By Dr. Tsewang Ngodup
North American Chitue candidate
Answers in Response to TPR's
"10 Questions for North American Chitue Candidates"
Dear Tibetan Political Review,
I am writing with great honor and humility to accept the nomination of North American Chitue during this unprecedented and very exciting time in our history in exile. At the same time, I take this opportunity to thank all those who are participating in the democratic process.
Thank you also for the email with the ten questions. I am attaching my response below and in addition, please find a brief bio to assist people with easy access to information.
It is a matter of great pride for us to see the progress our community has made and continues to make, something that is very evident with the responsibility you all have taken in creating and maintaining this very important website. It will serve as a crucial tool as we strive to become a modern democracy with full-fledged election campaigns.
Tsewang Ngodup, MD December 22, 2010
(1) What, in your opinion, makes you qualified to represent North American Tibetans in the Parliament-in-Exile?
It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and experience gained from years of education, professional life and community service coupled with my dedication will prove very useful if the North American Tibetans decide to vote me to represent them as their Chitue.
Over the years of working for the Minnesota Tibetan community, it has been my experience that being a physician is helpful in drawing attention and being able to serve our fledgling community. It is with humility I state that having the title of Chitue will further assist me in serving not only the Tibetan American community of Minnesota but our entire community in North America.
(2) What would you do as Chitue to best represent the interests of Tibetans in North America?
In order to serve the North America Tibetan community, I shall always be available to have open communication and dialogue with them. It shall be my constant endeavor to have their voices heard by the members of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Chitue Lhantsok. I believe that communication amongst stakeholders in our Diaspora is key to maintaining our community unified by common goals and beliefs. Therefore, I will do all I can to be a medium of communication between them.
One issue that is near and dear to all of us living in North America is teaching of Tibetan language to our younger generation. What the local Tibetan Associations have been able to achieve with limited resources is truly laudable. As Chitue, it will be my duty to support and strengthen them in every possible way. In addition, I shall seek OTNY's support in establishing a task force to work on a uniform curriculum which will be more user-friendly and hence effective to children growing up in North America.
In 2011, as the newly elected Kalon Tripa takes charge of the Central Administration, the Chitue Lhantsok will have to facilitate and guide the Kalon Tripa and Kashag in planning, implementing and evaluating the policies and programs. As a North American Chitue, I shall contribute by participating in deliberations, discussions and debates earnestly based on the issue at hand, keeping in mind the interest of the Tibetan people the foremost. I shall also strive to keep the North American Tibetan community, the youth in particular, constantly engaged with the CTA in every possible way.
(4) What do you see are the long term (5-10+ years) priorities of the Parliament-in-Exile and what would you do as Chitue to deal with those priorities?
Our main goal is to achieve a lasting solution to the Tibet issue. Until this is fulfilled, we need to keep the entire Tibetan Diaspora united and committed to the cause. More importantly, we must be able to gain the trust and maintain the faith of our brothers and sisters living in Tibet. In order to reach these objectives, we must have leaders who are dedicated and trustworthy both in words and deeds. It shall be my priority to work whole heartedly towards accomplishing these goals by motivating others, recruiting talented youngsters and aligning our efforts.
(5) What do you see are the greatest issues or problems currently facing the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and what recommendations would you make to deal with those issues?
In the last five decades, the Central Tibetan Administration has done remarkably well, thanks to the excellent leadership of His Holiness, the dedicated service of its staff, the generosity of India, the kindness of donors and active participation by our people. However, understandably, it has many pressing challenges. Two of which come to my mind include retention of its staff members and viability of Tibetan settlements. There cannot be easy solutions to these issues. We would need to study what steps CTA has taken so far in dealing with these concerns. Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche has already stated that there has been an in-depth study and we should hope that the results of this study will help in implementing a long term plan.
As Chitue, it will be my duty to study these issues, see that these are brought up for discussion, and that concrete steps are taken to address them.
(6) What changes, if any, would you recommend concerning the Parliament-in-Exile? Examples could be in the term of office for Chitues or the current regional make-up of the Chitue representatives?
We need to bear in mind the prevailing conditions (social, political and economical) of our community, and have sincere appreciation for the novel and unique system of representation in Chitue Lhantsok that was proposed by His Holiness back in 1960. Although not without its drawbacks, it has served us well in many respects. At the same time, in a democracy, people have the right to and should practice it faithfully so as to propose changes to meet the current needs and future challenges. As North America Chitue, I shall remain open to suggestions on this issue and participate in discussions keeping the long term goals in mind.
(7) What amendments, if any, in the Charter for Tibetan Exiles would you recommend?
Honestly, it may be premature for me to suggest any amendment to our charter. Having said that, as a Chitue, I shall be open to an amendment allowing a Kalon, having served two consecutive terms, if elected, to serve as Kalon Tripa for one term.
(8) How do you think His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s retirement from politics would affect the Tibetan struggle and what suggestions would you make to the Exile Government for handling the issue of His Holiness’ retirement from politics?
His Holiness has very clearly stated what He means by 'retirement' and that He shall be writing to Kashag and Chitue Lhantsok in this regard. Therefore, we should wait until His Holiness provides His thoughts in writing. The most important thing to remember is that His Holiness has, time and again assured us that He is and shall remain committed to lead the Tibetan cause. On our part, we should continue to have unwavering faith in His wisdom and leadership and as Tibetan people, we should appeal for Him to continue guiding us until the Tibet issue is resolved.
It was sometime in 1970's when I was still in middle school in India that I got to read a short column in a newspaper. In it, His Holiness mentioned that the 'happiness' of Tibetan people is the goal of our struggle. Since then, I have always kept that as the goal and the guiding principle of our collective struggle. Hence, even though I personally support the middle way policy of the CTA, I have full respect for those advocating for rangzen as they are only fortifying our visions for a Tibetan democracy by practicing their right to express their own views. We should see these diverse viewpoints and debates in our community as a positive force striving towards the very 'happiness' of the Tibetan people, regardless of their means of achieving this destination. We should never forget that despite these diverse viewpoints that are inevitable in any community, we are all working towards a common goal: preserving our unique heritage and culture while also ensuring a sustainable solution to the Tibet issue.
It has been a great privilege and I consider it an auspicious fate to have served our community for many years. I look back with gratitude and appreciation for all the wonderful opportunities. If entrusted with serving the North American Tibetan community as a Chitue, I assure you all to do my very best and serve with dedication and, just like I have always done, put the interest of the Tibetan people at the forefront.
Your support is valued and welcomed.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tsewang Ngodup, M.D; Pediatrics (India) and Medicine (U.S.A.)
Department of Family & Community Medicine, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis
Current Community service and involvement:
Past Community service: