(TibetanReview.net, Dec07’22) – Mr Aftab Karma Pureval, the first person of Tibetan heritage to hold a prominent elective office in the US, has called his Dec 5 meeting with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and said he was touched by the latter’s advice to focus his efforts also for the good of humanity.
“As the only elected Tibetan in the United States, and as a proud member of the Tibetan diaspora, it was a special moment for me to just be in his presence and to get an opportunity to ask him a question,” Pureval, the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, told the Central Tibetan Administration’s Tibet TV Dec 5.
“I will take his lessons of warm-heartedness, of advocating for and praying for all of humanity and all sentient beings, and compassion back to my city and my country and try to lead by example and make all Tibetans around the world proud of our culture and heritage and my work.”
Pureval has asked the Dalai Lama what he could do to advocate for Tibet in the United States as a member of the Tibetan diaspora. “And his answer was very simple — to focus not only on the Tibetan cause but to focus on the cause of humanity, to think about all sentient beings and to pray for them, which was very touching,” the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (rfa.org) Dec 5 quoted him as saying.
Pureval also had a message for Tibetans in Tibet, saying: “We feel your pain. We understand your struggle. You are not alone and you are not forgotten … The preservation of our culture, history and religion is a responsibility that those outside of Tibet feel very personally and very strongly.”
Pureval, 40, was part of a delegation of mayors from seven US cities — Louisville (Kentucky), Cincinnati (Ohio), Tacoma (Washington), Oakland (California), San Leandro (California), San Antonio (Texas), and Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania). It was led by Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky. Philanthropist Lonnie Ali, American boxing champion Muhammad Ali’s widow, also joined the delegation.
The Indian Tibetan lawyer made history last year when he was elected the first Asian American mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, defeating fellow Democrat David Mann.
Pureval, who previously served as the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts after winning the election for it, won the mayoral race after securing 33,124 (65.8%) of the city’s votes. He defeated City Councilor David Mann, a fellow Democrat.
He is a former federal prosecutor and an in-house attorney for Procter & Gamble, which is headquartered in Cincinnati. He also ran for Congress in 2018 but lost to Republican incumbent Steve Chabot who has represented Ohio’s 1st congressional district (OH-01) almost continuously since 1995.