By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 25: Long-time ally of the Tibetan people and the Speaker of the US House of Representative Nancy Pelosi was awarded the 2020 edition of the Free Spirit award here on Wednesday.
The founder and Director of the award Lobsang Wangyal said that the award is “appreciation and love from a small Himalayan village” for Pelosi’s advocacy for peace, justice and freedom worldwide. “Tibetans are lucky to have her as an ally for decades. She was instrumental in many of the pro-Tibet initiatives in Capitol hill, including the Congressional medal being awarded to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2007,” Wangyal said during a press conference where he made the announcement.
Speaker Pelosi, a veteran Democrat leader has been a vocal critic of human rights abuses all over the world, particularly China for the regime’s repressive policies in Tibet, East Turkestan and recently in Hong Kong. Her association with the Tibetan people spans decades; she made two visits to Dharamshala in 2008 and 2017 when she led a bipartisan congressional delegation from the United States. Pelosi has said the free world will have lost its moral authority to speak about human rights if it did not speak up against Chinese oppression in Tibet. “The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world,” Pelosi said in Dharamshala in 2017.
Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking serving female politician in the US. She is the incumbent Speaker of the United States House of Representatives since 2019, and from 2007 to 2011 as well.
Award director Lobsang Wangyal said Congressman Jim McGovern, US politician who has advocated and introduced pro-Tibet bills in the house, and Greta Thunberg, the teenage environmentalist were nominees for this year’s award. The Free Spirit Award was created in 2003 to honour and show appreciation for the works of artistes and individuals working for peace, justice, and social and environmental issues around the world.