On a cold winter morning in December 2012, the mother figure for hundred thousands of Tibetan children stood tall amid the dignitaries, luminaries and students of the University of San Francisco (USF). Ama (mother) Jetsun Pema was being conferred with the honorary doctorate by USF.
The statement released by USF on the eve of the commencement ceremony lauded Jetsun Pema’s work for the “plight of Tibetan refugee children for more than forty years.” The President of USF Privett remarked, “the University of San Francisco is proud to honor her life’s work and dedication to promoting peace in her country through caring for and educating its children. She models the Jesuit ideal of being a woman for others.”
While congratulatory messages poured in for Amala, I paused to reflect on what a proud moment this is for all Tibetans inside and outside Tibet and for women around the world who work to champion the cause of education and empowerment.
This award among many others which Ama Jetsun Pema so rightly deserve adds credence to her indomitable role in rebuilding Tibetan lives in exile and reiterates her indispensable role in educating Tibetan children and in empowering Tibetan women. Her unflinching commitment, lifelong dedication and altruistic work towards creating a brighter future for our nation remain immeasurable. Her tireless and self-sacrificing efforts toward nurturing thousands of lives stand as a powerful inspiration to all of us to take pertinent role in building our nation’s future for sustenance, growth and prosperity.
Truly, Ama Jetsun Pema is the illuminating light for the emancipation of the underprivileged, a beacon of hope, and a bastion of optimism. Dr Ama Jetsun Pema truly is in the words of USF President Privett “a woman for others,” living by the motto of the Tibetan Children’s Village schools she has single handedly managed for over four decades. The motto was and still is, “Others Before Self.”