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Our Mission

Tibet House US is dedicated to preserving Tibet’s unique culture at a time when it is confronted with extinction on its own soil. By presenting Tibetan civilization and its profound wisdom, beauty, and special art of freedom to the people of the world, we hope to inspire others to join the effort to protect and save it.

Tibet House US is part of a worldwide network of Tibetan institutions committed to ensuring that the light of the Tibetan spirit never disappears from the face of this earth.

Our History

In 1987, “a group of Westerners sympathetic to the Tibetan cause,” Columbia University professor and THUS President Robert Thurman, the first western Buddhist monk, actor and Chairman of the International Campaign for TibetRichard Gere, and classical composer and THUS Vice President Philip Glass, founded the organization to preserve, protect and present the cultural and religious heritage of Tibet, and give a contemporary understanding of the contributions this endangered culture offers, in the Flatiron district of New York City. [43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51] Frances Thargay, while working at the Office of Tibet in New York as Executive Assistant to the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the US, Tenzin Tethong, wrote the first draft of Richard Gere’s proposal for Tibet House.[52] Managing Director Nena Thurman initiated the annual benefit concert with Glass, and the annual benefit auction. She is also the Executive Chairwoman of the THUS project, Menla Retreat.[53][54]

THUS has worked with many different educational and cultural institutions. This includes sponsoring teachings in New York by the Dalai Lama,[56][57][58] and a three-day conference in 2011, The Newark Peace Education Summit, on the policies and methods used by communities to establish peace. Participants included the Dalai Lama and fellow Nobel Laureates, anti-landmine activist Jody Williams, and Iranian civil rights activist Shirin EbadiCory BookerMartin Luther King III, economist Jeffrey Sachs, Deepak Chopra, Rabbi Michael Lerner; anthropologist Wade Davis, who shared a stage with representatives of the NavajoDene, and Hopi nations; and many other international and local activists.[59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66] A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection, “a visual knockout of a book” published by THUS,[67] was the accompanying publication for the traveling exhibition In the Realm of the Buddha at the Smithsonian.[68][69][70] THUS also serves as a meeting place for local Tibetan and Tibetan Buddhist community programs and events.

The Art of Freedom Award, honoring outstanding contributions reflecting THUS’ mission, has been presented to author and human rights advocate Eliot Pattison,[71] director Martin Scorsese,[72] and artist Roy Lichtenstein, among others.

Fundraising events include a yearly auction and dinner, and a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall organized by Philip Glass that has featured Patti SmithDavid BowieLaurie AndersonLou ReedIggy PopBjörkDebbie HarryGogol BordelloFKA TwigsAnnie LennoxEddie VedderPhoebe BridgersTenzin ChoegyalThe Flaming Lips and many other musicians over its thirty-plus years history.[73][74][75][76][77][78] Opening 2021’s online, live stream 34th benefit, the Dalai Lama sent a video message of congratulation and thanks to Tibet House US, Bob and Nena Thurman, and those who started Tibet House in New York. He also thanked Sogpo (Mongolian) Wangyal, the late Geshe Wangyal, Thurman’s teacher, for also contributing to advocating Tibetan Buddhism among Americans

Volunteer / Internship Application Form
Tibet House US depends on the generosity of our community’s time and effort to support our work. We are always looking for volunteers with all kinds of skills.

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