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Jetsun Pema

Author of Tibet, My Story

Includes the names: Jetsun Pema

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She s the living sister of the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, born in the Tibetan village of Taktser in Amdo. She came to India in 1950 and studied first at St. Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong and later at Loreto Convent in Darjeeling from where she completed her Senior Cambridge in 1960. In 1961, she went to Switzerland and then to England to do further studies. She returned to India in April 1964. In June 1964, she was directed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to take over the responsibility of running the Tibetan Children's Village in Dharamsala. Since then, she has been the moving force and mother of thousands of destitute and orphaned Tibetan children. The children call her "Ama La" (Respected Mother). With her dynamic leadership and untiring dedication, coupled with her sense of urgency and clarity of purpose, the Tibetan Children's Village has become one of the most successfully flourishing Tibetan institutions in exile. She became the President of the Tibetan Children's Villages in June 1964, and held that position until her retirement in August 2006. She held this position for more than 42 years, dedicating her life to educating Tibetan children in exile. In 1970, at the first General Body Meeting of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Jetsun Pema was elected as its Vice-President, and at the 1984 first General Body Meeting of the Tibetan Women's Association, she was elected as an Adviser. In 1980, she was sent by the Dalai Lama to visit Tibet as the leader of the third Fact Finding Delegation and for three months traveled extensively all over the country. Jetsun Pema is also the Governing Body member of the Tibet House in New Delhi and the trust of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Charitable. In May 1990, the Dalai Lama convened a special Congress of the Tibetan People-In-Exile in Dharamsala to elect the Kalons (Ministers) of Central Tibetan Administration. This was a first in the history of Tibet. Jetsun Pema was one of the three Ministers elected and became the first Tibetan Woman Minister. In 1991, she was again elected by the Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies (Tibetan Parliament) as one of the Ministers and was allocated the portfolio of Minister-In-Charge of the Department of Tibetan Education. In July 1993, she resigned from the Kashag (Cabinet) and is today the President of the Tibetan Children's Villages. In 1995, the Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies awarded her the title, "Mother of Tibet," in recognition of her dedication and service to Tibetan children.
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