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President of Tibetan government-in-exile to give Berman lecture
By CSLR | Emory Law | Mar 6, 2018 12:03:00 AM

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, will deliver the 2018 Berman Lecture on April 9 at 7 p.m. in Tull Auditorium at Emory University School of Law. He will speak on "The Tibetan People’s Transition to Secular Democracy."

President Dr. Sangay was elected administrative head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), in 2011, with 55 percent of the vote. Shortly before Dr. Sangay’s election, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama devolved his political power to the CTA making Dr. Sangay the first leader of a secular, democratically elected Tibetan government. Dr. Sangay’s title was officially changed to sikyong, which translates as president, in 2012. He was re-elected in 2016.

He supports the “middle way approach” to peace in Tibet, which represents His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s vision of autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution, similar to arrangements China has with Hong Kong and Macau.

President Dr. Sangay was born in an exile Tibetan community in India and graduated from Delhi University before receiving an LLM and an SJD from Harvard Law School. He was a senior research fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program, where he organized conferences with Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and western scholars, including meetings between His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Chinese scholars. 

“We are so very honored to have President Dr. Sangay speak to us on the Tibetan people’s experience of the transition to secular democracy,” said Silas W. Allard, associate director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. “The Tibetan people have a living memory of moving from a centuries old combination of political and religious authority in the person of the Dalai Lama to an elected, secular government-in-exile. This creation of a secular government and the work to preserve a religious tradition in an exilic community offer important new perspectives on enduring questions about the interaction of law and religion.”

The Harold J. Berman Distinguished Lecture was established in 2009 to honor the intellectual legacy of Harold J. Berman, whose scholarship on the link between religious tradition and law evolved into what is now a thriving law and religion field. The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University is the field's oldest and most recognized scholarly center. It engages scholars worldwide and offers six advanced degrees, 40 cross-listed courses, research projects, public forums and international conferences.

The Berman lecture is free and open to the public. Go here to RSVP.