The Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), the University of Virginia’s Tibet Sustainable Governance Program (UVA), and Machik—a D.C.-based NGO promoting “community revitalization and sustainability” on the Tibetan plateau—held a five-day Tibetan Education and Language Policy Symposium from 27 April – 1 May in Charlottesville, VA, and Washington, D.C. The gathering of scholars and practitioners featured a two-day Tibetan Education and Bilingualism workshop at the University of Virginia’s historical Rotunda focusing on bilingual education issues in the Tibetan region (including China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region, Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan provinces). The workshop was co-sponsored by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the University of Virginia Curry School of Education.

The symposium and workshop convened international researchers, Chinese scholars, and education practitioners from the Tibetan region to explore global and comparative perspectives on the challenges of education and language protection on the Tibetan plateau. Specifically, the workshop took an interdisciplinary approach to the challenge of education—drawing on scholars in education, development economics and history—in engaging Tibetan practitioners in a discussion on the diversity of approaches in China and globally. Participants included scholars from the United States, Canada, Norway, as well as national-level and provincial-level Chinese experts.

These meetings were part of a continuing process among the above partners to explore public sector challenges in the Tibetan region related to a variety of social, economic, and environmental influences.