MEDIA ADVISORY: University of Virginia Students Organize Dialogue on the Current Conflict in Tibet

April 16, 2008 — A student-organized conference on April 17, from 3:30 to 6:30 Newcomb Hall Ballroom, aims to promote dialogue in the University of Virginia community about the current conflict in Tibet. Four brief 15-minute presentations by U.Va. professors in several disciplines will be followed by question-and-answer sessions and presentations from six students.

Four professors will speak from 3:40 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Brantly Womack, a professor of politics who has written or edited several books on Chinese politics; Tashi Rabgey, a lecturer and director of U.Va.'s Contemporary Tibetan Studies Initiative; Ran Zhao, a lecturer in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures who teaches Chinese language; and David Germano, an associate professor of Tibetan and Buddhist studies and founding director of the Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library.

After a question-and-answer session and break, student presenters will speak from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by refreshments. The six student speakers include Haiming Yan, a sociology doctoral student and Beijing native who has traveled to Tibet a number of times, and Sarah Zauner, a foreign affairs and economics major who traveled to Sichuan, China, last summer with a study-abroad program, where she studied gender and societal relations at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries.

The event, titled "Understanding the Current Conflict in Tibet: A Student Conference at U.Va.," is sponsored by U.Va.'s East Asia Center, the Contemporary Tibetan Studies Initiative and the International Studies Office. Event details are available at

The event is intended for U.Va. community members. The event organizers plan to offer a similar event in the future that will be designed to engage the larger Charlottesville community. The event organizers welcome media attention and are willing to do interviews. Some event participants have requested not to be photographed, so no photography will be permitted during the event.