By Tenzin Sangmo
The President of the Global Tibetan Student Union and Mr. Tibet 2017, Madon Nyima (left), Chime Lhamo and Education minister Pema Yangchen, Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSALA, August 9: Toronto based activist Chemi Lhamo bagged the first Tibetan Youth Icon award at a ceremony held this evening at the Upper TCV school Herman Gmeiner Auditorium. The Education Minister of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Pema Yangchen, presided over as the Chief Guest, and presented the award and a cheque of Rupees one hundred thousand to Lhamo.
Lhamo, the president of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, majoring in Psychology & Neuroscience flew to Dharamshala to receive the award.
Global Tibetan Student Union (GTSU), announced the launch of the maiden award last month at a press conference held in Dharamshala. The five finalists were judged by their social media engagement and a 5-member special committee of socially engaged individuals.
Lhamo, in her acceptance speech, called our parents’ generation, the one of survival, and ours as one of actualization.
“Every Tibetan born after 1959 is born an activist. You, if you wish, have a purpose and you have a meaning, the word is Tibet. This would give you meaning and purpose, which people in the outside world are always looking for, whether is a political path, the spiritual path, or any other path that you take, there is a path that is waiting for a leader like you that’s sitting here or watching at home,” she said.
Lhamo, earlier this year battled an onslaught of hostility from Chinese students over her election as the president of the Scarborough Campus Student Union, owing to her Tibetan heritage and involvement in political activism.
The Chinese students launched an online petition to question her election and qualification, which soon translated into abusive comments on social media and death threats. The situation, however, was covered by global media bolstering her profile as a student leader and a Tibetan activist.
The frenzy surrounding Tibetan supporters’ bid to advance their choice of candidates in the social media engagement criterion led several Tibetan netizens to speak publicly about the need for restraint and the significance of recognizing all the five nominees for their stellar work and not drag it down a narrow communal path.
Speaking to media afterwards, Lhamo thanked His Holiness the Dalai Lama, her parents and teachers for their blessings. “I am much motivated by this recognition from our community. It’s a great feeling to be recognized for one’s work,” said Lhamo.
Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari —a young member of Tibetan parliament-in-exile and president of Gu-Chu-Sum: Tibetan Political Prisoner's Movement, Gonpo Dhondup —the youngest president of Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Kalsang Tashi — former president of SFT Bangalore and Tenzin Yangchen —president of Yangchen’s Medical team were adjudged runners up respectively.
The President of the Global Tibetan Student Union and Mr. Tibet 2017, Madon Nyima said even though everyone in the Tibetan community agrees on the importance of youngsters who holds big responsibilities, there needs to be recognition of good work to support and inspire.
He said successive leaders of the student union would continue the award in the future.
The event is sponsored by Norgay handicrafts, Mandala Telecom and Menlha.