Profile: Lobsang Sangay, elected head of Tibet Government in Exile

Lobsang Sangay(42), international law expert, has been elected as the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile on Wednesday, 27th April 2011.

Lobsang Sangay was born at Lamhatta in a Tibetan refugee settlement in the eastern Indian hill town of Darjeeling. His parents had fled Tibet in 1959, following the Dalai Lama as the Chinese clamped down on an uprising against their occupation. He went to the Central School for Tibetans in nearby Sonada. He had a humble beginning and he lugged wood to light kitchen fire at home as a youngster. He had a spartan childhood, and has often in interviews mentioned his enduring debt towards a cow that was sold to fund his education.

Lobsang Sangay greets a woman on the street during his election campaign in Dharamsala

He did his Plus Two at St Joseph’s College (North Point) in Darjeeling before graduating from Delhi University, where he also completed his LL.B, and moving to the US. There, he won the Fulbright Fellowship and earned his LL.M and doctorate from the Harvard Law School. In April 2008, he testified as an expert before the US Senate Foreign Relations Sub- committee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

He was associated with Tibetan Youth Congress. Participated in pro Tibetan movements . He spent few days in Tihar jail in the late 1990s after being picked up during a Chinese government demonstration while he was a student in Delhi. China dubbed him as a terrorist for his views and associations for the Tibet cause. He was also involved in Track II talks with Chinese scholars.

He has never visited his ancestral homeland, but he dreams of freedom in Tibet. He regards India a second home. Lobsang Sangay despises the Dalai Lama’s middle way, and calls for self determination, a term often used by young radicals pressing for Tibet independence.

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