September 2020

After an extensive international search, the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan is happy to announce that it has selected a scholar to fill its new position in Tibetan Buddhist Studies, funded by an endowment from Khyentse Foundation. The department received dozens of applications from highly qualified scholars from around the world. After long deliberation, they offered the position to Professor Sangseraima Ujeed, who accepted the offer in April and has now joined the faculty.

Professor Ujeed :The precious moment of touching the physical pages of the collected works of the Khalkha Dzaya Pandita Lobsang Trinley for the first time after six years of working on its contents. Inner Mongolia, 2018.

Professor Ujeed received her D.Phil. degree from Oxford University in 2018, where her dissertation research was supported by a prestigious Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation, ACLS fellowship. The following year, she had the rare distinction of receiving a second fellowship from this program, winning a highly competitive two-year postdoctoral fellowship hosted by the Buddhist Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Working in Tibetan, Mongolian, Sanskrit, Pali, and Chinese, she studies the networks of influence of the Inner Asian Buddhist world, especially between Tibet and Mongolia. She is also a translator for 84000: Translating the words of the Buddha.

Dr. Ujeed joins the Michigan faculty as an assistant professor and is on track to be appointed to the Khyentse Gendun Chopel Professorship when she is promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in a few years.

Professor Donald S. Lopez

“We could not be more pleased with this outcome and could not be more grateful to Khyentse Foundation, both for its support to the Buddhist Studies Program at the University of Michigan and for its commitment to excellence in Buddhist Studies around the world. Thanks to Khyentse Foundation, research and teaching in Tibetan Buddhist Studies will flourish at the University of Michigan for generations to come,” said Professor Donald S. Lopez, the Arthur E. Link Distinguished Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies.

Asked to comment on her new position, Professor Ujeed said, “It is a profound honor to join the exceptional Buddhist Studies team here at the University of Michigan as well as the scholars of Khyentse Foundation’s global network. It has been my enduring dream to live a life that would enable me to engage with the Buddhist tradition through research and teaching. This position, so generously endowed by Khyentse Foundation, represents more than just a job, but a lifelong responsibility to continue to build the field of Buddhist Studies and strengthen its implications for the wider Buddhist world, a responsibility I will do everything in my capacity to fulfill. I feel inspired, humbled, and excited by this opportunity to expand and broaden the academic horizons of the Buddhist world in the years to come.” 

KF endowed the Khyentse Gendun Chopel Professorship at the University of Michigan in 2018 to further enhance one of the largest Buddhist Studies programs in North America. The professorship is named after the radical Tibetan poet, philosopher, and painter Gendun Chopel (1903-1951), regarded by many as the leading Tibetan thinker of the 20th century. You can read about Gendun Chopel in the Treasury of Lives; The Madmans Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel; Gendun Chopel: Tibets First Modern Artist, and other writings by Professor Don Lopez.

We warmly welcome Dr. Sangseraima Ujeed—whose name is an English transliteration of the Mongolian pronunciation of her Tibetan name, Sangs sras ma, which means “Daughter of the Buddha”—to this prestigious position. We look forward to the fruits of her teaching and research at the University of Michigan in the years ahead. 

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