Samtso sits inside speaking to a colleague. She smiles at her colleague and clasps her hands while resting her right elbow on the arm of the light green chair she's sitting in.
Sanmu "Samtso" Caoji (2022, Tibet, China) is a social entrepreneur and a Tibetan-leading female NGO executive director. (TJ Ushing/UC Davis)

Meet Sanmu "Samtso" Caoji, 2022-23 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow

To get to know the 2022-23 Humphrey fellows, we asked them about their lives, work and hopes for the future. Here are Samtso Caoji's answers in her own words.

Sanmu "Samtso" Caoji

What motivates you?

About Sanmu "Samtso" Caoji

Pronouns: she/her

Country: Tibet, China

Occupation: Founder of the Shangri-la Gyalthang Academy, CEO of the Cultural Information Consulting Company

Field: Nutrition, agribusiness, value-added farming and ranching products

Learn more about Samsto

"As a public service worker, when a series of my work helps the community to improve their life or better health condition, I would like to devote myself to this work further, though there are lots of challenges my team needs to face.

"In the past two years, I have done homestay training in the community. I not only taught them how to make money by renting their extra rooms to tourists, but I also taught them to clean their living environment. After three months, I could see improvement in cleaning the toilets and kitchen.

"Many villagers lack the resources or the correct information that they need for someone to lead and make money to generate their livelihood. I am in this to help people around me who need help.

"Last year, with the support of One Minute Academy, I learned how to professionally take photos and edit videos with Adobe Premiere Pro to make one-minute videos, which is very helpful for my work. My next step is to train others in what I have learned without charging fees."

What drew you to your professional field?

"Among Tibetans living in China, I count myself among the luckiest ones. I enrolled in an English training program when I was 18 years old. We had nine to ten native English-speaking foreign instructors in this program who taught us authentic English plus many worldwide cultures and critical thinking skills throughout four years. I felt as if a lock had switched off on the back of my head. I began to have the motivation to perceive situations from different angles. Along with being courageous enough to discuss my thoughts with my teachers and classmates, I dare to express my thoughts and want to help people and girls around me for a better life. I got lots of people's support to get where I am now, which drew me to help others through NGO and social enterprise work.

"In recent years, the Chinese government has invested a large amount of money and action into rural revitalization. I want to put my efforts into building better lives for my people without wiping away our traditional norms and beliefs. I want to learn about the impactful practices in the USA towards rural development and models that bring concrete solutions for rural revitalization in Tibetan areas in China."

Why did you apply for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program?

"The initial reason I applied to the Humphrey Program is that in 2019 after I became one of the PFP fellows, I got the opportunity to attend the gathering at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. I met a Humphrey fellow alumnus from Gansu who is implementing excellent environmental wetland protection work in a Tibetan nomadic community in Maqu County, Gannan. His work has been recognized by the government and local people as well.

"Since 2005, I have been doing numerous projects in the rural Tibetan communities in Amdo, Kham and Central Tibet. From that point, I applied for this fellowship to expand my network within China and abroad to benefit my personal and professional strengths. Furthermore, I am looking for problem-solving skills for the same issue from different perspectives. I assume the Humphrey fellows would be the right source as each one of us has practical working experiences and supporting theories. Thus, I am dreaming of being part of it.

"Moreover, I am a mother of two kids. I want to set a good example for them that Mom is a rock star who is still involved in learning new skills. Therefore, they have to learn Chinese, Tibetan and English to be responsible generations."

What do you hope to take away from this fellowship and apply to your work or at home?

"I want to take away lots of friendships. I hope I can meet my old friends in the USA. I am extraverted and keen on expressing my ideas. However, when it comes to giving speeches, I still need to learn techniques for delivering a powerful speech and public presentation skills that can convince many other people who reached their period of stagnation in their career development to apply for the fellowship in the near future."

What is something from your country that you would like to share with the UC Davis community?

"There are lots of things I could be shared. I can share Tibetan circle dance and Tibetan model walk. Let people move around and interact with others to get away from the sedentary lifestyle in front of computers. I can also cook Tibetan and Chinese cuisine to let people taste the different flavors of foods from different cultures. Moreover, I can lead meditation/yoga sessions for people who have attached difficulties with concentration or anxiety. Yoga is also one of the best stretch exercises among people. I can teach Tibetan and Chinese languages and calligraphy to the UC Davis community to give people an understanding of the beautiful Tibetan culture, customs, and norms. By virtue, take people to the world's highest altitude to breathe and feel the blue sky and clean water; to show the people that Tibetan nomads live on the grasslands, monasteries and Chinese Kongfu since many people are just fascinated by it."

How would you like to engage with UC Davis and the community here?

"I can audit some of the university classes to discuss with the students and give presentations on some topics as a mom and mid-career person to have very different perspectives on care, which may be interesting. I even can share some of my work experience or life experience. Some people may connect and find a similar experience accelerates their life goal achievement. I can volunteer in the local community to prepare activities and invite people for like Sunday market. Or I can join local farms to help the community to make cheese or work in the local garden to make various flower essential oil. I have also raised organic bees and produced green honey. If there is a bee farm in the community, I would like to give a hand and help around to observe how the add-valued agro-products are packaged and marketed.

"In addition, rural revitalization in China is ongoing. I can definitely share the powerful parts that can reduplicate in other developing countries, but also I can learn hands-on practice in the USA and impact back home."


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