November 4: Today, Mr. Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Secretary, Department of Information and International Relations, begins His new posting as Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. He is replacing Mr. Tenzin Phuntsok Atisha, who has held this post since 2003.
Sonam Dagpo was born in Dagpo region of U-Tsang (Central Tibet) in 1956 and escaped to India in 1962. He attended the Central Tibetan School in Darjeeling before completing both a Bachelor and Masters degree in History at Delhi University. Sonam Dagpo also holds a Bachelor of Education from Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Prior to joining the Central Tibetan Administration in 1987, Sonam Dagpo was an active member of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), serving as executive member and President of Regional TYC, Delhi from 1975 to 1978. He was elected as member of the Central Executive Committe of TYC from 1981 to 1983 and President from 1983 to 1986. Sonam Dagpo also taught at the SFF School in Herbertpur from 1980 to 1983. Sonam Dagpo’s first role within the Central Tibetan Administration was as a research officer in the Research and Analysis Section of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. He has since worked within the Kashag (Cabinet) Secretariat and held a number of roles within the Department of Information and International Relations, including Head of the India and China Desk, Additional Secretary and, since 2004, Secretary (International Relations).
In 1991 Sonam Dagpo was appointed as one of the member of the Tibetan Election Commission for the election of the 11th Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies. Between 1997 and 1998 he was Secretary of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi.
Sonam Dagpo has been a member of the Task Force for Negotiations with the People’s Republic of China. He has been a member of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s delegation to China from 2002 to 2008.
In addition to his many posts within the Central Tibetan Administration, Sonam Dagpo has been a member of the organizing committees of all five International Tibet Support Group Conferences (Dharamsala, Bonn, Berlin, Prague and Brussels), and a member of the organizing committees of the International Year of Tibet and the Celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Sonam Dagpo has also attended many international and national conferences on Tibet and is a founding member of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and the Tibetan Young Buddhist Association.