Birth of the Shang Shung Foundation

We are happy to announce the birth of the Shang Shung Foundation

On the 13th of January 2015, the Shang Shung Foundation, International Institute for Tibetan Culture (in short Shang Shung Foundation) was established in Italy. The Foundation will perpetuate the mission and continue the activities of the previous Cultural Association, The International Shang Shung Institute for Tibetan Studies, which will be liquidated towards the end of summer.

Who are the Founding Members?

The Founding Members of the Shang Shung Foundation are Rinpoche, his wife Rosa, the International Dzogchen Community and the Dzogchen Community of Merigar. The mission of the Foundation is established by its founding members, who are also those who provide the initial financial capital endowment that allows the Foundation to start operating. The Council of the Founders is also responsible for all the vital aspects of the Foundation (its birth, termination or changes to the statute) and for the election of the President, the Board of Directors and Auditors. In the case of physical persons (Rinpoche and Rosa) the Founding members remain in charge for their entire life and have the possibility to nominate a successor. The other Founding members (IDC and Merigar) are represented by their legal representatives who will change each time according to the internal norms of the respective organizations, thus perpetuating their role within the Foundation.

Members of the Board

The current members of the Board of Directors are Enrico Dell’Angelo (President), Yuchen Namkhai, Julia Lawless and Kirill Shilov. The choice has been made in order to build a board with the necessary competences and experience (all of the members have already years of commitment to the Institute in its different branches) and to build the required synergies that can develop and support the momentum of the Foundation international goals. The Directors remain in charge for 5 years and can be reconfirmed one more time only, for the same period. They are responsible for the ordinary and extraordinary administration of the Foundation, except for the vital aspects which can only be decreed by the Council of the Founders (see above). Thus, they look after the definition of programmes and objectives in line with the mission, the financial administration, the hiring of human resources for the management and ongoing operations of the Foundation, the establishment of committees that can assist the Foundation in its several activities, the Foundation regulations and the overall supervision of its good up keeping and direction.

Key aspects of the juridical profile and statute

Whilst in an Association the vital aspects of the institution are entrusted to the Assembly of the Members, in the Foundation these fall under the sole responsibility and decree of the Council of the Founders. Both are non profit types of organizations but in simple terms it is generally explained that whilst an Association is mainly concerned with representing and benefitting the specific vision and interests of the associates or members, a Foundation embodies the vision of the Founder/s to benefit the general public. Foundations are institutions that receive in some respects more public support and may be facilitated in the arena of public relations, financial regulations and internal administration. The intention stated in the statute of The Shang Shung Foundation is that of transforming its status into a European Foundation, as soon as this juridical form is approved and established by the European Parliament. This will allow all the different European branches of the Institute to be reunited under a single institution. In the meantime the Foundation will work to gradually establish regulations and guidelines that can ease the consolidation and integration of the Institute’s international activities and prepare the grounds for an effective transformation into a single body.

Programmes of the Foundation

The Foundation aims at promoting activities of study, research, documentation and education that can contribute to ensure the development of Tibetan culture and the continuity of its traditions (and in general of those of cultural minorities) and which can be useful in supporting the Tibetan communities in the process of adaptation of their ways of living while facing the challenges of the contemporary world.

More specifically the Foundation’s purpose is to promote, in collaboration with custodians of Tibetan traditions, experts, scholars, artists, academic institutions and civil society organizations, programmes and initiatives aimed at supporting the language, the traditional knowledge and the preservation of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage and to facilitate at the same time the international appreciation of Tibetan culture’s contribution to the world cultural heritage and human enrichment, so as to contribute to the fundamental processes of comprehension and integration amongst different peoples and cultures.

The Foundation is moved by scientific, cultural, humanitarian and social solidarity purposes, basing its work on the principle of cooperation and on the comprehension that scientific and cultural exchanges represent an important mean to enhance reciprocal understanding amongst peoples and nations.

The programmes guidelines for the start of the activities of the Foundation in 2015 are based upon the following primary areas:

• Education, public awareness and cultural integration
• Preservation and accessibility
• Publishing activities
• Activities related and complementary to the institutional goals.

How to sustain the Foundation

The Founders have contributed to the establishment of the Foundation with an initial fund of €50,000. This is the minimum starting capital for a Foundation as required by the Italian authorities but of course it is just an initial asset that requires the contribution and participation of all to make sure the Foundation can develop and be effective in its goals.

The Foundation is mainly sustained through two forms of financial income:
• Income from institutional activities and commercial activities aimed at supporting the institutional goals (income mainly from Publishing activities)
• Donations and contributions paid by natural persons, public and private entities, for the development of activities, exercised in compliance with institutional objectives

This means that every time you buy a book published by the Shang Shung Publications, attend a course organized by the Foundation or make a donation you are directly supporting also all the programmes and activities that are in the institutional agenda and which do not have a direct revenue. In this way you actually contribute directly to the mission stated by the Founders.

More questions?

If you have more questions or would like to participate to the life of the new Foundation, write to

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