On September 2, 2013, exiled Tibetans commemorated the 53rd anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 1960 declaration of Tibetan democracy and the establishment of a Tibetan parliament-in-exile. Thirty years after that declaration, the Dalai Lama introduced further democratic reforms, including expanding the parliament, which in turn issued a democratic Tibetan charter for the exile community.
His Holiness then established a judicial branch in 1992 to balance out the existing executive and legislative institutions. In 2001, the parliament amended the constitution to allow for the direct election of the Sikyong, or Tibetan political leader, every five years. In a historic devolution of political authority, the Dalai Lama transferred his administrative powers to the Sikyong and parliament in 2011. Dr. Sangay will reflect upon the formidable challenges, accomplishments and opportunities for sustaining a vibrant democracy in exile.