By Yungdung Tsomo
DHARAMSALA, 13 July: After defeating cancer, Tenzin Passang has been appointed as the new national director of Students for Free Tibet-India.
“SFT is excited to announce Tenzin Passang as the new national director of Students for Free Tibet-India,” SFT-India has announced after her predecessor Rinzin Choedon “stepped down after five incredible and action-packed years.”
A daughter of a Tibetan Refugee in India, Passang has formerly served as the SFT-India’s Programs Director. SFT has described her as a passionate activist who actively participated in the campaigns and activities of SFT since her college days.
SFT has said that “since joining the SFT India team as the Programs Director in 2021, Passang has successfully organized key programs such as the ‘Free Tibet! Action Camp’ in 2022, and Little Lhasa Program in 2022 and 2023, all while overcoming a tremendous battle with cancer.”
“We are so proud of all that she has accomplished with the SFT family and look forward to all the work that is left until our shared vision for a #FreeTibet is realized,” the activist group has said as Passang embarks on her new role as the national director of SFT-India.
Passang told the Tibet Express that she feels a sense of accomplishment and bravery in advocating for the Tibetan struggle.
The young activist who defeated cancer says that the experience made her stronger and that she feels as if she had been granted a second chance at life and that she intends to embrace it fully.
Passang assumed the role of the new national director of SFT-India last week. Her future plans include working towards the development of teams within the organisation as she aims to enhance staff collaboration and effectiveness in future campaigns and activities of the SFT.
Passang holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of the most highly regarded universities in India. Her journey with the SFT dates back to 2017 when she was a college student.
She attended SFT India’s ‘Free Tibet! Action in 2017 as a participant, and again in 2019 as a student trainer. In 2020, she interned at SFT India, where she helped coordinate key projects, including a solidarity initiative with the global campaign to #save12HKYouths, an initiative to stand in solidarity with the 12 Hong Kong activists arrested under the National Security Law.
She says that “she developed a strong inspiration to join SFT and actively promote the Tibetan cause while advocating for the Tibetan Freedom struggle” after “one of her Indian classmates asked her if she planned to return to Tibet as if it were a part of India.”
She maintained that this encounter prompted her to feel the need to raise greater awareness about Tibet and its distinct identity. As a result, she became involved with SFT in Delhi, likely participating in their activities and campaigns to advance the cause of Tibet.
Passang succeeds Rinzin Choedon as the new national director of SFT-India.
SFT has announced that after five incredible and action-packed years, Choedon has stepped down as National Director of SFT India. Rinchoe has spent over a decade “inspiring and training the next generation of Tibet activists.”
SFT, an international organization known for its innovative ways of advocating for a free Tibet was founded in New York City by a group of Tibetans and young students and supporters on the bedrock of the critical role students and young people have played in freedom struggles throughout history in 1994, SFT has now grown into an international network of students and non-students in more than 35 countries.