Exile Tibetan leadership congratulates new US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

Under Secretary Uzra Zeya, the newly appointed US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Image: Twitter/@UnderSecStateJ.

DHARAMSALA, 24 Dec:  The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as well as the political head of the Tibetan people, Penpa Tsering and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, have extended their congratulations to the US Under Secretary Uzra Zeya’s appointment as the new US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.

Congratulating Uzra Zeya, the newly appointed US Special Coordinator, the Dalai Lama said in a missive addressed to her that he hopes “she will be able to contribute significantly towards improving the situation of the Tibetan people.”

The Tibetan Nobel Laureate has further reiterated that “continued and consistent American support has been a source of great encouragement to Tibetans in our peaceful struggle for freedom and dignity” and added that though he has devolved his political power, “I remain concerned about the survival of the Tibetan identity, our distinctive culture and heritage and the protection of Tibet’s fragile natural environment.”

“I am pleased to see that in your first remarks, you mentioned that these will be your priorities,” the Dalai Lama said and added that “I look forward to meeting you and exchanging views on issues that can benefit from your support and initiatives. I am sure you will be in close contact with our elected Tibetan leadership.”

The octogenarian Tibetan leader also maintained that “he is encouraged to see that in addition to co-ordinating Tibetan issues, concern for democracy is also part of Ms Zeya’s portfolio and that the US recently held a democracy summit.”

“I firmly believe the United States can play a leadership role in promoting awareness of the fundamental values of democracy, freedom, and human rights,” he concluded.

The Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) President Penpa Tsering has also congratulated Uzra Zeya on behalf of the CTA and Tibetan people.

“We really look forward to working with the Special Coordinator for Tibet in her new capacity,” the CTA President said.

President Tsering has also thanked the US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for appointing a new Special Coordinator for Tibet within a year into Biden’s administration and commended the newly appointed US Special Coordinator for Tibet’s long track record of service as a diplomat in the US Foreign Service.

“In the light of her service as an American diplomat in various capacities, we are very aware of her commitments to the defence of human rights and freedom all around the world.”

Extending his “heartiest congratulations,” to the US Special Coordinator for Tibet on behalf of all the Tibetans living across the world and the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile,  Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel wrote, “We are very honored to have you coordinate the US government policies, programs, and projects concerning Tibetan issues.”

Expressing his gratitude to the “US government for the timely appointment,” he added,  “we are very hopeful that your effort will bring positive developments in the resumption of dialogue between the People’s Republic of China and the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

“We are confident that under your coordination the US will press human rights violations happening inside Tibet, strive on the preservation of the environment of the Tibetan plateau, and work on protection of the unique culture, religion, and identity of Tibetans,” he concluded.

The senior official from the Biden administration will now serve as the seventh US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.

Robert Destro(2020 – 2021) was the last US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues preceded by Sara Sewall (2014-2017), Maria Otero (2009-2013), Paula Dobriansky (2001-2009), the late Julia Taft (1999-2001) and Gregory Craig (1997-1999).

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