TibetXChange provides a unique opportunity for young Tibetans living in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim in the Indian Himalayas and Ravangla, a Tibetan refugee settlement in South Sikkim, to spend time at Swansea University leading lectures and discussions on the cultural, political and economic marginalisation of Tibet, the growing trend of self-immolation among Tibetans desperate to draw attention to their situation and the importance of continuing peaceful dialogue with the Chinese authorities regarding the future of Tibet. The exchange will give young Tibetans an opportunity to develop their confidence, skills and capacity to become community leaders.
What is TibetXChange?
TibetXChange is an international youth exchange programme between students from Swansea University and young Tibetans living in the Indian state of Sikkim which is located in the Himalayan foothills on the border with Tibet.
The idea for TibetXChange came about when students from Swansea University travelled to Sikkim in October 2013 for an interdisciplinary fieldcourse and met with young Tibetans living in the capital Gangtok. Many were shocked to learn about the situation facing the people of Tibet and the threat to Tibetan culture, religion and identity and returned to Swansea determined to do something to create an opportunity for young Tibetans to talk about their country and its future. Swansea University students have set up a Tibetan Society and young Tibetans in Gangtok have established an organisation called Wings of Tibet to take forward their work together.
How will TibetXChange work?
TibetXChange is run by the young people involved in the project with the support of Swansea University and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based in Dharamsala. Young Tibetans living in Gangtok and Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement in South Sikkim will undertake an intensive leadership ttraining course provided by the CTA. Five young people will then be selected to travel to the UK and spend two weeks discussing Tibetan culture, identity and politics with a wide range of different audiences in an international context. The young people will live with the students they met in Sikkim to reduce costs and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas.
Why is TibetXChange worth supporting?
The future of Tibet, as well as Tibetan language, culture and identity, depends on the next generation of Tibetans, most of whom were born in India and have had no opportunity to visit their homeland. TibetXChange provides a unique opportunity for young Tibetans to develop their skills and capacity as community leaders and to engage in international dialogue about the future of Tibet. TibetXChange also provides a unique opportunity for students at Swansea University to learn more about important international issues, hear about the experience of young people growing up in very different social, cultural and political environments and develop their own leadership and communication skills.