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First US city mayor of Tibetan heritage set for Dharamshala visit

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(, Dec02’22) – The first person of Tibetan heritage to hold a prominent elective office in the United States is to visit Dharamshala and meet with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, reported the Dec 1. The report was not clear when the visit will take place.

The report cited a release from the Cincinnati Mayor’s office as saying Mayor Aftab (Karma Singh) Pureval was personally invited to India with a cohort of mayors for the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama.

The report said the mayors and other public figures joining Pureval would include San Leandro, California, Mayor Pauline Cutter; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer; former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto; Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf; and Lonnie Ali, a philanthropist and widow of Muhammad Ali.

“I am honored to take part in this incredible opportunity to meet His Holiness and invite him to our bold, dynamic city,” Pureval was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Having a global leader visit Cincinnati would be huge, and as the highest-ranking elected Tibetan American in the country, my meeting with him showcases our city’s commitment to diversity and growing the city equitably.”

The report noted that the Dalai Lama had sent Pureval a letter full of prayers and well wishes for his mayor’s swearing-in ceremony, which took place on Jan 4, 2022.

Pureval, 40, is also the first Asian American mayor of Cincinnati, which is located in the state of Ohio. His mother is Tibetan and his father a Punjab-Indian.

The Democratic, 70th Mayor of Cincinnati was earlier the Clerk of Courts for Hamilton County, the seat of Cincinnati City, which is also an elective office.

Pureval, a Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, was the Democratic Party candidate for Ohio’s 1st congressional district, a Republican strong-hold but seen as flippable, for the 2018 election. He was one of 81 candidates endorsed by former President Barack Obama. He won 46.9% votes against the incumbent Republican representative’s 51.3%.

On January 14, 2021, he declared his candidacy for the Cincinnati mayoral election. On November 2, 2021 with 65.8% of the vote, he was elected as mayor making him the first Asian American to be elected as the mayor of Cincinnati.


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