Tashi Namgyal's Answers to "10 Questions"

By Tashi Namgyal
North American Chitue candidate
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. 

Answers in Response to TPR's
"10 Questions for North American Chitue Candidates"

(1)  What, in your opinion, makes you qualified to represent North American Tibetans in the Parliament-in-Exile?

I have been privileged to dedicate more than three decades of my life in  the service of the Tibetan Government in Exile in the Indian subcontinent. I feel that I have worked with dedication, honesty, and sincerity in all the responsibilities that I have shouldered during this period. 

After resettling here in the United States, I have also served the Tibetan Association of Washington State as well as the broader Tibetan  community in North America in different positions for the past seven  years. Currently, I am privileged to be serving the larger Asian American  community in Washington State as a Commissioner of Asian Pacific American  Affairs, an advisory to our Governor. 

Therefore, my work with Dharamsala has given me a good understanding of  the situation of the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet.  My experience in  North America has enabled me to understand what role the Tibetan Americans  and Tibetan Canadians can and should play in the land of our adopted countries that can be benefit the people of Tibet. 

With humility, I would like to say that these characteristics make me confident to be able to represent the Tibetans in North America in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. 

(2)  What would you do as Chitue to best represent the interests of Tibetans in North America? 

If elected, I will act as a sincere spokesperson of the different Tibetan  communities in North America in Dharamsala and act as a bridge between  them. I will make efforts to strengthen and formalize the relationship between the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Tibetan Associations in  North America for the long term, considering the new reality of an  increasing number of our people being Tibetan Americans and Tibetan Canadians. 

(3)  What do you see are the short-term (1-5 years) priorities of the Parliament-in-Exile and what would you do as Chitue to deal with those priorities? 

 In addition to fulfilling the regular task that all parliamentarians have,  I see the restoration of credibility of the Tibetan Parliament as a short  term priority so that it works as the true representative of the Tibetan 
 people. In order to perform any task, big or small, the Parliament will need  to have the trust of the people. In recent years, the image of the Parliament  has been greatly tarnished as many parliamentarians failed to shoulder their  due responsibilities. 

If elected, I will use my voice and opportunity in bringing a positive  atmosphere in the parliament.  I think an act of one member can make a  difference in changing the attitude and I hope to contribute positively 
 toward this end. 

 In North America, I would like to see a joint gathering of all the Tibetan  Associations and Tibet related organization to strategize North America specific action plan to further the Tibetan issue. We need to see how the  Tibetans and our supporters can make ourselves more visible in the capitals  of United States and Canada. 

(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? 

 Unlike other parliaments around the world, we are in a unique situation of  living under very difficult conditions. The Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala is carrying forward the struggle on behalf of six millions Tibetans. 

The most important long-term priority is certainly the finding of a political solution to the Tibetan problem.  Secondly, we need to see how the Tibetan community in Diaspora can be strengthened so that the next generation of Tibetans in exile can inherit the best of Tibetan values while adapting to the changing conditions, whether social, cultural, economic, etc., of the society in which they are residing. 

 If elected, I shall make effort to see that the Parliament can be united in working on behalf of the Tibetan people and to provide the needed support to the administration in its efforts to find negotiated solution to the Tibetan problem. 

 I will also work to see that the Parliament plays its role of being a watchdog of the Administration and to provide positive and constructive criticism to improve the conditions of the Tibetan people.

(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?


 On the political level, finding a solution to the Tibetan issue will be the greatest issue that is before the TGIE. 

 Another challenge is the sustainability of Tibetan Settlements, which is  the basic fabric of the Tibetan struggle. 

If elected, I will work to support the farsighted vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a negotiated solution with the Chinese Government.

As for making the Tibetan settlements sustainable, given my experience as a settlement officer, I will be able to provide positive and critical suggestions in the plans that the Administration has and look for ways to suggest new initiatives, as and when necessary. 

(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. 

 The Tibetan Parliament has been set up both for political and administrative reasons. Politically, it has come to symbolize the voice of the six million Tibetans, particularly of the majority of Tibetans who are in Tibet and who cannot exercise their democratic rights. Administratively, the Parliament is the highest decision maker and watchdog of the CTA in its governance of the Tibetan community in exile. 

 As such, I do not foresee any major changes in the composition of the Chithue. 

The change that is required is in the attitude of the people elected to the parliament as I have outlined above. 

(7)  What amendments, if any, in the Charter for Tibetan Exiles would you recommend? 

 Taking a cue from the current election, I would like to see amendments in the Kalon Tripa and Chithue election rules so that there is clear guideline on issues like enabling voters to exercise their franchise under different circumstances as well as on the usage of campaign finance. 

(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? 

This is very serious issue. If His Holiness actually retires from active politic, that will leave a huge vacuum.

I cannot think of a situation when His Holiness retires completely from Tibetan political arena, especially under the prevailing circumstances.  Therefore, I support the request of the Tibetan people to His Holiness to continue in  leading the Tibetan people politically. 

 However, that request alone is not enough. I strongly feel that Tibetans need to  have thorough discussion on the pros and cons of His Holiness' retirement. 
We need to study and analyze the reasons that prompted His Holiness to make  such public statements now.   Are we Tibetans, individually andOrganizationally, shouldering our responsibilities and positively contributing to the fulfillment of our common objectives? The Tibetan Government in Exile  and the people need to think over this very seriously.


I am taking this opportunity to urge the Tibetans in North America not only give a serious thought to this very important issue but discuss every issue threadbare.

(9)  What are your views towards the Middle Way Policy (Ume Lam)  and Rangzen for Tibet?  Do you support either one or something else and  why? 

 In addition to my experience in exile, I have also had the privilege of visiting Tibet and seeing the situation of my homeland. Under the current situation and in the immediate interest of the Tibetan people, I support the middle way approach.  To me, the middle way policy is the best option to save the Tibetan cultural tradition and Tibetan identity from extinction or assimilation in Tibet while being supported by the international community.

(10) Is there anything else you would like to tell voters, about either yourself or the issues, on why they should vote for you as a North American Chitue? 

I would like to say that the Tibetan community in North America has one of  the privileged positions within the Tibetan community in exile. Our  comparatively better situation should make us see how we can make better 
 contribution to the Tibetan community. The best way we can do this is by  being a positive player, whether at the level of your local Association, in  North America or in Dharamsala. We have all seen how the misdeeds of a few  individuals not only bring shame and embarrassment but also that China makes  use of these to serve its own political interest. 

My commitment, if elected, is to work in the best interest of Tibetan people in general and North America Tibetans, in particular. I will readily resign from the parliament rather than be a part of any action that will discredit the Tibetan people.