For the Guinness World Record Book: Ven. Kelsang Wangmo is First Woman to Receive Geshe diploma (conferred by Tibetan Buddhist institution).
The degree is entitled Rime Geshe [i.e., Non-Sectarian Geshe] because the curriculum includes study with Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu masters of their respective presentations of philosophy. In addition to the normal Geshe curriculum study of the Five Great Canonical Texts, Geshe Wangmo and her classmates studied tantra for two years at IBD. Those who receive the Rime Geshe have completed exhaustive annual examinations comparable to those now administered at the three great Geluk monastic universities in south India, and submitted Tibetan dissertations.
In the 1990's, IBD began teaching the Geshe curriculum to a class of nuns from Jamyang Chosling Nunnery, which caters to nuns from Himalyan regions outside of Tibet (primarily located in modern India). This was one of the earliest programs to teach the advanced Buddhist philosophy to nuns in India. For many long years, the nun students lived in shacks without basic amenities. A few of those pioneering nuns are celebrating with Geshe Wangmo! A few years ago, a modern nunnery was inaugurated in the Kangra Valley with its own teachers and geshe program and it has attracted nuns from Nepal and the west.
More photos on earlier post and on flickr.