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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibet Festival showcases culture for UW-Madison community

September 15, 2010

Daily Cardinal
September 14, 2010 11:13]
The second annual Tibet Festival took place this
past weekend on the UW-Madison campus to
celebrate and share Tibetan culture with the Madison community.

The celebration began Friday with a grand opening
ribbon cutting ceremony with Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and ended Sunday.

Events took place at the Memorial Union, Library
Mall and the Pyle Center, and included dances, lectures and documentaries.

A display of traditional dressings, exhibition of
cultural artifacts and the creation of a sand
mandala, a ritualistic art piece that symbolizes
the Buddhist belief in the transitory state of
material culture and made by a Tibetan monk, were also on display.

Tsering Kharitsang, Vice President of the
Wisconsin Tibetan Association, encouraged people
to explore Tibetan culture and said the goal of
the festival is to share it with the Madison community.

"The festival shows we are different from China,"
she said. "We have a traditional language, our own flag and our own culture."

China has occupied Tibet since 1949, forcing the
country’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, into
exile and threatening Tibetan culture.

The Dalai Lama recently donated a $50,000
research grant to UW’s Center for Investigating
Healthy Minds. The CIHM studies development of
positively-associated emotions, like happiness or
compassion, and how to cultivate these emotions.

Dechen Wangmo, a Wisconsin Tibetan Association
volunteer who grew up as a Tibetan displaced in
India, said her experience empowered her to be
vocal about the situation in Tibet.

"We are letting the world know about us through
protest and events throughout the world," she
said, "but the Chinese have taken this as a way
to punish the Tibetans that remain in Tibet."

Much of Madison’s Tibetan community participated
in the festival, however, the turnout of other
Madison citizens was not as large as hoped.

"I think we could do way better if the UW
students and the Madison community knew more about the festival," Wangmo said.

The festival was made possible through the
collaboration of the Wisconsin Tibet Association
and UW-Madison’s East Asian Studies Program.
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