A scholarship has been created by the family of Daja Wangchuk Meston Greenberg ’96 to honor the memory of the passionate advocate for Tibetan people and culture who took his own life on July 11.
The scholarship will recognize a Brandeis student who carries on the social-justice ideals and values that Daja championed.
Daja was raised by Buddhist monks in Nepal and graduated from Brandeis cum laude in 1996 despite having no formal schooling before he enrolled. The Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies area on which he concentrated at Brandeis contributed to his campaign for human rights and shaped the way he applied his abundant compassion, thoughtfulness and intellectual curiosity.
“Here was a young man of great sensitivity and depth, and when you saw him smile you could sense all that,” said Gordie Fellman, the professor of sociology with whom he studied most extensively. “He was my student, my teacher, my son, my brother, my comrade, my colleague, my friend.”
Fellman chose Daja and his wife, Phuntsok (Kim) ’05, as the godparents of his children because “they were the people we felt would bring the values, gentleness and compassion to child rearing that we’d be hoping for if something happened to us.”
Daja’s extraordinary life was the subject of a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal by reporter Clare Ansberry in 2005. Daja and Ansberry then collaborated on Daja’s memoir, “Comes the Peace: My Journey to Forgiveness,” which was published in 2007.
In his memoir, Daja told of being put in a Buddhist monastery at age 6 by his parents, who had hopes of him becoming a monk. His father returned to the United States, while his mother became a nun. The only white-skinned boy in the monastery, he was teasingly called “White Eye” and “Rotten.” His experiences in the monastery had a profound and lasting impact, motivating him to always show kindness and generosity to others.
He and his wife founded Karma, a fair-trade crafts shop in Newton, Mass., where he often shared tea with customers.
He leaves his wife; a baby daughter, Jasmine; his father, Larry Greenberg; his mother, Feather Meston; a niece; a nephew; an uncle; an aunt; and seven first cousins.
To make a gift in support of Daja Wangchuk Meston Greenberg '96 Endowed Scholarship or for more information, contact Raquel Rosenblatt (firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-736-4022).