"Younger generation are the future, we can achieve change, not through meditation but education"
London: - These words by His Holiness the Dalai Lama have always carried great potency to myself as a writer but in London on Friday a conference embodied these words and brought the importance of the West in securing the long term future of Tibet into the public eye.
The hugely informative conference entitled; "Contemporary Tibet: Politics of Transformation, Identity and Resistance" sold out days before the event with topics covering; Tibetan dress, self-immolations, nomadic life and Tibetan poetry among others. The talks themselves were both informative and hugely thought provoking, however, the real reason I have written this piece is because of the people giving the presentations.
Many speakers were PhD candidates and masters students and this swell of a new generation studying and publishing about Tibet shows a greater interest and crucially funding in Tibet and Tibetans in Exile.
Many where from Oxford University, the stalwart of Tibetan academic research but, importantly, also from the University of Birmingham who had previously not had much of a academic input in Tibet, but at this one conference alone there was two speakers and it also co-organised the event.
The university's department of political science and international studies provided the speakers Dr Tsering Topgyal and James Connell drove home the point that certainly in the UK Tibet is seeing a resurgence academically; with Tsering recently employed by the university and James who is a PhD candidate studying Tibetans in Exile.
This academic renaissance of Tibet's unfurling history can be the UK and the West's greatest input towards Tibet as it not only educates but crucially it is creating a written account for those in the future to understand the anthropological and political situation in the snap shot of the past decade in Tibet.
For Tibet to look towards it's future first it must understand it's new identity and this new generation can help in this new and turbulent era for Tibet and it's people.