SFT Interim Executive Director Tenzin Dolkar
DHARAMSHALA, July 15: Students for a Free Tibet, the global grass roots network of students and activists working for Tibet’s independence, is all set to see a change in its top leadership, the group has announced.
Tenzin Dolkar, a long time activist and Deputy Director of the group, will be taking over as Interim Executive Director from Tenzin Dorjee, while Pema Yoko, another SFT veteran, will take the post of Deputy Director. Although no specific dates have been given, the final transition is expected to take place sometime this summer.
Dolkar was born in India and moved to the U.S. as a child where she studied biology and anthropology at Mount Holyoke College. Working through local SFT chapters, she joined the group’s headquarters in New York in 2009.
Yoko was born and raised in London and joined SFT UK as National Coordinator in 2007. She has been credited with organising many actions around the world, including in London, Athens, Cannes, and Beijing. She joined SFT headquarters in 2012 as International Grassroots Director.
Announcing the transition, outgoing Executive Director Tenzin Dorjee, in a statement introduced the new team of leaders as “talented, dynamic, and relentless.”
Dorjee will be stepping down after working with SFT for nine year to “pursue further studies and to focus more of my time on other areas of importance within the Tibet movement.”
“For the last nine years, I've had the great privilege to serve in the Tibetan freedom struggle by working with Students for a Free Tibet,” Dorjee said. “It has been an unparalleled blessing to have been a part of SFT's strategic campaigns, hard-hitting actions, hands-on trainings, and unrivaled team of activists, students and organizers for all these years.”
SFT Outgoing Executive Director Tenzin Dorjee
He noted that the group, spread across 40 countries, is “redefining” the Tibetan freedom struggle by dedicating time and resources to “new avenues of activism emphasising the primacy of Tibetan agency, grassroots empowerment, noncooperation and civil disobedience, and strategic nonviolence.”
“By supporting homegrown campaigns such as Lhakar and the Tibetan Renaissance initiatives, we have endeavored to promote low-risk, high-impact actions among Tibetan activists both in and outside Tibet,” Dorjee said. “Through our campaigns and actions, we have not only kept the spotlight on the tragedy of Tibet's current crisis but also managed to create a bold new space where Tibetans and supporters can take action regardless of their political ideologies or practical circumstances.”
He further stated that the Chinese government’s control over Tibet is losing strength and legitimacy every day.
“Amid the ongoing tragic wave of self-immolations, he we must look beyond the headlines to see and hear the uplifting stories of cultural renaissance, economic noncooperation and creative resistance that have transformed Tibetan activism,” Dorjee said. “In the bigger arc of Tibetan resistance, the Chinese government has already been defeated; its control over Tibet is losing strength and legitimacy every single day.”
Formed in 1994, SFT, a chapter-based network of young people and activists
around the world, works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence. Through education, grassroots organising, and non-violent direct action, SFT campaigns for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom and empowers and trains youth as leaders in the worldwide movement for social justice.