By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 19: A Tibetan student Pema Gyaltsen was awarded the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s Memorial Gold medal for securing the highest marks in Environmental Science from JSS Academy for Higher Education & Research in Mysore on last week.
Gyaltsen told Phayul that his choice of subject has been influenced by his early schooling, “When I was enrolled in TCV Chauntra, I volunteered for environmental work. My friend and I started a small group called Sabon Gyeba where we’d clean the premises, took care of the environment, and planted trees. I had a huge interest in science from then on.” He also said that he took inspiration from the conferences he attended on Mind & Life, presided by the Dalai Lama in South India where the spiritual leader repeatedly emphasized environmental preservation.
The 26-year-old said that he has a great interest in working for the Tibetan community and believed that it is the responsibility of the youth to make the best use of education. He urged other young college students to grab this opportune time, “As Tibetans, we have so much to do. By getting this gold medal, I didn’t feel fully satisfied because I think we can do more. Many of my fellow Tibetan students are even brighter than me but some of them do not have the will to pursue great things. I just want to tell them to really focus on their careers.”
The awardee plans to pursue another MA degree in Project Management and has already received a scholarship from Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan through the Sherig Department. “After two years, if CTA calls me back, I will definitely come back to serve. If there is no need for me to come back, I will continue to work for my community in whatever capacity possible,” he further remarked.
Gyaltsen who is from Kham Drango in eastern Tibet came into exile in 2005. He did his schooling from TCV Chauntra and subsequently from TCV Bylakuppe. He obtained his master’s degree this year by topping the department and secured 2nd rank in the Faculty of Life Sciences. He was also the former General Secretary of the All India Tibetan Students’ Association Meet (AITSAM) and a member of the Mysore Tibetan Students’ Association (MTSA).