I was awarded the Tibetan Scholarship Program at American University, Washington, D.C., from where I earned my LLM degree that I hang with pride in my office. My one year in the United States opened me to the idea of interacting with people from various cultures and backgrounds, friendships I continue to cherish till date. A degree from the US has also opened lots of possibilities for me. Upon my return, I had been working as the Local Justice Commissioner in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, and at Dehradun, Uttarakhand, since 2010, and had started to feel stagnant both in my personal and professional life.
While I was indebted and attached to my organization, and felt a sense of responsibility towards them, simultaneously, I began to feel this strong urge to make a shift from my existing career. Fearing opposition from family and colleagues, I was unable to express this need that I was experiencing. My job as a Local Justice Commissioner is considered prestigious in my society and to resign from it would involve risk. My parents and senior colleagues did not want me to leave the security of this employment and the respect it commanded for a new adventure or any less privileged occupation. Despite these opposing views, I was sure I could trust my hard work and instincts to change the current course of my life.
The I Have a Dream program pushed me to discover my inner self, articulate my thoughts and further put them into action. It also helped me become more confident of my thoughts and beliefs, and inspired me to leap into action. I was constantly reminded and made to believe by the facilitators that my past experiences are my assets and would add perspective to whatever I intend to undertake in the future.
I finally resigned from the position of the Local Justice Commissioner on December 10, 2015, and decided to initiate and lead a Legal Office of the Tibetan Legal Association (TLA) at Dharamsala. This is a collaborative project formed by an association of like-minded people from the legal profession, and was originally conceived and formed after deliberations between Tibetan lawyers in 2013 and formally registered in 2014. However, actual work had not commenced so far. With me as the first working member in a capacity of a standing legal counsel, the office opened on March 1, 2016.
My peer-mentor has been extremely helpful during this process. She made me examine my thoughts and constantly encouraged me to speak out and express the ambitions I had for myself. She was also helpful in gently nudging me towards my new ambition and encouraged me wholeheartedly. I could finally make the decision to open myself to face more challenging situations and engage in this new job.
Namgyal Tsekey is currently a standing Legal Counsel at the Tibetan Legal Association Office established at Dharamsala on March 1, 2016. She participated in the USG-sponsored Tibetan Scholarship Program, through which she earned her LL.M. degree at American University, Washington, D.C. in 2006. She was mentored by the Pravah team through the USG-sponsored I Have a Dream leadership and mentoring program for International Exchange Alumni.