The Dalai Lama: What He Means for Tibetans Today

418 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 9:30am to 11:00am
Transcript (PDF) (Text)

The 76-year-old Dalai Lama remains a figure of central importance to Tibetans as well as the Chinese government and Communist Party. Tibetans in China continue to evoke his name in their grievances over official threats to Tibetan culture, language, and religion, and to call for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet. At the same time, the government and Party continue their campaign to discredit the Dalai Lama and to control the selection of his successor. Negotiations between the two sides have stalled with the longest break since dialogue resumed in 2002. For his part, the Dalai Lama recently brought to an end the centuries-old role of the Dalai Lama at the head of Tibetan governance. At this critical juncture, this roundtable examined the Dalai Lama's significance for Tibetans today. What will be the impact of his reduced political role? What role will the Dalai Lama play in the future of Tibetans in China?

View a recorded video of this roundtable here

Opening Statements: 

Senator Sherrod Brown, Cochairman

Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Department of State; Member, Congressional-Executive Commission on China



Mr. Bhuchung K. Tsering, Vice President, International Campaign for Tibet

Mr. Arjia Rinpoche, Director, Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center

Dr. David Germano, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

Ms. Ngawang Sangdrol, former Tibetan political prisoner