Every first Saturday of the month, as a part of its shout-out campaign, DIIR’s Social Media Desk profiles a civil servant of Central Tibetan Administration. This week we are pleased to profile Mr Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations, CTA.
Sonam Norbu Dagpo was born in 1956 in Lakhar-Shak household, Tsele village, Korab Namgyal District, central Tibet. Following China’s invasion of Tibet, in 1962, he along with his family escaped into exile in India, where he completed his schooling from the Central School for Tibetans, Darjeeling, in 1973. He received his BA (Hons.) and Master’s degree from Delhi University and B.Ed. from Jamia Milia Islamia University. In 1994, he earned a Master’s of Public Administration degree from John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, US.
Following his university studies, he served in the Special Frontier Force School, Herbertpur, as a Trained Graduate Teacher (Social Science) from 1980-83. He also served as an executive member of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) from 1981-83 and as the TYC president from 1983-86 after serving as an executive member as well as the president of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Delhi, during his college days.
In 1987, he joined the political research and analysis section of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. He formally joined the Tibetan civil service in 1988 as a senior clerk in the Kashag secretariat. Since then he has served in various posts and capacities within the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), including the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) and (secretary of) Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. He was promoted to the post of the secretary (international relations) of DIIR in 2004. After serving as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia from 2009 to 2014, he was reappointed as the secretary of DIIR in 2014.
During his long career in the Tibetan civil service, he has served as a member of the organizing committee for the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1989); as a member of the election committee constituted for the election of the 11th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (1991); and as a member of the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan negotiations. From 2002 to 2008, he also accompanied the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as one of their two senior assistants during their talks with Chinese officials in China.
On 23 September 2019, after 37 years of service in various roles and positions within the exile Tibetan community, he was elected the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission during the eighth session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.