he US State Department-funded Tibetan Scholarship Program (TSP) celebrated 30 years of academic exchange between the Tibetan community and the United States at the Tibetan Children’s village school Dharamshala on 21st April. The celebration was organized by executive members of Tibetan Scholarship Program Alumni Association (TSPAA). It was one of the proudest moments for TCV family as almost all the executive members are former students of TCV.
The chief guest at the celebration was CTA President Dr. Lobsang Sangay and Education Kalon Dr. Pema Yangchen (who were both alumni of TSP), along with officials from the US embassy in New Delhi including Jillian Turner, Program Officer from the US State Department, Bryce Isham, First Secretary at the US embassy, and J P Das, Country Exchange officer at the American Center.
The celebration was attended by around 70 beneficiaries of the program which included some of the most notable members of the Tibetan community such as Thubten Samphel, Director of Tibet Policy Institute, Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Secretary of Department of Information and International Relations, Thupten Dorjee, President of Tibetan Children’s Village, Nangsa Choedon, former Secretary at CTA, Youdon Aukartsang and Dolma Tsering, Members of Tibetan Parliament, among others. Besides them, ten strong members from TCV who were a former recipient of TSP scholarship also attended the celebration.
President Dr. Lobsang Sangay spoke about the beneficial impact of the program on the Tibetan community and said that this program has provided numerous Tibetans with a once in a lifetime opportunity to study in the US and gain first- hand knowledge and experience of top US academic institutions.He thanked the US government for their generous support and urged for their continued assistance to the Tibetan community.
Education Kalon Dr. Pema Yangchen who is also an Ex TCV student spoke about her experience as an alumnus of the scholarship program and narrated incidents from her time as a student at the University of Northern Iowa. She described TSP as a blessing to Tibetans which enabled many to pursue the highest dreams of academic excellence. She also spoke about the importance of giving back to the community and urged all future recipients of the scholarship to return and serve the community.
Program Officer at the US State Department Jillian Turner explained the bipartisan support enjoyed by the Tibet issue within the US congress. Noting the benefits of the Tibetan scholarship program on the Tibetan community, she said irrespective of which administration comes into power at the US government, funding for TSP will continue as it is a congressionally driven fund.
Ms Tenzin Lhakmon moderated the function while Ms Dukthen Kyi and Ms Tenzin Lhadon delivered the opening remarks and gave a power point presentation on TSPAA programs and activities over the year. The vote of thanks was delivered by Tenzin Choephel, program coordinator at Tibet Fund.
Since its inception in 1988, the Tibetan Scholarship Program earlier known as Fulbright scholarship, has benefited about 443 Tibetans. Out of 443, 242 have pursued two-year master’s degree while 201 has enrolled in one year non-degree programs. They are now serving in 91 different institutions. However, 99 beneficiaries from the total 443 have defaulted, leaving the entire program in crisis at one time.
The President Mr. Lobsang Singe lauded the present executive members of TSPAA for their commendable job in organizing 30th anniversary of academic exchange between the Tibetan community and the United States in a very systematic and within a very short duration despite their busy schedule under Central Tibetan Administration.