Every Saturday as a part of its shout-out campaign, DIIR’s Social Media Desk will be profiling a civil servant of Central Tibetan Administration. This week we are pleased to profile Mr Kunga Gyaltsen, Additional Secretary of Tibet Policy Institute (TPI).
Social Media Executive (SME): Could you briefly tell us about yourself?
Kunga Gyaltsen (KG): Tashi Delek. First of all, I would like to say that I have accepted your request for this Saturday Shout-out not because I have something special to say to the readers but as moral support to what you have been doing in the past few years.
My name is Kunga Gyaltsen and my wife is Tenzin Pema and we have three daughters: Tenzin Chemi, Tenzin Kunsang and Tenzin Lhadon. At present, I am working at the Tibet Policy Institute of Central Tibetan Administration.
I came from Tibet in 1983 with my beloved father Damdul when I was ten years old and got admitted to TCV School Upper Dharamsala. And I was sent to Home no. 24 where majority of the home-mates were from Tibet. Our foster mother was Tsering Wangmo lak who always made us feel happy and safe. She was very kind and took care of us with love and compassion without any discrimination. Therefore, even today, whenever we talk about our school years, we love to share about her kindness. Unfortunately, she passed away recently on 15 January 2022 at the age of 96. We deeply pray for her speedy rebirth with the blessings of Chenrezig.
After completing my class X board exam in 1991, I joined the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarnath, Varanasi as per my father’s wish and my own interest. There I studied till Acharya, which is equivalent to MA and did B. Ed. as well. When I was in the institute, I served as the Secretary of the 28th Gelugpa Student Welfare Committee in 1998-99 which is a one-year term. During that one year of service with my colleagues, we could publish quite a number of books, from which I got immense experience in editing Tibetan texts.
Since I am one of the products of TCV School and of course like all other TCV students, TCV is very dear to my heart. The school nurtured and educated me as a mother, and I always wished to serve TCV to repay the school for its kindness for some years. Therefore, I sent a letter to the TCV head office through the Ex-TCV Association at Varanasi and got a teaching post at TCV School Suja. Hence, in 2000, I joined TCV School Suja. The students were responsible, enthusiastic and hard-working and many of the students were also good in the Tibetan language. Hence, I did my best to fulfil their aspirations. I served little more than six years as a Tibetan language teacher there with full dedication and I thoroughly enjoyed those years with my students and colleagues. I have gained wonderful experience from that school. I hope that my students have also learnt something from me. But in February 2007, I left my teaching job due to personal health issues and came to Dharamsala with the hope to get an opportunity to work in the Central Tibetan Administration.
In November 2007, I gave the entrance test for the post of Office Superintendent of the Central Tibetan Administration, and fortunately, I got selected and posted as an editor at the Publication Section of the Department of Education. I was very happy and content that I got the job of my interest. A year later, I gave a staff recruitment test for the post of Deputy Secretary and luckily, got selected again and continued with the same job till March 2019. I was posted as the Director of the Education Council of the Education Department in 2019.
In 2020, I was transferred to the Kashag Secretariat, where I served as the concerned staff of the Task Force Section under the Political and Public Affairs. Then in 2021, I was transferred back to the Department of Education and served there in the Administration Section. At present, I am working at the post of Additional Secretary in the Tibet Policy Institute.
SME: Please explain your job description and how best does your work represent you or vice versa?
KG: I have spent most part of my life teaching Tibetan language, writing Tibetan children’s literature and editing Tibetan texts. Especially during my 12 years in the Education Department, I worked as the editor of Phayul children’s magazine and other children’s literature which was quite challenging for me because I have no formal education on writing children’s literature. Anyhow, I tried my level best to learn children’s writing styles from internet sources and tried to apply those gained knowledge in my writings and translations. We also started animation production as well when I was at the Publication section and later integrated with the Education Council in October 2016. I hope our children are being benefited in gaining language proficiency from this project to some extent.
It has been a little more than a couple of years that I am in the administrative field, which is not in my interest, but I am trying to serve the office to the best of my ability. There is no change in my dedication to serving the community with whatever job I am assigned to, but the educational background, experience, interest and passion of the individual staff definitely makes a big difference in the quality of one’s performance.
SME: What inspired you to serve the Central Tibetan Administration?
KG: The Central Tibetan Administration has been established solely for dual purposes: to restore freedom inside Tibet and to look after the welfare of Tibetans in exile. Hence, all the Tibetans have equal responsibility towards the accomplishment of these two. Since we are enjoying full freedom in the respective free countries, we have bigger responsibility towards our common cause. I deeply appreciate the courage and sacrifices being made by our brothers and sisters inside Tibet, and they are one of the main sources of inspiration for me to serve in the CTA along with my late father’s wish.
SME: What does it mean for you to be a CTA civil servant?
KG: It means a lot to me. It is a privilege. It is an opportunity. It is a Karmic consequence. It is pride. Being civil servants, we have a firm mindset, regardless of changes in political leadership after five or ten years, to serve wholeheartedly for the sake of six million Tibetans.
SME: How best do you think you could make a difference to CTA?
KG: I can’t say whether I have been making any difference to CTA. That will be judged by others, right? But what I can say for sure is that, whatever I do, I do it with full responsibility and dedication. The three precious Jewels are the witness of my intention, motivation and dedication.
SME: Who is your role model and why?
KG: Of course, His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama and His Eminence Samdhong Rinpoche are my role models because they have been doing immensely for the betterment of Tibetans in particular and the whole world at large. I always try to work in accordance with their great advice-honestly and sincerely.
SME: What is your piece of advice for young Tibetans serving or wishing to serve at CTA?
KG: Becoming a civil servant of the CTA is like your lifetime achievement. Everyone does not get this opportunity. Therefore, as long as you work here, you must work wholeheartedly. Be ready to learn more to develop yourself personally as well as professionally, so that you can benefit society more efficiently.
May His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama live for eons!