By Tenzin Zompa
Dr. Dorjee (extreme right)
Dharamshala, June 13: The US Commission on International Religious Freedom unanimously elected the former commissioner Dr. Tenzin Dorjee as its chair and Kristina Arriaga and Gayle Minchin as vice chairs on Tuesday. The commissioners, in order to show support to the new chair, held the election openly rather than adhering to the usual procedure of voting anonymously by closed ballot. The tenure for his chairmanship will be of one year.
Dr. Dorjee is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton. He is a well-known translator of Tibetan and Buddhist works and also translated for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
As a Commissioner he has travelled to Burma and Iraq to monitor religious freedom conditions and testified before the U.S. Congress on religious freedom violations in Tibet and China.
Dr. Dorjee was first appointed to the Commission on December 8, 2016, by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He was reappointed on May 10, 2018.
In response to his election, Chair Dorjee said, “It is an honour and privilege to be unanimously elected Chair of the Commission. Our Commissioners bring a diverse array of complementary experiences and skills to the table, and we all share a collective commitment to the promotion of religious freedom or belief for those of all faiths and none.”
Dr. Dorjee continued, “The challenges to religious freedom around the globe are growing on a daily basis, but so too is our resolve to confront these challenges. As the first Tibetan Buddhist elected Chair, I look forward to leading this Commission over the next year in an inclusive way as we provide policy recommendations to the White House, the Secretary of State, and Congress on addressing the global challenges to freedom of religion or belief.”
Dr. Tenzin Dorjee told the VOA said that throughout his one-year tenure he will diligently work to lessen the religious problems in Tibet. He also mentioned that they will continuously demand for investigation on Tibet’s youngest political prisoner Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.