Washington, DC — The political leader of Tibet Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay was presented with a citation from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on 15 June in recognition of the achievements made by the Central Tibetan Administration.
When he accepted the citation Sikyong said the democratic system in exile is thanks to the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
"This recognition and honour of Tibetan democracy will send a strong message of hope to the Tibetans inside Tibet and a message of solidarity to the Tibetan political prisoners," he told the audience.
Sikyong then discussed the evolution of Tibetan democracy from when His Holiness supported the formation of a democratic administration in the 1960's to 2011 when His Holiness devolved all his political authority to an elected leadership.
"His Holiness was barely 24 at the time when he lost his country, but even at that tender age, he had a vision for democracy in exile. A democracy without borders. And in 1960 itself, Tibetans elected members of the parliament and the Tibetan parliament was formed," he added.
The citation was awarded by the chairman of the board of directors at NED, Martin Frost in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a number of other guests who have supported the Tibetan struggle, including Nancy Pelosi, Richard Gere and senator Diane Feinstein.
During the presentation Frost commended the Central Tibetan Administration for its commitment to democracy in spite of the many challenges it has faced.
"The Tibetan diaspora numbers about 1,50,000. The emergence of this strong, unified, tolerant and educated community didn't happen by chance. And its success was neither predetermined nor guaranteed. To survive as a community in exile, it's a challenge in the best of circumstances. But the Tibetan community under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai lama and the Central Tibetan Administration has thrived."
"The Tibetan diaspora, once housed mainly in the camps and settlements of India, is now global. Even after six decades of exile, Tibetans have retained a distinct sense of identity and community. There are many reasons to honour the Central Tibetan Administration but principal among them is the establishment of an effective and representative government. The CTA has grown significantly for the last 60 years. At the core of the CTA is a commitment to democratic values and institutions, electing members of parliament since 1960's and directly electing the Sikyong since 2001," he said.
"This recognition by NED is a symbol of our democratic solidarity with the Tibetan people," he added.