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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

First Tibetan member of US global religious freedom body unanimously elected as its chair

Dr Tenzin Dorjee. (Photo courtesy: RFA)
Dr Tenzin Dorjee. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(TibetanReview.net, Jun14, 2018) – A Tibetan academic and Buddhist scholar has been unanimously elected on Jun 12 as the Chair of the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom. The commission monitors state of religious freedom across the world and recommends policy measures to the US government and congress to enforce compliance with universally recognized standards of freedom by rogue governments.

The new Chair, Dr Tenzin Dorjee, was reappointed to the commission by House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi on May 10 this year. She first appointed him to the commission on Dec 8, 2016.

As a Commissioner he has traveled to Burma (Myanmar) and Iraq to monitor religious freedom conditions and testified before the US Congress on religious freedom violations in Tibet and China.

Following his election, Chair Dr Tenzin Dorjee has said, “The challenges to religious freedom around the globe are growing on a daily basis, but so too is our resolve to confront these challenges. As the first Tibetan Buddhist elected Chair, I look forward to leading this Commission over the next year in an inclusive way as we provide policy recommendations to the White House, the Secretary of State, and Congress on addressing the global challenges to freedom of religion or belief.”

Dr Tenzin Dorjee is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). His primary teaching and research interests are intergroup, intercultural, and intergenerational communication, identity issues, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution. At CSUF he has received faculty recognition awards for outstanding achievements in teaching (2011), research (2013), and community service (2015).

He is also a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and has served as translator for the Dalai Lama.

The commission has also unanimously elected its two Vice Chairs: Kristina Arriaga, reappointed to the Commission by Speaker Ryan on May 21, 2018, and Gayle Manchin, appointed to the Commission by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Apr 19, 2018.

The commission is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission whose members, known as commissioners, are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties.

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