Indian-American diplomat Uzra Zeya appointed Special Coordinator for Tibet

Daughter of immigrant parents from India to promote dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama for agreement on Tibet

Indian American diplomat Uzra Zeya has been appointed as US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues specifically charged with promoting a dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama and elected Tibetan leaders for a negotiated agreement on Tibet.

Currently Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Zeya will concurrently take on the new “important role effective immediately,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday.

Born in the US to parents who immigrated from Bihar, Zeya is a veteran US diplomat who has served as political minister-counselor in New Delhi during her distinguished 27-year foreign service career.

Read: Biden names Indian American Uzra Zeya as under secretary at State Department (January 16, 2021)

“Zeya will coordinate US government policies, programs, and projects concerning Tibetan issues, consistent with the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, as amended by the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020,” Blinken said.

“Specifically, she will promote substantive dialogue, without preconditions, between the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama, his representatives, or democratically elected Tibetan leaders in support of a negotiated agreement on Tibet,” he said.

“She will promote respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Tibetans, including their freedom of religion or belief, and will support efforts to preserve their distinct historical, linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage.”

“Zeya will further support US efforts to address the humanitarian needs of Tibetan refugees and diaspora communities, including those in the United States who have faced threats and intimidation instigated by the PRC,” Blinken said.

“She also will promote activities to protect the environment and sustainably manage the water and other natural resources of the Tibetan plateau.”

“Consistent with the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, she also will seek to increase access to Tibet for US officials, journalists, and other citizens,” Blinken said.

“Zeya will work closely with Tibetan cultural, religious, and political leaders, the US Congress, international allies and partners, and civil society representatives on these matters,” he said.

“This designation demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to advance the human rights of Tibetans, help preserve their distinct heritage, address their humanitarian needs, and meet environmental and water resource challenges of the Tibetan plateau,” Blinken added.

Sworn into her current position by Blinken on July 14, 2021, Zeya served as president and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a non-partisan global network of more than 130 organizations working in more than 180 countries to end conflict by peaceful means, from 2019 to 2021.

She has also served as deputy executive secretary to then Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

During her 27-year Foreign Service career, Zeya served as deputy chief of mission and charge d’affaires in Paris; principal deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; chief of staff to the Deputy Secretary of State and political minister-counselor in New Delhi.

Read: Sikyong Welcomes Appointment of Uzra Zeya as New US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues (December 21, 2021)

She also served in Syria, Egypt, Oman, Jamaica, and in various policy roles at the Department of State.

Zeya speaks Arabic, French and Spanish. She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and is the recipient of several State Department Superior Honor and Senior Performance awards, the Presidential Rank Award, and the French Legion d’Honneur.

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