students found a Tibetan cultural association to celebrate and educate about Tibetan culture | News

A group of students founded the Harvard Undergraduate Tibetan Cultural Association to promote Tibetan culture and awareness this month.

Students involved in forming the group said the association aims to bring Tibetan students together on campus to celebrate their heritage.

“The very nature of our collective existence here as Tibetans at Harvard is really powerful,” said Tsering Yangchen ’25, who organizes events for the association.

“Just acknowledging our presence here, enabling the creation of this club in itself, is a huge accomplishment,” Yangchen added.

Tenzin Y. Dadak ’25, one of the founding members of the group, said the organization plans to serve as a cultural space for both students of Tibetan origin and those with an interest in Tibet.

“It’s up to us as Tibetans and also up to people to learn more about Tibet, apart from its political identity,” she said.

Dadak said the group also provided an opportunity to raise awareness of important aspects of Tibetan culture, such as Tibetan Buddhism.

“A big part of our culture — it’s about compassion, the well-being of others, celebrations and things like that,” she said.

In addition to its cultural function, Yangchen said she believes the club sheds light on the Chinese annexation of Tibet in 1950, which her government in exile says led to the erosion of Tibetan culture.

“In a way, it’s a form of resistance to this cultural genocide and a way to preserve our culture, which is practically disappearing right now,” Yangchen said.

The Tibetan Cultural Association has planned events for the near future, including a Tibetan New Year celebration in March.

Dadak explained that the event aims to immerse students in Tibetan culture, such as trying khapse, a traditional cookie specific to New Year festivities.

Yangchen added that the group plans to hold an annual event to celebrate Tibetan culture.

“We plan to hold some sort of annual event that will allow people to not only learn about Tibetan culture and its various aspects, but also have a good time,” Yangchen said.

On a regular basis, Dadak said the group also hopes to hold “White Wednesday”, or Lakhar – a tradition that began after the Tibetan government’s exile, meant to celebrate Tibetan culture.

Yangchen said she hopes the club’s reach will eventually expand to undergraduate students who don’t live in Tibet.

“Something we have in mind for the future is to hopefully make this a more sustainable group so that even non-Tibetans who are interested can take on leadership roles,” she said. .

Dadak noted that she hopes the group’s presence will create visibility for Tibetan students in general, beyond the Harvard campus, and ultimately inspire more high school students to apply to elite educational institutions.

“Hopefully seeing these groups and seeing Tibetans doing well even in exile would be a good motivation for them,” Tenzin said.

Another co-founder, Choetsow Tenzin ’23, editor-in-chief of Flyby, said she believed the association would be able to encourage students of Tibetan descent to aspire to attend Harvard and other top universities. and to share the unique culture of Tibet.

“My greatest hope is that the Harvard community welcomes us and tries to understand who we are, and is willing to learn what we have to offer as an organization,” she said.

—Editor Ella L. Jones can be reached at [email protected]

—Editor Monique I. Vobecky can be reached at [email protected]

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