US Special Coordinator for Tibet arrives in Dharamsala

US Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues Ms Uzra Zeya arrives at the Central Tibetan Administration.

DHARAMSALA, 18 May: US Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues Ms Uzra Zeya arrived here at Dharamsala, the residence of the Dalai Lama and the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-exile commonly known as the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA).

The US Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues was received at the Gaggal airport near here by the CTA President Penpa Tsering, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel along with senior officials of the CTA and the representatives of the Tibetan NGOs.

The US delegation, headed by the Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues went directly to the Kashag(Cabinet) Secretariat of the CTA from the airport where they will be accorded an official welcome reception by the CTA.

She will be in Dharamsala until Friday and the itinerary of her visit includes meeting with the CTA President, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile,  visits to the Parliament, the Tibet Museum, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives on Wednesday.

On Thursday, she will call on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, attend a roundtable with Tibetan youth benefitting from Scholarship Programs Supported by USAID and Implemented by The Tibet Fund and CTA and tours to Tibetan Children’s Village School, Norbulingka Institute and Gyuto Monastery. She will fly back to Delhi on Friday.

Ms Zeya, the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights of the Biden Administration is currently on a six-day visit to India and Nepal “to deepen cooperation on human rights and democratic governance goals, and to advance humanitarian priorities,” the State Department has announced. 

The India-American Us diplomat tweeted “Namaste! Great to be back in New Delhi,” as she landed in the Indian Capital leading a US delegation that includes USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Anjali Kaur on Tuesday.

“She will also discuss partnering with India and Nepal during this Year of Action for the Summit for Democracy during their 17–22 May visit to the two countries,” the State Department added.

CTA’s Spokesperson Tenzin Lekshey declared the visit significant as it showcases the Biden administration’s commitment to the Tibetan cause.

It is the first high-level visit by a US diplomat to Dharamsala since Joe Biden assumed office in Jan 2021. 

Before coming to the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people, the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues has previously met with the CTA’s Representative of the Office of Tibet, Washington DC Dr Namgyal Choedup, CTA President Penpa Tsering as well as CTA’s Department of Information and International Relations(DIIR) Minister Norzin Dolma in the US. 

US Under Secretary Uzra Zeyathe is 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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