Co-Founder + Director
Loka Initiative
About Dekila Chungyalpa

Dekila Chungyalpa is the Co-Founder and Director of the Loka Initiative, a capacity building and outreach platform at the University of Wisconsin – Madison for faith leaders and culture keepers of indigenous traditions who work on environmental and climate issues. Dekila began her career working on community-based conservation in the Himalayas and went on to work on regional climate change adaptation and free flowing rivers in the Mekong region for the World Wildlife Fund. In 2008, she helped His Holiness the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, establish Khoryug, an association of over 50 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries implementing environmental projects across the Himalayas. In 2009, Dekila founded and led WWF Sacred Earth, a 5-year pilot program that built partnerships with faith leaders and religious institutions towards concrete conservation results in the Amazon, East Africa, Himalayas, Mekong, and the United States. She received the prestigious Yale McCluskey Award in 2014 for conservation innovation for her work with faith leaders and moved to the Yale School of Environmental Studies as an associate research scientist, where she researched, lectured and designed what is now the Loka Initiative.

She is originally from the Himalayan state of Sikkim in India and speaks five languages: Sikkimese, Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi and English