About us

Who are we?

smartvote Tibet is an initiative of the association “Project Democracy”. The platform is an adapted version of smartvote, which was first developed in 2003 by Politools in Switzerland. The tool has been successfully implemented for regional and national elections in Switzerland, Australia and throughout Europe.

Project Democracy

Project Democracy is an association formed by a group of Tibetans who have a background in political science, history, psychology, technology and human rights law.

The Project Democracy team:

  • Palmo Brunner is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Zurich. Her research and teaching interests include diaspora politics, social movements, political participation and democracy studies. Additionally, she works on various research projects (mainly public health-related issues, currently The Covid19 pandemic and democracy).

  • Yeshi Deuss-Ngingthatshang graduated from the University of Zurich with an MA in Social and Business Psychology. She worked as an HR specialist in Telecom and eCommerce before she started her PhD studies in management at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, where she’s currently researching distrust between organizations.

  • Dechen Pemba is a UK born Tibetan and graduated from University College London with a degree in English and German Literature. After several years working as a lobbyist and campaigner on Tibet in Berlin, she lived in Beijing for two years from 2006-2008. Since completing a Masters in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Dechen has been based in London and is the editor of High Peaks Pure Earth, a website that offers translations, news, and commentary from Tibetan cyberspace and social media. Dechen also serves as a researcher and consultant on Tibet-related issues.

  • Namtso Reichlin is a diagnostic radiographer based in Switzerland. Being born and brought up in Switzerland, she always felt the urge to learn more about her Tibetan roots. In Switzerland, she applied her managerial talents as a member of the board of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE). She feels privileged to have led several Tibetan children’s camp and being part of the Olympic campaign as well as other political activities.

  • Tenzin D. Sewo is a political scientist and formerly worked as a Special Assistant to the Envoy of H. H. the Dalai Lama. He is currently working as the secretary of the Gaden Phodrang Foundation of the Dalai Lama based in Switzerland.

  • Dondup Shelkar studied Interaction Design at the University of the Arts in Zurich. He co-founded a design agency and is now working as a Design Lead at Protonmail.

  • Wangpo Tethong has his academic background in history, and has been working as a communications expert consulting various NGOs and other organizations. Furthermore, he’s currently serving as MP of the Central Tibetan Administration but has publicly announced that he will not re-run for the position.

Members of the Advisory Board of smartvote Tibet:

  • Choenyi Woeser: Editor of the Tibetan Newspaper “Bangchen” (Tibet Express).

  • Dechen Kelden: Kalmyk Tibetan activist and community organizer specializing in program development and fundraising. Co-founder of the Kalmyk Youth Coalition and a core organizer of the Tibetans of Mixed Heritage group.

  • Geshe Lhakdor: Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala. Former English translator of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and co-author of several books on Tibetan Buddhism.

  • Tempa Tsering: Director India and East Asia for the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Former Kalon at the Central Tibetan Administration and former Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi.

  • Tencho Gyatso: Director of Outreach at International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). Former member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

  • Tenzin Wangdak Gadhong: Tibetan journalist at “Voice of Tibet”.

  • Dr. Tenzin Wangmo: Research Associate at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel, Switzerland

  • Dr. Tsering Wangmo Dhompa: Assistant Professor in the English Department at Villanova University, USA. First Tibetan poetess to be published in English.


  • Robin Bartlett RissiProject manager
  • Jan FivazFounder
  • Daniel SchwarzFounder
  • Albert WaaijenbergWeb design

smartvote is a Swiss Voting Advice Application (VAA) developed and run by the politically neutral, non-profit organization Politools. Politools is an interdisciplinary scientific network located in Bern, Switzerland, which operates internet-based projects to promote civic education, political transparency as well as political analysis. Since 2003, smartvote has informed voters in over 250 elections throughout Switzerland and around the world.

Zeilenwerk is an information technology company based in Bern, Switzerland, which focuses on the conception, architecture and development of sophisticated custom-made software and web applications. As the main IT partner of Politools, Zeilenwerk (formerly known as soom-it) has supported the development of the smartvote web platform since 2014.