Born in Tibet in 1956. Thubten Samphel attended schools and colleges in India. Graduated from the School of Journalism at Columbia University in 1989. Since then edited Tibetan Bulletin, the official English language publication of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). Served as the information secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations of the CTA from 1999 to 2012. In 2012 he became the head of the Tibet Policy Institute, a think tank of the CTA whose work is focused on research in Tibet.
Journalism pieces on Tibet by Thubten Samphel have appeared both within India and internationally, including The Harvard International Review, Huffington Post, the Diplomatist, the Australian Age and Inter-press Service. Thubten Samphel is a regular reviewer for books on Tibet for the Hindustan Times, a major English language newspaper in India. He is the author of two works of fiction called Falling Through the Roof and Copper Mountain. He has translated into English New Tibet: Memoirs of a Graduate of Peking University and co-translated Tibet in Chains: Stories of Nine Tibetan Nuns. He has co-authored The Dalai Lamas of Tibet and Tibet from Tranquility to Turmoil. He is also the author of Tibet: Reports from Exile.
He lives in South India.