The Future of Tibet

The Jamestown Foundation is proud to present an online webinar event, “The Future of Tibet, to take place on Wednesday, March 10, at 3:00 PM.

March 10 marks the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the People’s Republic of China. The crushing of the rebellion solidified PRC control over the Tibetan plateau, and led to numerous human rights abuses in the decades that followed. Today, Beijing is instituting massive infrastructure projects to further tie the region to China, while forcing Tibetans into repressive militarized vocational trainings and labor transfers. The cultural influence of Tibetan Buddhism and the region’s geostrategic location make Tibet an area of importance in world affairs, begging the question of what are U.S. policy options in the embattled “Roof of the World”?

To answer this question and others, and to commemorate this important day in history, The Jamestown Foundation has gathered Robert Destro, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Ngodup Tsering, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America, Adrian Zenz, the Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and Ellen Bork, a Contributing Editor at American Purpose.

Click Here to Register on Zoom



Robert Destro

Fmr. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Fmr. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America

Ngodup Tsering
Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America

Adrian Zenz
Senior Fellow in China Studies, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Ellen Bork
Contributing Editor, American Purpose


Glen Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation

Participant Biographies

Robert Destro served as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.  He has a long history as a human rights advocate and civil rights attorney with expertise in elections, employment, and constitutional law.  Destro has served on the faculty at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law since 1982 and served as its interim dean from 1999 to 2001.  He was founding director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion and served as the Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies from June 2017 to September 2019.  He served as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1983-1989.  His legal work includes collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo in a fifteen-year dialogue among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders in the legal, business, and religious fields in the United States and the Middle East as well as efforts promoting the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the Middle East.  He has served as voting rights counsel for the Ohio Secretary of State and has advocated for the first amendment rights of individuals and organizations.

He earned a B.A. from Miami University, Ohio, and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.  He is an active member of the Bar in Ohio and California.


Kalon Ngodup Tsering assumed The Post Of Representative Of His Holiness The Dalai Lama To North America On December 1, 2017. He was born on July 1, 1953 in Tibet. He is an alumnus of Punjab University, Chandigarh. He was also a former member of the Tibetan Parliament-In-Exile from 1979-1982. He joined the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in 1983 in the post of Deputy Secretary in Department of Education and transferred to Department of Home, CTA in 1987.  He also served as the Director of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) from 1991-1995. He was one of the recipients of the “Best Officer” award among gazetted officers of the CTA in 1995, awarded by a Swiss based Tibetan Association. In 1996, he was appointed to the role of Secretary of the Department of Education, CTA. In 1999, he was transferred to the Department of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration as the Home secretary. In the year 2000, he moved to the US where he served as the President and the Director of Tibetan American Foundations of Minnesota and Tibetan Association of North California from 2001 to 2008. He rejoined CTA as the Secretary of the Department of Education in 2012, under the 14th Kashag led by Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay. In 2014, he was appointed as Kalon of Department of Education and reappointed at the same post in 2016 and served in the department till November 30, 2017.


Adrian Zenz is a Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Washington, D.C. (non-resident), and supervises PhD students at the European School of Culture and Theology, Korntal, Germany. His research focus is on China’s ethnic policy, public recruitment in Tibet and Xinjiang, Beijing’s internment campaign in Xinjiang, and China’s domestic security budgets. Dr. Zenz is the author of Tibetanness under Threat and co-editor of Mapping Amdo: Dynamics of Change. He has played a leading role in the analysis of leaked Chinese government documents, to include the “China Cables” and the “Karakax List.” Dr. Zenz is an advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, and a frequent contributor to the international media.


Ellen Bork writes about American foreign policy with an emphasis on democracy and human rights in Asia.  From 2018-2020 she was a visiting fellow at the Project 2049 Institute where she focused on American policy toward the exiled Tibetan leadership and Mongolia.  Her writing has appeared in publications including the Washington Post, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and American Purpose where she is a contributing editor.  Her experience in foreign policy includes positions at the State Department and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Glen Howard is the President of the Jamestown Foundation, one of the world’s leading research and analysis organizations on Eurasia. Based in Washington, D.C., Mr. Howard has overseen the research and analysis activities of Jamestown for the past 16 years and extensively dealt with Russia and Eurasia in his capacity as Jamestown President, working with the regional leaders and national strategists across Eurasia from the Baltic to Central Asia.

An expert on Eurasia and Russia, Mr. Howard is the co-author with Matt Czekaj of the new book Russia’s Military Strategy and Doctrine, a collection of writings on Russian military strategy and doctrine by some of the world’s leading defense experts. Mr. Howard is also the editor of the book Volatile Borderland: Russia and the North Caucasus, and other works. He has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, Real Clear Defense, the Hill, and other prominent publications.

Mr. Howard is privileged to have worked for the late Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski from 2002 to 2008 as the executive director of an advocacy organization seeking a peaceful resolution of the second Russo-Chechen war.  Mr. Howard worked at the U.S. Embassy Moscow from 1984-1986 and is fluent in Russian and proficient in French, Turkish and Azerbaijani.

Mr. Howard received a Master’s degree in Soviet and East European Studies from the University of Kansas (1988) and has an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in Business Management (1984).