Dr Tenzin Dorjee, a renowned Tibetan professor at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), has been appointed as new Commissioner of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).The appointment was announced on 8 December 2016.
The appointment was made as per a recommendation from Ms Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader in the US House of Representatives, according to a press release issued by USCIRF.
“USCIRF welcomes Dr Tenzin Dorjee as our newest Commissioner,” said USCIRF Chair Rev Thomas J Reese, SJ.
“He will be a great asset to our Commission as we work to fulfill our mandate of highlighting serious threats to religious freedom throughout the world and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress on behalf of the cherished right of freedom of religion or belief and its fuller integration into U.S. foreign policy.”
‘Speaking exclusively to Tibet.net, Dr Tenzin Dorjee thanked the commission for honoring him with the prestigious responsibility and expressed his wholehearted commitment to work towards safeguarding religious freedom all over the world.
“Personally, it’s a great honor and privilege to be appointed on the USCIRF by the democratic leader Honorable Nancy Pelosi. As a commissioner, I have global responsibility to work with other colleagues on the commission for religious freedom around the world. As a Tibetan, it’s my karmic responsibility and a great platform to advocate for religious freedom in Tibet and discuss current religious issues such as Larung Gar destruction and forceful expulsion of thousands of monks and nuns from the academy.”
“I have miles to go before I sleep,” he said.
Dr Tenzin Dorjee is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). His 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. He is also a published author of articles and translated works of Tibetan Buddhism and culture into English. He is a co-author of the forthcoming scholarly book Communicating Across Cultures (2nd Edition, Guilford Press) with Professor Stella Ting-Toomey. He worked as a translator at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, India, for over 13 years. He is former Member-At-Large in the Executive Council of the Western States Communication Association (WSCA), Chair of WSCA’s Distinguished Teaching Award Committee, Basic Course Director of the Department of Human Communication Studies, CSUF, and President of the Tibetan Association of Southern California. In the summer of 2013, he volunteered over two months at the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and in the summer of 2016, he volunteered teaching intercultural communication and research methodology at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, India, and the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education, Bengaluru, India.
Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal body that is principally responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. The President and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives appoint USCIRF Commissioners.