First Tibetan American to be appointed a Commissioner of the US International Religious Freedom Commission

Dr. Tenzin Dorjee

Dr. Tenzin Dorjee

In a historic first, Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, a Tibetan American, has been appointed as a Commissioner of the bipartisan US International Religious Freedom Commission. This federal government commission was created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

Dr. Dorjee is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University at Fullerton (CSUF).

The International Religious Freedom Act mandates that three Commissioners are selected by the President, two by the leaders of the President’s party in Congress, and four by the congressional leaders of the party not in the White House. Dr. Dorjee was nominated by Leader Nancy Pelosi.

In reaction to his appointment, Dr. Dorjee said, “It is my great honor and privilege to be appointed a Commissioner of the US International Religious Freedom Commission. I deeply care about the freedom of religion and take it seriously, and look at my position as a vital platform to provide an all-inclusive-secular ethics perspective of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as unique Tibetan Buddhist perspective and voice on global religious freedom and rights.”

Commissioners are appointed for two year terms, and are eligible for reappointment. According to IRFA, Commissioners are “selected among distinguished individuals noted for their knowledge and experience in fields relevant to the issue of international religious freedom, including foreign affairs, direct experience abroad, human rights, and international law.”

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said, “Dr. Tenzin Dorjee’s appointment is indeed a very strong recognition of the Tibetan American community, and the contribution that it can make towards fulfilling the broader American policy towards the world on the issue of religious freedom.” ICT looks forward to working with the Commission and Dr. Dorjee on issues of Tibetan religious freedom.

USCIRF makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

Following is Dr. Dorjee’s bio;
Dr. Tenzin Dorjee
California State University at Fullerton

Tenzin Dorjee (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara) is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University at Fullerton (CSUF). He is an intergroup and intercultural communication expert whose primary teaching and research interests are in intergroup, intercultural, intergenerational communication, identity issues, peace building, and conflict resolution. He has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed articles and chapters on Tibetan culture, identity, and communication, nonviolence and middle way approaches to Sino-Tibetan conflict, intergenerational communication context, and others.

California State University at Fullerton honored him with several outstanding recognitions for his superior teaching, peer-reviewed journal publications of the Highest Quality Scholarly and Creative Activity, and extraordinary community service: Faculty Recognition: Teacher-Scholar Award in 2011, Faculty Recognition: Scholarly and Creative Activity in 2013 and 2016, and Faculty Recognition: Extraordinary and Sustained Service in 2015. The Western States of Communication Association (WSCA) elected him to the WSCA Executive Council and Chair of the Committee for Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.

Dr. Dorjee is a published author and translator of Tibetan Buddhism into English and had also served as translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during teachings and talks in India and USA. He is also a prominent native translator (Lotsawa) of over 30 years with many articles. For more information, see Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, Commissioner at USCIRF website.

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