"Sometimes the reality is that we may not live to see the result of what we are fighting for. In order to make a meaningful contribution, recognition for our work should not be a priority. Public service is replete with praise and criticism. We must learn to rise above all of that and be sustained by the knowledge of our altruistic motivation, and that we have given Tibet the best in us. It deserves no less."
This elegant and well-spoken woman is a powerful spokesperson for the Tibetan cause, equally comfortable in the halls of power in Europe and North America as in the modest offices of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, India.
Dicki Chhoyang was born in Mussoorie, India, in 1966 and immigrated to Canada with her family at 4 years of age. She grew up in Montreal, Quebec in Canada and began working for the Tibetan community at a very young age—participating in demonstrations, vigils and other activities related to the human rights situation inside Tibet as well as cultural preservation.
By her 20s, Dicki was helping with the US-Tibetan Refugee Resettlement Project in the USA. She was also featured in the first Canadian documentary on Tibet, A Song for Tibet, produced by the National Film Board. Dicki spent nine years in Tibet and China, working, studying Mandarin and Tibetan, and conducting research. She returned home to Montreal in 2003, and resumed her involvement with the Tibetan diaspora community. In 2011, Dicki was first elected as a member of the Tibetan parliament-in- exile, and shortly thereafter appointed to her current position within the Central Tibetan Administration.
The Central Tibetan Administration was established in 1959 after 100,000 Tibetans, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, fled Tibet. Nine years earlier, in 1950, Communist China had begun its invasion of the independent nation of Tibet—bent on gaining access to its rich natural resources and a border with India. Since 1974, the Central Tibetan Administration has advocated for the “Middle Way Approach”, a proposition that seeks genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the framework of the Chinese Constitution. It does not advocate for separation from the People’s Republic of China.
The Central Tibetan Administration leads the international solidarity movement to realize the aspirations of the Tibetan people inside Tibet. It acts as their voice in the free world. Dicki oversees international relations for the Administration, a role that includes educating the global community about the injustices experienced by Tibetans in Tibet living under Chinese rule. An important part of Dicki’s current work also includes the future of Tibet’s environment and the impacts that climate change is having on the Tibetan Plateau as well as the rest of the world.
Dicki is driven by the very real possibility that unless something is done about the current situation inside Tibet, its culture of peace and compassion, will disappear forever. She also finds inspiration in the undying spirit of the people inside Tibet, who despite living under repressive policies, are more than ever committed to keeping their traditions, language and culture alive.