Robert studied at Harvard University. A Professor of Comparative Religion at Columbia University, Robert was the first Western monk to be initiated by the Dalai Lama. Author of many books on Buddhism, Robert is known as an authority on Tibetan texts and translations. He holds the first endowed Chair of Buddhist Studies in the US. Robert works tirelessly in the Free Tibet movement. He is the co-founder and President of Tibet House, New York. Time magazine chose him as one of the 25 most influential Americans in 1997.