Uzra Zeya appointed U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibet

U.S. official Uzra Zeya has been appointed the country’s new Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. She will hold the position concurrently with her current role as Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said via a statement.

The coordinator’s role involves promoting “substantive dialogue” between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama. The coordinator is also supposed to promote the unique identity of Tibet, safeguards human rights of Tibetans and coordinates U.S. policy on Tibet.

“Specifically, she [ Ms. Zeya] 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,” Mr Blinken said in a statement, as part of a list of activities Ms Zeya would undertake in her new role.

In addition to her responsibilities around promoting human rights and preserving the distinct heritage of Tibetans, Ms. Zeya “ also will promote activities to protect the environment and sustainably manage the water and other natural resources of the Tibetan plateau,” Mr Blinken said.

The position, which was established by U.S.’s Tibetan Policy Act (2002), had been lying vacant for much of the Trump administration, i.e., from January 2017 to October 2020, when State Department official Robert Destro was appointed to the role.

Ms. Zeya was born in North Carolina to parents who emigrated from India. She quit the State Department during the Trump administration (2018), speaking and writing, after her departure, of the decline in diversity at the top levels of the administration.

Ms. Zeya has worked at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi as a  politicial-minister counselor, in addition to deputy chief of mission and charge d’affaires in Paris and postings in West Asia and North Africa.

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