Amnye Machen Institute turns 10
28 June, 2002 Ten years ago four Tibetans in Dharamsala met and talked about ways to fill the “imbalances and limitations in the intellectual, social and cultural life of the Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet”. This is how Amnye Machen Institute (AMI) -Tibetan Centre for Advanced Studies, was born – a brainchild of four exile Tibetans- Tashi Tsering, Pema Bhum, Jamyang Norbu, and Lhasang Tsering.
In this 10 years the institute came from a humble beginning with the help of Rs. 50, 000 seed money from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his blessing, to become the focal point of intellectual and social movement of the exile diaspora. Be it their controversial yet widely read fortnightly, Mangtso (ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œDemocracy’ in Tibetan), or its scholarly magazine Lungta (ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œWindhorse’ in Tibetan).
At a modest ceremony to mark a decade of AMI, Mr. Tashi Tsering, present director of the Institute, said that it has been a personal journey for the four founding members of the Institute. He praised the efforts of Lhasang Tsering, former director of AMI, for single-handedly running the institute for 6 years.
An exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Pekar “Fading Dreams”, was also opened today by Mr Pema Jugney, Chairman of Tibetan parliament in exile, to mark the anniversary.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Pema Jugney said that the role of this Institute in Tibetan studies and its focus on important subjects such as contemporary Tibetan art, and literature, are “truly praiseworthy”.
In these 10 years the Institute won accolades from many, most notably the 1994 and 1996 Poul Lauritzen (PL) Prize for Freedom. In choosing AMI for its 1994 Prize for Freedom the PL Foundation announced that:
“Acknowledging the long-term importance of AMI’s many new programmes and related activities, the PL Foundation chose to recognise in particular AMI’s programme to document the gross and systematic violation of human rights inside Tibet and the effective steps AMI has initiated to promote and strengthen democracy within Tibetan society. (…) AMI has made a powerful impact on the intellectual and political life of Tibetans. Books, journals and a newspaper published by AMI have reached the furthest corners of occupied Tibet and are avidly read by Tibetans in exile.”
Today only two of the founding members of AMI remain in Dharamsala. Jamyang Norbu and Pema Bhum are both settled in the USA. Lhasang Tsering lives in Dharamsala and Tashi Tsering is the present Director of the Institute.