Mission Statement "To Preserve, promote, and disseminate the unique Tibetan cultural heritage, including moral values and environment protection; and to develop the community into a sustainable pro-active member of the society while promoting and supporting the just cause of Tibet."
The Tibetan Association of Santa Fe was founded on September 2, 1997 by Tibetan immigrants under the guidance of American friends. It was established as a non-profit organization to serve the needs of Tibetans living in Santa Fe and also to act as a channel to connect with non-Tibetans in the greater Santa Fe area. It currently boasts more than 120 members along with a strong network of non-Tibetan supporters. The primary objectives of the Association is to preserve and promote our culture. We, the Tibetan members of Santa Fe serve as ambassadors for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration in promoting peace, understanding, and conveying the situation of Tibet to the local community.
In tune with the growing international awareness and support for the plight and cause of the Tibetan people, the US Congress, as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, passed legislation introduced in October 1989 by US Congressman Barney Frank, that created one thousand immigration visas for displaced Tibetans living in India and Nepal. 5,500 applicants applied for the 1,000 available visas and the winners were drawn in the form of lottery.
Prior to the passage of the law, there were only four families living in Santa Fe. The first batch of Tibetans started arriving in Santa Fe in 1992 and were hosted by American sponsors who provided temporary homes for the newly arrived TIbetans and they were also assisted by volunteers from the Tibetan Resettlement Project. Of the 1,000 total Tibetans selected to settle in 22 cluster sites throughout the United States, 25 made it to Santa Fe. In the years following, the Tibetan population in Santa Fe grew considerably, mostly through family reunification.
The transition to daily life in New Mexico was not easy. Scattered throughout the town, with different jobs, work schedules, and school routines for the children, each family found it important to sustain their unique traditional values in the face of the relatively fast pace of American life. In addition, the Tibetans living in Santa Fe feel a profound obligation to keep language, culture, and traditions alive because they know that many living in Tibet are denied their rights to do this.
A majority of Tibetans in Santa Fe were not familiar with each other before arriving in Santa Fe as our members' former residences are scattered all across India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. Notwithstanding this fact, the Tibetan community in Santa Fe has grown to be a very close knit family.
in 2002, the Association purchased a property on 915 Hickox Street and renovated it into a Tibetan cultural center officially named "Phende Rigzod Khang" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Prior to this, the Association had no formal place to hold meetings, cultural events, religious ceremonies or other events. However, through creative improvisations along with generous support from Project Tibet, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, KSK Buddhist center and various organizations and families, we were able to continue our cultural and religious traditions; but one of our proudest achievements has been the fact there has never been a lapse in Tibetan Saturday school or Tibetan music and dance school even with such hardships and limited resources.
12 board members are elected by the members of the Association on Tibetan Democracy Day. The elected members serve for a period of 2 years. Each board member is assigned a specific role by the president. The board is responsible for organizing and overseeing activities of the Tibetan community. The board under the guidance of the president also performs various tasks assigned by Central Tibetan Administration such as collecting Green Book fees and census data.
Our primary goal has always been to cultivate a strong cultural foundation among our youth. We place a strong emphasis on outreaching the local community for their support through various events, and are continually working towards fostering and strengthening relationship with our supporters. With the increasing size of our community, we have outgrown our community center and the need for a more accommodating community center is great. Therefore with enough support from our members and supporters, we hope to achieve this goal in the future.