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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?"

Our Opinion: A Beneficial Relationship

March 25, 2010

By The Editorial Board  03/22/2010

Yesterday, the Emory community began celebrating its 10th annual Tibet Week,
an event filled with culturally enriching films, talks and meditation
sessions. And while these events are often interesting and inspirational,
they also present the community with an opportunity to reflect upon what the
University's partnership with Tibet really means.

When Emory partnered with Tibet in 1998 to foster mutual enrichment and
cross-education, the University undoubtedly realized it was taking certain
risks. Creating a partnership with a country that has long since been the
subject of many political and humanitarian debates is not as universally
lauded a goal as other University initiatives aimed at fostering an
ethically-engaged environment, such as promoting sustainability.

The contentiousness of the Tibet issue is not to be minimized; a flash point
on college campuses came two years ago, when up-swellings of emotion and
activism on the issue garnered national media attention. (The New York Times
profiled the story of a Chinese-born Duke University student whose Chinese
name, identification number and contact information - along with directions
to her parents' Qingdao, China, apartment - were posted on pro-Chinese
websites after she publicly sought to promote a middle ground with regard to
her University's campus discourse on the matter.) Today, these risks have
manifested themselves in the blocking of certain Emory webpages in China.
However, we are proud of the fact that Emory's public discourses concerning
Tibet have not only been civil, but also admirably inclusive of pro-China
voice - an all the more impressive scenario considering Emory's close
association with Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

Furthermore, the fact that the University continues to stand behind this
relationship with Tibet even in the face of real, significant controversy
and opposition reaffirms Emory's desire to be a local, national and
international difference-maker. Additionally, these actions have brought
Emory much national and international attention, helping the University
achieve steps toward becoming a household name and the sort of "destination
university" President James W. Wagner always alludes to as his ambition for

The Dalai Lama's anticipated return to campus next fall for the first time
since 2007 reinforces Emory's commitment to making its partnership with
Tibet a real factor in students' lives at Emory. The Dalai Lama's status as
a Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory should be a continued source
of pride for all members of the community, and does, in this instance, set
Emory above its peer institutions. Right now, however, members of the Emory
community should take advantage of the opportunity to celebrate this year's
Tibet Week, an event that has been responsible for catapulting Emory into
the news and on the map for a reason it can be proud of.

Despite the controversy, Emory has added significantly to its prestige and
ethical bona fides through its collaboration with Tibet, and it is our hope
that similar encomiums can be spoken about this relationship another 10
years from now.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel's
editorial board.
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