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Dalai Lama,Tibetan government offer condolences on the passing of Robert Ford

September 30, 2013

September 27, 2013: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama yesterday offered his prayers for Robert Webster Ford, Tibetan government's first foreigner officer, who passed away in England on September 20, at the age of 90. The Tibetan leader expressed his deepest condolences to the family members of Robert Ford.

In a letter to Ford's family, the Dalai Lama said Robert Ford occupied a special place in the history of Tibet as the first Englishman employed as an official of the pre-1959 Tibetan Government. His Holiness also recalled his meetings with Robert Ford, most recently this year in April in Switzerland.

Robert Ford known better as Phodo Kusho (Ford Sir) by Tibetans was the first foreigner to serve in the Tibetan government services and given an official rank.

In early 1940’s, Ford joined the Government of Tibet as its first radio operator. He was asked by the Tibetan government to start Tibet’s first broadcasting station, train Tibetan radio operators and set up a radio communications network throughout Tibet.

The Tibetan government in exile (Central Tibetan Administration) and the Tibetan Parliament have also expressed their grievances over Ford’s demise.

“We have learnt with great sorrow of the death of one of the oldest friends of Tibet, Robert Ford. He was a staunch supporter of the cause of Tibet throughout his life,” said Dicki Chhoyang, minister (Kalon) for Department of Information and International Relations. “He was one of the founding members of Tibet Society, the first ever Tibet Support Group. Robert Ford would be remembered for his life long support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

In April 2013 at London, Ford was honored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the International Campaign for Tibet’s ‘Light of Truth Award’ for his “tireless advocacy on behalf of Tibet for more than half a century.”

The Tibetan Parliament yesterday passed a resolution mourning the death of Ford. The Parliament expressed its condolences and prayed for his noble rebirth.

Ford is survived by his two sons, Martin and Giles, and three grandchildren, Emma, Candice and Nicholas.

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