Kelsang Gyaltsen was born in Kham, Tibet in 1951. In 1963 he was sent for education to Switzerland. He was trained in business and administration in Switzerland and worked as a cadre of a major Swiss bank until 1983.
In 1983 he volunteered for one year at the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India. In 1985 he was appointed as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet in Switzerland. In 1992 he was transferred to the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala as a secretary to His Holiness for international relations. In 1999 he returned to Switzerland and continued to serve as the Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Europe heading the Office of Tibet, Brussels (2001 – 2005) and the Office of Tibet in Geneva (2005 – 2008). From 2002 to 2010 as one of the two Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the dialogue with the Chinese leadership, he engaged in nine rounds of formal discussions and one informal meeting with representatives of the Chinese leadership.
In June 2012, he resigned from the task of conducting the dialogue with the Chinese government. Presently, he is continuing to serve as the Special Representative of His Holiness to Europe.