The Tibet Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in New York City, NY, United States. Founded in 1981 under the auspices of the Dalai Lama, The Tibet Fund is the primary funding organization for the health, education, refugee rehabilitation, cultural preservation and economic development programs that enable Tibetans in exile and in their homeland to sustain their language, culture and national identity.
The work of The Tibet Fund is guided by the following priorities:
The story of The Tibet Fund is the story of the Tibetan people's perseverance and resourcefulness through decades of upheaval and exile. It is the story of survival and the preservation of culture and national identity.
The organization works closely with the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) departments of Finance, Health, Education, Home, and Religion and Culture in Dharamsala, India to implement programs for the more than 120,000 refugees living in settlements and scattered communities in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. As Tibetans continue to escape from Tibet and join the exile community, the resources of the already overcrowded settlement system are being stretched to the limit. Employment opportunities in the settlements are scarce, forcing families to leave their homes for months at a time to seek alternative sources of income. Out of concern for the long-term sustainability of the exile community, The Tibet Fund is working to support programs that will strengthen the refugees’ economic prospects and promote community cohesiveness.
The Tibet Fund has administered a major annual grant from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration for humanitarian aid since 1991 and a State Department-funded Tibetan Scholarship Program (TSP) since 1989. The TSP has enabled 380 Tibetan students to study in some of the best American universities and colleges and return to serve the exile community as officials in the CTA, and as educators, health workers, business leaders and heads of local community-based organizations. Both of these grant programs are having a significant impact on the refugees’ ability to thrive and create a resettlement model that is heralded as an outstanding example for other populations facing long-term displacement from their homelands.
In addition, with the support of many individuals and foundations, The Tibet Fund has funded numerous infrastructure and training projects — housing, computer labs, solar energy, agriculture and irrigation, and sanitation — over the years that have improved conditions and upgraded the technological resources and professional skills in the settlements and schools.
In 1994, The Tibet Fund initiated the Tibet Assistance Program to address the unmet health, educational and economic development needs of Tibetans in Tibet. Working with international and Tibetan grassroots organizations, it supports orphanages, eye clinics and remote eye camps, provide emergency relief for natural disasters and promote cultural and educational programs that are greatly improving the quality of life of thousands of marginalized Tibetans. The Tibet Fund offers scholarships for college-bound Tibetan youth who lack the resources to pursue higher education in Tibet and it has administered an English language and professional training program in Tibet and the US with support from the US Department of State.
Bhutan's early history is steeped in mythology and remains obscure. Some of the structures provide evidence that the region has been settled as early as 2000 BC. According to a legend it was ruled by a Cooch-Behar king, Sangaldip, around the 7th century BC, but not much is known prior to the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism in the 9th century, when turmoil in Tibet forced many monks to flee to Bhutan. In the 12th century, the Drukpa Kagyupa school was established and remains the dominant form of Buddhism in Bhutan today. The country's political history is intimately tied to its religious history and relations among the various monastic schools and monasteries.
The Central Tibetan Administration or CTA is an organisation based in India. The CTA is also referred to as the Tibetan Government in Exile which has never been recognized by China, however it is recognized by most Tibetans world-wide. The Tibetan diaspora and refugees support the CTA by voting for members of Parliament, the President and making annual financial contributions through the use of the "Green Book." Its internal structure is government-like; it has stated that it is "not designed to take power in Tibet"; rather, it will be dissolved "as soon as freedom is restored in Tibet" in favor of a government formed by Tibetans inside Tibet. In addition to political advocacy, it administers a network of schools and other cultural activities for Tibetans in India. On 11 February 1991, the CTA became a founding member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) at a ceremony held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.
The American Himalayan Foundation (AHF) is a non-profit organization in the United States that helps Tibetans, Sherpas, and Nepalis living throughout the Himalayas. AHF builds schools, plants trees, trains doctors, funds hospitals, takes care of children and the elderly, and restores sacred sites. The San Francisco-based organization also helps Tibetans rebuild and maintain their culture both in exile and inside Tibet.
Bhutan, officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet in the north, the Chumbi Valley of Tibet and the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal in the west, and the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh in the south and east. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second-least-populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and the largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center.
Tibetan Americans are Americans of Tibetan ancestry. Over 9,000 Americans have Tibetan ancestries.
Immigration to Bhutan has an extensive history and has become one of the country's most contentious social, political, and legal issues. Since the twentieth century, Bhutanese immigration and citizenship laws have been promulgated as acts of the royal government, often by decree of the Druk Gyalpo on advice of the rest of government. Immigration policy and procedure are implemented by the Lhengye Zhungtshog Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Department of Immigration. Bhutan's first modern laws regarding immigration and citizenship were the Bhutanese Citizenship Act 1958 and subsequent amendments in 1977. The 1958 Act was superseded by the Bhutanese Citizenship Act 1985, which was then supplemented by a further Immigration Act in 2007. The Constitution of 2008 included some changes in Bhutan's immigration laws, policy, and procedure, however prior law not inconsistent with the 2008 Constitution remained intact. Bhutan's modern citizenship laws and policies reinforce the institution of the Bhutanese monarchy, require familiarity and adherence to Ngalop social norms, and reflect the social impact of the most recent immigrant groups.
The history of Tibet from 1950 to the present started with the Chinese invading Tibet in 1950. Before then, Tibet had declared independence from China in 1913. In 1951, the Tibetans signed a seventeen-point agreement reaffirming China's sovereignty over Tibet and providing an autonomous administration led by Dalai Lama. In 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to northern India under cover where he established the Central Tibetan Administration. The Tibet Autonomous Region within China was officially established in 1965.
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE), officially the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration, is the unicameral and highest legislative organ of the Central Tibetan Administration. It was established and is based in Dharamshala, India. The creation of this democratically elected body has been one of the major changes that the 14th Dalai Lama brought about in his efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration. Today, the parliament consists of 45 members: ten members each from Ü-Tsang, Kham, and Amdo, the three traditional provinces of Tibet; the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bön faith elect two members each; four members are elected by Tibetans in the west: two from Europe, one from Australasia, one from North America and one from Canada. The Tibetan Parliament in Exile is headed by a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, who are elected by the members amongst themselves. Any Tibetan who has reached the age of 25 has the right to contest elections to the parliament.
The Green Book is a document issued since 1971 by the Central Tibetan Administration to Tibetans living outside Tibet, and described by the issuing organization as "the most official document issued by the Tibetan Government in Exile." More than 90 percent of Tibetan exiles own one. It serves as a receipt book for the person's "voluntary taxes" to the CTA, and has been described by a CTA official as "the passport of the exiled Tibetans to claim their rights from the Tibetan Government in Exile". The CTA says that in the future, the document "will become a base to claim Tibetan citizenship".
Lobsang Sangay is an Indian-born-American-Tibetan politician who is the Sikyong (President) of the Tibetan-government-in-exile, officially known as Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) since 2012 and previously served as Kalön Tripa from 2011 to 2012. Following his election, at the request of the 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile amended the organisation's bylaws to remove the Dalai Lama's executive authority, making Lobsang Sangay its highest leader. In 2012, to reflect this change, Lobsang Sangay's title as chief executive was changed from kalön tripa to sikyong.
The Tibetan diaspora are the diaspora of Tibetan people living outside Tibet.
Although Tibetan Canadians, or Canadians of Tibetan ancestry, comprise a small portion of Asian Canadians, Canada holds one of the largest concentrations of Tibetans outside Asia. Tibetans began immigrating to Canada as early as the early 1970s.
The Tibetan Nuns Project is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 dedicated to educating and supporting female Buddhist monastics in India from all Tibetan Buddhist lineages. It supports nuns interested in study and higher ordination. The mission of the Tibetan Nuns Project is to educate and empower nuns of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as teachers and leaders; and to establish, strengthen, and support educational institutions to preserve the Tibetan religion and culture. The organization supports seven nunneries and over 700 nuns in India.
Protests and uprisings in Tibet against the government of the People's Republic of China have occurred since 1950, and include the 1959 uprising, the 2008 uprising, and the subsequent self-immolation protests.
Nepal is home to 38,490 refugees officially recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees account for a large majority of Nepal’s refugee population.
The Tibetan Aid Project (TAP) is an operation of the Tibetan Nyingma Relief Foundation. TAP was founded in 1969 by Tarthang Tulku—a leading Tibetan master and teacher—to support the efforts of Tibetans to survive in exile and re-establish their cultural heritage. It is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization that primarily focuses on raising funds for the production, shipment and distribution of sacred texts, art and prayer wheels for the World Peace Ceremony in Bodh Gaya, India.
Lha Charitable Trust – Institute For Social Work and Education (Lha) is a grassroots, nonprofit organization, and one of the largest Tibetan social work organizations based in Dharamsala, India. It is the first organization that was established in exile to develop a primary focus on Tibetan social work. The Lha Charitable Trust was founded in 1997 and is registered as a charitable trust by the Himachal Pradesh government of India. Lha is managed by Tibetan refugees, is supported by volunteers and contributors from around the world, and serves refugees, the local Indian population and people from the surrounding Himalayan region. In a short period of time, the organization "has grown in leaps and bounds, from a small start-up with two computers to one of largest community based Tibetan NGOs in Dharamsala." Lha is a sacred Tibetan word that means "superior body" or "energy body", whereby the "Lha body" exists between the physical body and the mind.
Tsering Wangchuk, is a Tibetan politician and physician serving as the Kalon for Health of the Central Tibetan Administration since 2011.
Bhutanese Americans are Americans of Bhutanese descent. According to the 2010 census there are 19,439 Americans of Bhutanese descent. However, many Bhutanese came to the U.S. from Nepal as political refugees from that country and they surpass, according to some estimates, 70,000 people.
Anti-Tibetan sentiment refers to fear, dislike, hostility, and racism towards Tibetan people or anything related to Tibetan culture in general. Anti-Tibetan sentiment has been present in various regions of Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal at various points in time. Anti-Tibetan sentiment in South Asia is due to the presence of Tibetan immigrants in those countries. Anti-Tibetan sentiment in China is due to the fact that Tibet has been annexed by China on several occasions over the centuries which has created tension between the Tibetans and the Han Chinese.