Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, the former special envoy for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, passed away in the early hours of Monday morning in San Francisco at the age of 69. His family members were reported to be with him, according to reports:
A passionate advocate for the Tibetan people, universal human rights, and global democratic reform, Lodi Gyari Rinpoche was a co-founder of the Tibetan Youth Congress, and also acted as foreign minister in the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government-in-exile. Between 2002 and 2010, he led the Tibetan delegation through nine rounds of high-level dialogue with the Chinese government in attempts to resolve the Tibet issue.
Appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to initiate and lead a dialogue process with the government of the People’s Republic of China, Lodi Gyari not only conducted nine rounds of high level talks in China and elsewhere, but also led an extensive behind the scenes diplomatic effort to sustain the process, expand the channels of communication, build trust with the Chinese leadership and maintain a broad international interest in the dialogue process, according to the International Campaign for Tibet.
“Lodi Gyari was a monumental figure in the history of the Tibetan struggle to resist Chinese oppression and to preserve the identity, religion, and cultural integrity of Tibetan Buddhists,” said Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy.
“From his co-founding of the Tibetan Youth Congress in 1970, to his leadership of the International Campaign for Tibet, to his role as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy in conducting negotiations with Beijing to resolve peacefully the issue of Tibet’s status, Lodi Gyari was a Tibetan leader of enormous stature and accomplishment,” he added. “He was also well-known and greatly respected in the U.S. Congress and in Washington policy circles, and he played a pivotal role in building the close relationship between the United States and Tibet.”
“Lodi was a devoted democrat who helped develop the democratic institutions of the Tibetan community in exile, and who fervently emphasized and explained the importance of India’s democracy to the cause of democracy worldwide,” said Gershman. “Not least, he was a dear friend and cherished adviser of the NED, where he will be deeply mourned and long remembered.”
The Board of Directors and staff of the NED offer sincere condolences to Lodi Gyari’s family and friends and to all who carry on his work on behalf of the Tibetan people.
Above: Lodi Gyari discussed with VOA the status and position of the exile Tibetan Youth Congress and his views on the Middle Way Path proposal for resolving the Tibet China conflict as a long time diplomat and former envoy of the Dalai Lama to the United States.