Tag Archives | obituary

Mourning the loss of George H.W. Bush, first President to meet the Dalai Lama

December 3, 2018

President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on Nov. 30, 2018, was the first American President to meet with the Dalai Lama, paving the way for successive Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama to follow.

George H.W. Bush and the Dalai Lama met on April 16, 1991, during the Dalai Lama’s visit to Washington, D.C. Although the Dalai Lama started visiting the United States in 1979, during the time of President Jimmy Carter, it took 11 years for an American President to receive him.

Recalling this, the Dalai Lama told President George W. Bush, in a condolence message on Dec. 1, 2018, “I am saddened by the passing away of your father, President George H.W. Bush. I offer my profound condolences to you and your family at this difficult time.

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Palden Gyatso, Tibetan monk who was tortured and jailed for 33 years, passes away

November 30, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet mourns the loss of Ven. Palden Gyatso, who endured more than 30 years of torture and imprisonment in Chinese prisons and labor camps in Tibet and died today, Nov. 30, in Dharamsala, India, at the age of 85.

The Dalai Lama described Palden’s life as “one of the most extraordinary stories of suffering and endurance,” saying that he was “an inspiration to us all.”

“Individuals like Palden Gyatso,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a foreword to Palden’s book “Fire Under the Snow,” “reveal that the human values of compassion, patience and a sense of responsibility for our own actions that lie at the core of spiritual practice still survive. His story is an inspiration to us all.”

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Lodi Gyari

Lodi Gyari, a lifetime of service to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people

October 29, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet is deeply saddened by the passing of Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and wishes to express our condolences to his family and all those who knew him.

Mr. Gyari, the retired Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, senior official of the Central Tibetan Administration, and Executive Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, passed away today, October 29, 2018 in San Francisco. He was 69.

Mr. Gyari was a seasoned and skilled diplomat who spent the majority of his professional career working directly for and on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was an impassioned advocate for the Tibetan people, universal human rights and global democratic reform.

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Senator John McCain, friend of the Tibetan people, passes away

August 27, 2018

Senator John McCain, a sincere supporter of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, passed away on August 24, 2018. He was 81.

“I offer my condolences to you and all the members of your family at this sad time,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a message to Mrs. Cindy McCain, the Senator’s widow.

“I had the pleasure of meeting your husband in 2008 in Aspen after long admiring his many years of dedicated service to the American people,” the Dalai Lama added.“I appreciated his genuine concern for democracy, human rights and the environment in general and particularly in Tibet, for which I remain grateful.”

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Grace Spring

Long-Time Activist for Tibet Grace Spring Passes Away

March 30, 2018

Grace Spring, artist, long-time Tibet supporter and a Board member of the International Campaign for Tibet passed away in Middlebury, VT, on March 29, 2018. She had Alzheimer’s.

A resident of Washington, DC for many years, Grace relocated, in early 2017, to Middlebury in Vermont, close to where her daughter Cassandra Corcoran resides. Corcoran said that in the period before her passing away, Grace was in an incredibly happy mood.

In a message of condolence, the Board of Directors and staff of the International Campaign for Tibet expressed deep sadness and sent their thoughts and prayers to her family. Board Vice Chairman Gare Smith said, “Grace was a steadfast, loyal, and creative supporter of the cause and her spirit will be missed.”

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Rabi Ray, Tibet Supporter and Friend of ICT Passes Away

March 8, 2017

Mr. Rabi Ray, a noted Indian political leader and former speaker of the Indian Parliament, passed away on March 6, 2017 in India. He was a true friend and supporter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.

Mr. Rabi Ray involved himself with several Tibet-related organizations in India, including heading the India -Tibet Friendship Society. He was also a member of the International Campaign for Tibet’s International Council of Advisors.

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Gelek Rimpoche

ICT Mourns the Passing of Tibetan Buddhist Scholar Gelek Rimpoche

February 15, 2017

The International Campaign for Tibet was saddened to learn of the passing away of Gelek Rimpoche, a Buddhist scholar and an eminent master. In a message to Mrs. Colleen Smiley and to members of Jewel Heart (the organization Rimpoche established), ICT President Matteo Mecacci offered our heartfelt condolences.

Rimpoche was renowned for his scholarship, both within the Buddhist community and the broader society. He was a friend of the International Campaign for Tibet, having been kind enough to be on our Advisory Board and taking time whenever possible to provide counsel to us.

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Benjamin Gilman

Congressman Benjamin Gilman, friend of Tibet passes away

December 19, 2016

Former Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, a friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a long-time supporter of the Tibetan people, passed away in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on December 17, 2016. He was 94.

Benjamin Gilman represented New York’s 20th congressional district for more than 30 years. From 1995 to 2002, he served as Chairman of the House International Relations Committee (now renamed as House Foreign Affairs Committee) and from his position regularly convened policy discussions on Tibet and introduced or helped pass key landmark legislation relating to Tibet, working with his colleagues in the House Charlie Rose, Tom Lantos, John Porter, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, and others.

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Lowell Thomas Jr.

Lowell Thomas, Jr., who brought Tibet alive for millions of Americans, passes away

October 7, 2016

Lowell Thomas, Jr., among the first Westerners to visit Tibet in the last century, passed away on October 1, 2016, just five days shy of his 93rd birthday. His trip to Tibet in 1949 resulted in scores of photographs, articles, radio programs and books that brought Tibet alive for millions of Americans. Lowell Thomas Jr. shaped this country’s views of Tibet at a critical time in Tibetan history and is one of the genuine grandfathers of the Tibet movement in America.

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International Campaign for Tibet Mourns the Passing Away of Elie Wiesel

July 5, 2016

The International Campaign for Tibet joins the international community in mourning the passing away of Prof. Elie Wiesel. In a message sent to Mrs. Marion Wiesel, ICT President Matteo Mecacci said, “We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to you and your family.”

The message said, “Mr. Wiesel was a voice and an activist for human dignity for all. He was able to transform the personal tragedy he experienced at a very early, in an indomitable and authoritative strength to speak on behalf of the voiceless.”

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Statement by the International Campaign for Tibet on the passing of Harry Wu, human rights champion

April 27, 2016

The Board of Directors and the staff of the International Campaign for Tibet are deeply saddened by the passing of Harry Wu. Harry was a staunch human rights defender whose life-long mission was the documentation and exposure of forced labor camps (Laogai) in China. Harry was a dear friend to the Tibetan people and had great respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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Obituary: John Kenneth Knaus, a friend of the Tibetan people

April 21, 2016

John Kenneth Knaus, a former CIA officer who was involved with its Tibetan program from late 1950s to early 1960s, passed away on April 18, 2016 surrounded by family.

In 1958, he first met Tibetans when he was asked by CIA to go to lecture to a group of “foreign nationals” on international communism and Chinese communism. That began his life-long interest in the Tibetan people.

He then volunteered to serve in the CIA program to support the Tibetans. For the next seven years, as an operations officer working from India, from Colorado, and from Washington, D.C., he cooperated with the Tibetan freedom fighters as they utilized American assistance to challenge Chinese invasion and occupation.

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Irmtraut Wäger

Obituary: Irmtraut Wäger, “Mother” to many Tibetan Refugees

October 7, 2014

Irmtraut Wäger passed away on October 2, 2014, aged 95. For 50 years she was closely associated with Tibet, especially as President of the German Aid to Tibetans. The International Campaign for Tibet’s Light of Truth award, presented to her in Berlin 2005 by H.H. the Dalai Lama, was among the many awards she received for her work.

Her eventful life reflected European history in the 20th century. Born in East Prussia, her family impoverished in the economic crisis in the 1930s and she could go to school for only seven years. In World War II she served in a hospital in Königsberg where, on her 25th birthday, she witnessed how the city was bombed to ashes. It was here that she also first came in contact with Tibet through books she found there.

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Ama Wager LOT award

Dalai Lama expresses sadness at the death of German who supported Tibetan Education

October 6, 2014

The Dalai Lama has expressed his condolences to the family of Mrs Irmtraut Wäger, who dedicated her life to the education and welfare of Tibetans in exile, following her death on October 2 at the age of 94.

Mrs Wäger, known as ‘Ama’ (mother in Tibetan), was the recipient of the International Campaign for Tibet’s Light of Truth of award in recognition for her work over 40 years as Chairperson of German Aid to Tibetans (Deutsche Tibethilfe e.V. ).

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Mario Oriani-Ambrosini and Dalai Lama

Obituary: Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, South African MP and a strong supporter of the Tibetan People

August 20, 2014

With the passing away of Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, Italian constitutional lawyer and South African member of Parliament, we have lost one of the most committed and brightest supporters of the struggle of the Tibetan people.

Mario Oriani-Ambrosini passed away at the age of 53 on August 16 after a protracted and courageous struggle against cancer.

An MP for the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mario Oriani-Ambrosini was an outspoken defender of human rights and democracy. He is known for leading a successful lawsuit against the South African government’s decision to deny a visa for the Dalai Lama. In a statement announcing the legal action in November 2012, Mr Oriani-Ambrosini said the refusal of the visa showed how South Africa was beholden to China, and that: “The Dalai Lama is welcome in each and every country of the world, except China and South Africa. A recent poll showed that 89% of the South African people consulted indicated that they would welcome the Dalai Lama in South Africa.” The Dalai Lama sent his condolences to Mr Ambrosini’s family.

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Phuntsog Wangyal Goranangpa

Phuntsog Wangyal Goranangpa: A formidable figure in modern Tibetan history

March 30, 2014

Phuntsog Wangyal Goranangpa, who passed away in Beijing on March 30, 2014, was a formidable figure in modern Tibetan history.

He was the most prominent Tibetan Communist who, even while aligning himself with the Chinese Government, was vocal in urging it to change its Tibet policy. He submitted open letters to Chinese leaders, including Hu Jintao, calling for a review of their attitude towards the Dalai Lama saying that if the Dalai Lama continued to remain in exile, it would lead to a worsening of tensions in Tibet. In a new book, the Tibetan version of which was published in India in 2013 while the Chinese version is coming out from Hong Kong, Phunwang has said the Dalai Lama should be allowed to return to Tibet, as he would be a stabilizing force.

He was very devoted to His Holiness the Dalai Lama who regarded him as a personal friend. In a condolence message, the Dalai Lama said, “He was a true Communist, genuinely motivated to fulfill the interests of the Tibetan people. In his death we have lost a trusted friend.” “Through his own example Phunwang showed that you could be a true Communist while at the same time proud of your Tibetan heritage,” the Dalai Lama added.

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The passing of ‘Phodo Kusho’

September 24, 2013

Robert Ford, who was serving the Tibetan Government when Communist Chinese forces began their invasion, has died in London on September 20, 2013 at the age of 90.

Robert Ford was working as a radio officer in Kham for the government of Tibet in the 1940s, in charge of setting up Tibet’s first broadcasting station and training Tibetan radio operators. He was captured by advancing PLA troops in 1950 after an earthquake cut off a planned escape route. During nearly five years of imprisonment, Ford was subjected to interrogation and ‘thought reform’ and was in constant fear of execution. He spent four years in jail before the Chinese allowed him to write a letter home to his mother telling her he was alive. After being sentenced in 1954 to a 10-year term for “espionage,” he was released in 1955 and expelled.

Robert Ford received ICT’s Light of Truth award from the Dalai Lama in April 2013 in acknowledgment of his tireless advocacy on behalf of Tibet for more than half a century. Mr. Ford said: “I am a member of a rather exclusive club of Westerners who have the privilege and good fortune to see, know and witness a free Tibet before 1950. I spent some of the happiest days of my life in Tibet. The Tibet that I found when I first went there in 1945 was vastly different to the Tibet of today. It was an independent country with its own government, its own language, culture, customs and way of life. … To me as an outsider, the most remarkable feature of Tibetans was their devotion to their religion and their unswerving support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Another striking feature was their remarkable self-reliance both in the material and the spiritual sense. Tibet valued its self-imposed isolation and independence. Its simple wish was to be left alone to run its own affairs in the way that it thought best.” (View footage of the full speech »)

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George Patterson

Legendary ‘bearded Khampa’ George Patterson dies

, who earned legendary status as the ‘bearded Khampa’ for his support to Tibetan resistance fighters, and who became one of the first people to report the Chinese invasion of Tibet, died in Scotland yesterday (December 29). George Patterson, who received ICT’s Light of Truth award in March, 2011, was in his nineties. George Patterson, […]

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