Lha’s first cultural exchange student group of the year was from Tulane University in New Orleans, USA. The group, consisting of 12 students led by Mr. Michael Smith, arrived on June 7, 2013, to explore the Tibetan refugee and local Indian communities during their three-week stay in North India. As it was their first visit to Dharamsala, we first introduced them to Lha. We then took them around town to explore the Tibetan community, including visits to various departments of the CTA, the Tibet Library and other parts of Dharamsala. The group also attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s talk at the TCV School on June 27. They also visited Bir Tibetan settlement, Tsopema and Mandi.
une 12 Lha organized a workshop at Gangkyi Petoen Day School. The workshop was taught by students from the Tulane exchange group. More than 100 children, ranging from 1st to 5th grade, participated. All of the art supplies were generously donated by Ms. Kate Neuschaefer of artsforthenations.org, based in Colorado, USA. Both the local and the exchange students enjoyed the workshop immensely. Lha was very excited to organize such a workshop, and we plan to organize similar creativity workshops in various Tibetan refugee schools in the future.
On June 23 Lha was delighted to welcome Professor Samdhong Rinpoche to Ahimsa House. He delivered a lecture on Buddhism and nonviolence to the student group. Professor Samdhong Rinpoche is an eminent scholar who is respected throughout the world in the areas of Buddhist philosophy, science, and politics. In addition to being an outspoken proponent of nonviolence, he was Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile twice and the first directly elected Kalon Tripa (prime minister). He currently serves as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s highest representative and as the Chancellor of Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies based in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. We were greatly honoured to receive a visit and lecture from him.
Our exchange students were also involved in mutual learning exchanges with Lha’s students, allowing them to experience and share each other’s different cultures. The exchange group also visited the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) to learn about its operation and engaged in a session with Ama Ade, a former Tibetan political prisoner.