of a Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues within the Department of State and support for Tibetan refugees;
Whereas, in 1999, Lodi Gyari became a United States citizen;
Whereas in May 1998, His Holiness the Dalai Lama authorized Special Envoy Lodi Gyari to be the principal person to reestablish contact with the Chinese government on the Tibetan issue;
Whereas, between September 2002 and January 2010, Lodi Gyari led the Dalai Lama’s negotiating team in 9 formal rounds of meetings with Chinese officials with tireless drive and immense skill, winning the respect of the international community;
Whereas Lodi Gyari presented the Chinese government with the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People and its accompanying Note, thus detailing the Tibetan side’s vision for a political solution for Tibet consistent within the framework of the Chinese constitutional and laws on autonomy;
Whereas Lodi Gyari, in service to the Dalai Lama, came to represent in national capitals around the world, the great hope and conviction that the rights of Tibetans could be protected and their repression could be ended.
Whereas, in the personally and professionally difficult task of representing Tibetan interests in dialogue with the People’s Republic of China, Lodi Gyari demonstrated spirit, intelligence, and extraordinary tact, and brought civility, reason and a measure of mutual understanding to the Tibetan-Chinese relationship;
Whereas Lodi Gyari has credited the far-sighted wisdom of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in empowering the Tibetan people by his devolution of his political authority to an elected Tibetan leadership; and
Whereas, Lodi Gyari resigned his position, effective June 1, 2012, in the context of the deteriorating situation inside Tibet, including increasing incidents of Tibetan self-immolations, and expressing deep frustration over the lack of positive response from the Chinese side in their nearly 10-year dialogue, and in respect for the process of the devolution of political power to the elected Tibetan leaders.
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate–
- honors the service of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari as Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama;
- commends the achievements of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari in building an international coalition of support for Tibet that recognizes–
(A) the imperative to preserve the distinct culture and religious traditions of Tibet; and
(B) that the Tibetan people are entitled under international law to their own identity and dignity and genuine autonomy within the People’s Republic of China that fully preserves the rights and dignity of the Tibetan people;
- acknowledges the role of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, as a naturalized United States citizen, to promoting understanding in the United States of the Tibetan people, their culture and religion, and their struggle for genuine autonomy, human rights, dignity, and the preservation of unique linguistic, cultural, and religious traditions; and
- strongly supports a political solution for Tibet within the People’s Republic of China that satisfies the legitimate grievances and aspirations of the Tibetan people.