My Journey

My Journey

My Journey


A first generation Tibetan born in exile in 1968. Son of late Mr. Jampa Kalden; the first Dapon of Establishment 22 and former Secretary of the Department of Security, CTA; and Mrs. Dicky Dolkar. Married to Lhanze Nelung Aukatsang. Active in the Tibetan freedom struggle and Tibetan community service since 1988. 23 years of direct service to the Tibetan struggle and community. Services rendered include Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (1988-1991); International Campaign for Tibet (1992-1996); Tibetan Association of Northern California (2005-2011); CTA (2011-2020); and Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America (2013-2016). Visited Tibet in 1996 and covered most of the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Over two decades experience in government relations, diplomacy, not-for-profit organizations, philanthropic advising, community development work and policy planning with emphasis on strategic planning, operations, fund raising, program design, research and analysis, writing, and project management.

 

 

 

Education

The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Boston (USA)
Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy (MALD)

  • Concentration in International Business Relations and Chinese Studies
  • Coursework included finance, international business strategy,
    & Chinese foreign policy
1996-1998
St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, India
Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in English Literature
1988-1991
St. Joseph’s Academy, Dehradun, INDIA 1986-1988
St. Augustine’s School, Kalimpong, INDIA 1975-1986
SFF Tibetan School, Chakrata, INDIA 1973-1975

 

 

Experience and Major Contribution

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)  2011 – 2020
  •  As the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) of CTA and SARD Director, I worked under the guidance of the Kashag and we succeeded in increasing annual funding from the United States government from USD2.5 million to almost USD12 million and I was the key relationship manager with all of the large government funders for the CTA.
  • During my term as the SARD Director from 2016-2020, SARD’s work grew exponentially and annual funding increased from USD2.9 million in 2016 to USD12.5 million in 2020 and number of staff/consultants increased from 19 in 2016 to 39 in 2020. I nurtured a core group of SARD staff through greater delegation, empowerment and strengthening their and SARD’s capacity.
  • Played a leadership role in securing CAD7 million in new education funding from the Canadian government in two separate grants for a period of seven years.
  • In accordance with Kashag’s Five Fifty vision, organized and/or provided critical strategic and content advice in three highly successful Five-Fifty Forums in Dharamsala: Political Five-Fifty in October 2017, First Youth Five-Fifty in August 2018, and Five-Fifty on Resilience in September 2018.
  • Undertook a capital raise tour of nine cities in the United States/Canada and five cities in Western Europe in 2019 and raised investment pledges totaling USD2.5 million from the Tibetan diaspora community for the Gangjong Development Finance.
  • In an effort to translate the CTA’s Five-Fifty vision into action, I oversaw the organizational development assessment and strategic planning of four core development oriented CTA departments: Education, Finance, Health and Home. The planning reports on each department can serve as foundational documents for each department’s Five-Fifty Vision action plan.
  • Initiated the discussion, visioning, planning and selection of experts for designing an eGovernance and digitalization strategy and architecture for the CTA including an online chatrel payment pilot project.
  • Designed, wrote background papers and identified/invited resource people for the Five-Fifty Forum: Global Summit of International Tibetan Associations. The Summit ended up being cancelled due to COVID-19. However, I directed a companion research project and edited the Baseline Study of the Tibetan Diaspora Community Outside South Asia published in August 2020 by SARD, CTA.
  • Visited the Tibetan communities in Nepal as the CRO/SARD Director on four different occasions from 2016-2020 to assess the needs of the Tibetan community and ensure that adequate resources were being allocated. Played a leadership role in the designing of an annual community managed revolving fund which is currently disbursing over USD500,000 in low interest loans to Tibetan refugees residing in Nepal.
  • Elevated the issue of gender within CTA and in the development projects. Strengthened the Women’s Empowerment Desk. Served as one of the key drafters of the 2017 revised Women’s Empowerment Policy.
  • Completely redesigned the Blue Book, a program for friends of Tibet and Tibetans to express solidarity and make small donations to the CTA.
  • Served as Kalon Tripa/ Sikyong’s primary liaison with the White House, US Congress and Administration and shuttled between Dharamsala and Washington, DC from 2011-2013.
  • Drafted and edited key speeches and statements of the Kalon Tripa and Sikyong from 2011-2013.
  • Played a key role in completely redesigning and developing tibet.net, the primary English news portal of the CTA in 2011.
  • Secured USD 1.3 million funding from the US government in 2012  and led Project Dharamsala – a three-year project to strengthen CTA’s IT infrastructure and cybersecurity which was one of the biggest network and hardware upgrade ever in the CTA.
  • Co-founded Tibet Corps in 2011 which today provides a service platform for Tibetan university students, professionals and retirees from India and globally. This initiative provides a critical bridging service linking the larger Tibetan community with the CTA. The program attracts close to 50 volunteers annually.

Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA to North America

  • Provided leadership and operational support to the organizing committee that successfully organized a long-life empowerment (Tenshug) to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday celebration in New York City. Close to 30,000 people, the largest gathering of Tibetans in the West ever, attended the two-day empowerment and teaching at the Javits Convention Center. Also, organized a highly successful private birthday lunch event for His Holiness in New York City attended by 80 close friends and supporters of His Holiness in the United States
  • Managed all aspects (program, security, meetings, media and follow-up) of seven visits by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America with visits to Atlanta, Berkeley, Birmingham, Boston, Dallas, Irvine, Los Angeles, Madison, Mexico City, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Vancouver
  • Worked with senior White House staff in planning His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Obama on February 21, 2014 and June 15, 2016. Attended the 2014 meeting as one of two Principals and worked closely with the Sikyong in successfully securing President Obama’s support for the Middle Way Approach.
  • Worked with senior leadership in the United States Senate and successfully organized His Holiness the Dalai Lama opening the United States with morning prayer on March 6, 2014.
  • Testified before the United States Congress on the situation inside Tibet and on the Middle Way Approach policy. Maintained close ties with the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet.
  • Successfully countered a smear and harassment campaign against His Holiness the Dalai Lama led by the so-called International Shugden Community. Provided information, facilitated interviews and other assistance to one of the lead investigators of Reuters for a comprehensive investigative piece published on December 21, 2015 which exposed Chinese government backing to the Shugden organization. The group disbanded and the smear campaign fizzled out shortly after the Reuters expose.
  • Identified property, mobilized financing, and relocated the Office of Tibet from New York to Washington, DC in April 2014. Property purchased in the name of the Tibetan Community Development Fund (TCDF). The relocation was part of a broader goal of CTA establishing a direct presence in Washington, DC.
  • Revived TCDF by revising its bylaws, broadening its scope, bringing on new board members, raising funds and strengthening its ties to the CTA.
  • Organized the North American Tibetan Associations meeting annually as opposed to the practice of hosting it once every two years before 2013. This was part of several additional initiatives to strengthen the Associations and their relationship with the CTA.
  • Worked with a drafting committee of Tibetan language teachers and oversaw the drafting of Tibetan language text books for K-2 students attending the weekend language classes in North America. The draft was reviewed, edited and published by CTA’s Department of Education in 2016.
  • Chaired the advisory group for supporting the community center renovation project of the Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey. Chaired regular meetings, provided advice, identified resource people and facilitated a donation of USD500,000 from The Dalai Lama Trust in 2014.
  • Organized the first-ever Young Tibetan Leaders Summit in Garrison, New York in August 2016 which was attended by 200 youths and youth representatives from North America, Europe and India. This was the largest gathering of young Tibetan leaders and professionals since 2009.
  • Organized summer Buddhist retreats for young Tibetans in North American in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • Organized a high-level meeting to discuss strategy on Tibet in March 2015 in Washington, DC. The two-day meeting was attended by former senior US. government officials, Congressional staff members, experts from the US and Canada and Tibetan representatives.
  • Hosted a ten-day diplomacy workshop for all the Representatives and senior staff from DIIR and Offices of Tibet. The workshop was facilitated by the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy and was held in Washington, DC in May 2015.

 

Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC)

  • Served as the TANC President from 2010-2011
  • Assembled a strong team and managed a capital campaign to raise funds and purchase a property to serve as TANC’s community centre. Successfully purchased a property in Richmond on January 28, 2011. Raised close to US$1.2 million for the capital campaign project as well as programs.
  • Organized the weekend school from a park to a donated space in a school and secured a three-year totalling US$160,000 for a Tibetan performing arts program from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which TANC was later able to sustain the relationship.
  • Established relationship with the Betsy Gordon Foundation which to date has provided close to a total of USD 1 million in annual scholarships of around USD70,000 to Tibetan college students in the Bay Area.
  • Established contact with the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in 2011 which continues to fund TANC.
International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)
1993 – 1996
  • Took primary responsibility for all aspects of the Tibet Press Watch, the bi-monthly newsletter, from content selection, production and distribution.
  • Assisted in event planning, office management, public relations, membership, outreach and grassroots advocacy. It was during my time at ICT when I also served as the President of the Capital Area Tibetan Association (CATA).
  • Served as the interpreter for the late Venerable Palden Gyatso in his testimony before the House Committee on International Relations on April 3, 1995

Capital Area Tibetan Association (CATA)
1992 – 1996
  • Served as both the President and the Vice President. Began organizing the small Tibetan community in and around Washington, DC and formalised CATA’s role. Organized cultural and political events and worked very closely with ICT. Increased the financial reserve of CATA by hosting small fundraisers.

 

Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Delhi (RTYC – Delhi)
1989 – 1991
  • Part of the leadership team of RTYC-Delhi in 1988. The previous leadership handed over an organization that was small and relatively inactive. In three years the new leadership built and transformed the chapter into one of the biggest, most organized and best financed. An intensive membership drive was launched. Organized numerous protests and grassroots political campaigns. We spent more time in Majnu-ka-Tilla, the base of operations, then in college. A magazine called March was started that I edited and produced. I drafted most of the chapter’s letters, statements and documents in English. Authored several articles which were published in Tibetan Review.

 

International Work

  • Served as the Development Director at Natural Capital Institute located in Sausalito, CA from 2006-2008. United States Representative for Instituto Terra; an environmental organization founded by Sebastião Salgado, the legendary photojournalist, and Lélia Salgado in Brazil; from 2003 to 2006. Philanthropic Advisor at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, CA from 2000 to 2003. Program Associate at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York from 1998-2000

 

Board and Other Experience

  • Participated in the 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd meetings of the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan Dialogue as a Special Guest
  • Trustee of the Dalai Lama Trust (2013-2019)
  • Honorary Chairman of Tibet House US (2013-2016)
  • International Advisory Committee member of The Mountain Institute (2009-2012)
  • Co-Chair of the Grantmakers Without Borders (2001–2003)
  • Board member of Tibet Justice Center (2003-2004)
  • Member of Initial Steering Committee of Global Philanthropy Forum (2001-2003)

 

LATESTVIEW ALL

Get the latest from Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang (Kaydor)


Unrecognized and Digitally Disenfranchised People

Testimonial

Dec 14, 2020

Tibet TV: 2020 Tibetan Diaspora Baseline Study

Musical Tribute to Aukatsang Kelsang Dorjee

Dec 8, 2020

Five Fifty Youth Forum: CTA Introduction

Conversation with 2021 Sikyong Candidate Kaydor Aukatsang

Dec 21, 2020