about AMI
 
Up The Name
Message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Background
Objectives and Relevance
Funding
Awards
Founding Directors
Permanent Staff
Governing Body, Board of Advisors and Consultants
Donors, Friends and Supporters

 

 

 
  The Name
 
  Amnye Machen is the major mountain range in North-Eastern Tibet. Amnye or "Grand-Father" Machen, is also one of Tibet's oldest mountain deities and mythical ancestral figures. He is worshipped in his many forms across Tibet and beyond, from as far south-east as the land of the Jang (Nashi) people, to Ladakh in the west.  
 
  An image of Amnye Machen wearing a nomad felt-hat and mounted on a horse is depicted on the background of our home page.
 
   

 
 
 
  Message from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama  
 
  I am happy to learn that four Tibetans have, on their own initiative, founded the Amnye Machen Institute. It is vital that such an Institute be formed in order that Tibetans study their own historical, literary, intellectual, cultural and social problems in a systematic and scientific manner. Beyond just considerations of academics, such an effort will most certainly assist Tibetan society in its progress towards democracy and in understanding and confronting the challenges of the present and the future.  
 
  The Institute's proposed programmes to inform and educate the Tibetan public and make available to it the literary heritage and scientific knowledge of the world is also tremendously welcome. So too is the programme on Women's Studies. These have long been areas of great concern to me. I am particularly encouraged to know that the Institute is focussing its main attention and efforts on the lay and humanist aspects of Tibetan culture and thinking.
 
  It is my hope that the efforts of the Amnye Machen Institute to bring about a Tibetan renaissance will eventually bear fruit. I would like to ask all Tibetans and friends to assist in the realisation of this commendable and consequential project.  
 
 

July 16th 1992
(Translated from the Tibetan)

 
 
   

 
 
 
  Background
 
  Tibet's first substantial introduction to the modern world came through the Chinese Communist occupation. Distorted and self-serving versions of world history, politics, art and science were implanted in the Tibetan mind by Chinese cadres whose own understanding of these subjects, including Marxism, were often simplistic and half-digested. Today Communist ideology has been replaced by a crude, frenetic materialism unredeemed by even a token infusion of liberal or democratic values.  
 
  In exile, Tibetans have struggled to preserve their ancient culture and religion. Yet their very success in this task, coupled with their traditional conservatism, has resulted in an unfortunate closing-in of the national mind from further investigation, discussion or movement towards the cultural and intellectual changes necessary to making Tibetan institutions and ideas viable in a rapidly changing world.
 
  Also unfortunate is the lack of contact with cultural and intellectual developments inside Tibet and the neglect of secular Tibetan culture. This is partly due to the priority of resources and the attention devoted to religion. In recent years this focus on religion has been intensified by its attraction to the West. This disparity of concern is evident in the translation of hundreds of Tibetan works into foreign languages, while only the Bible and a few other works have been translated into Tibetan.  
 
   

 
 
 
  Objectives
 
  The Amnye Machen Institute (AMI) has begun a movement towards addressing these and other imbalances and limitations in the intellectual, social and cultural life of the Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet. The Institute is undertaking systematic and scientific studies into Tibetan history, culture, society and politics.  
 
  AMI is also initiating studies into the external cultures, ideologies and nations that have influenced the course of Tibetan history; but which have been insufficiently examined till now. These efforts are directed towards opening up and exploring new horizons in Tibetan studies and focuse on important subjects such as contemporary Tibetan art, literature and women's studies that have hitherto received scant attention.
 
  Relevance
 
  AMI studies the past to help Tibetans understand the present and prepare for the future. Its concerns extend beyond preservation.  
 
  AMI's work is directed at informing and raising the cultural and intellectual awareness of the Tibetan people, both in Tibet and in exile.
 
  AMI is making available and accessible to the Tibetan people the rich heritage of literature, culture and scientific knowledge of the world.  
 
  AMI is the only such organisation established along liberal and humanist lines. Its focus is essentially on secular subjects with emphasis on the contemporary and the neglected aspects of Tibetan culture and history.
 
  AMI is not an academy designed to centralise arts and letters, or to lay down laws on semantics or aesthetics. It is a service for all independent Tibetan writers, academics, poets, artists and musicians. It provides outlets for their creativity, forums for discussion and promotion of their work, together with research facilities, expertise, funding, national and international recognition.  
 
   

 
 
 
  Funding
 
  Whilst it is the declared aim and intention of AMI to become self-supporting and sufficient, it is at this stage largely dependent on grant-aid and sponsorship for its income.  
 
  Details of sponsorship costs for individual programmes and book translations are available on request.
 
  Channels exist for sponsorships and grants to be treated as charitable contributions in the following countries: USA, Canada, Australia and the UK.  
 
  The Institute is registered in India under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, as a non-profit educational organisation.
 
   

 
 
 
  Awards
 
  1994 and 1996 Poul Lauritzen (PL) Prize for Freedom Awarded to AMI  
 
  The Prize for Freedom is awarded annually by the PL Foundation of Denmark to individuals and institutions which have made significant contributions to the cause of human rights. The first Prize for Freedom was awarded to playwright Ali Taygun of Turkey (1987). Others who have been awarded the Prize include Andrzej Milczanowski and Piotr Andrezjewski of Poland (1988), both lawyers and members of Solidarity. In 1990, the Prize went to Peter Lazda of Latvia, a lawyer, Gintautus of Lithuania (journalist), and Mati Hint of Estonia (scholar).  
 
  Poul Lauritzen was himself a freedom fighter during the Second World War. As an active member of the Danish Resistance, he became greatly concerned by the injustice and suffering during the war when millions of people were imprisoned, tortured and killed because of their beliefs or their race. To support the continued struggle for human rights, Poul Lauritzen established the PL Foundation on 28 September 1984.
 
  In choosing AMI for its 1994 Prize for Freedom the PL Foundation announced that:

"Acknowledging the long-term importance of AMI's many new programmes and related activities, the PL Foundation chose to recognise in particular AMI's programme to document the gross and systematic violation of human rights inside Tibet and the effective steps AMI has initiated to promote and strengthen democracy within Tibetan society. (...) AMI has made a powerful impact on the intellectual and political life of Tibetans. Books, journals and a newspaper published by AMI have reached the furthest corners of occupied Tibet and are avidly read by Tibetans in exile."