Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies and Human Rights Studies

First Advisor

Professor Benajmin Carbonetti

Second Advisor

Professor Ellison Findly


International organizations and international law have suffered from structural issues such as Westphalian sovereignty and submission to state interests. These inherent problems have contributed to the ongoing religious violence and occupation of Tibet since 1951, as Tibet does not qualify as a state under international law. While Tibet is not the only group of peoples who do not have access to international fora because of their stateless status, the Dalai Lama is unique in his platform and authority. The Dalai Lama has been able to take Buddhist values and intertwine them with the more familiar Western human rights concepts, promoting nonviolence and compassion throughout the world. As Tibet and other indigenous peoples have not been able to find their position within the current world order, the UNPO and the Dalai Lama have come together to create an international NGO to fight for indigenous issues. The prominence of the Dalai Lama and Tibet has given the UNPO an international platform for indigenous peoples to speak from. With this global platform, issues that are intrinsic to the indigenous struggle, such as population transfer and self-determination, have begun to take hold in the international community and in international law.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Human Rights Studies.