I've known Lobsang Sangay — who Tibetan exiles recently elected to be the Dalai Lama's political successor — for 16 years, beginning when we were classmates at Harvard Law School. I recruited Lobsang into our Asia Society Asia 21 program, where he has been one of our more active Fellows.
I also travelled with Lobsang and a small group of Asia 21 fellows to Dharamsala, India to meet with the Dalai Lama on a trip that Lobsang organized. Lobsang is a dear friend. Based on everything I know of Lobsang on a personal and professional level, I can think of no one better suited for the political leadership position bestowed on him by the Tibetan community.
Lobsang is a person with deep integrity, a sharp mind, a profound knowledge base, and tremendous interpersonal skills. He has demonstrated a deep commitment to both championing the Tibetan people and to fostering meaningful dialogue with his Chinese brothers and sisters. The Tibetan-Chinese dialogues he sponsored at Harvard were unique in their determination to open minds and hearts on both sides. If there is a chance of meaningful dialogue with the Chinese government about the future of the Tibetan community, Lobsang, will need to be part of it.
Jamie Metzl is Executive Vice President of the Asia Society.