The 34th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College will take place Wednesday, April 30 and is titled Tibet: Finding Hope in Exile. This year’s conference will present the story of the Tibetan people—their exile experience and their efforts to maintain their identity and build a global democratic culture under difficult circumstances.
The Conference will feature a morning keynote address by Dr. B. Tsering, principal of the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in Bangalore, India, as well as an afternoon panel discussion featuring Tsering, Tenzin Sonam, Midwest regional coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet, Norzin Wangpo, president of the Tibet American Student Association at the University of Minnesota, and Ngawang Gonsar, a visiting instructor in biology at Gustavus who was born to parents who served the Tibetan community in exile and grew up splitting time between boarding school in northern India and her home in Kathmandu, Nepal. All events are free and open to the public.
Dr. Tsering’s family was among the first to escape into India from Chinese-occupied Tibet following the Dalai Lama’s escape in 1959. She grew up under the most challenging conditions and has witnessed the survival and growth of Tibetan culture in exile first-hand. She has contributed to it immeasurably as a groundbreaking leader in education and government. Dr. Tsering became the first Tibetan woman to earn a Ph.D. degree when she completed hers in science education from the University of Virginia.
The full schedule of events for the day is as follows:
- 9 a.m. / Registration / Heritage Banquet Room
- 10 a.m. / Welcoming Ceremony / Christ Chapel
- 10:20 a.m. / Morning Keynote Address, “Finding Hope in Exile: Tibet’s Global Democratic Future” with Dr. B. Tsering / Christ Chapel
- 11:30 a.m. / Lunch Break
- 1 p.m. / Afternoon Panel Discussion, “Tibet’s Democratic Future: Perspectives from India and Minnesota” / Alumni Hall, O.J. Johnson Student Union
- 3 p.m. / Deconstruction of the Mandala / A public ceremonial procession from Christ Chapel to Linnaeus Arboretum
- 4 p.m. / Closing Ceremony and Reception / Melva Lind Interpretive Center, Linnaeus Arboretum
A traditional sand mandala will be created by Tibetan monks from the Gyuto Wheel of Dharma (Life) Monastery in Minneapolis and it will be on display in Christ Chapel.
Conference attendees will also be able to view a display wall on the upper level of the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center that will tell the story of the 50-plus year Tibetan exile experience and their efforts to maintain their identity and build a global democratic culture.
Freewill donations will be accepted during the Conference to support the operations of the recently established Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in Bangalore, India.
The annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was founded at Gustavus 1981 by Florence and the late Raymond Sponberg of North Mankato, Minn., and is designed to educate the campus community about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice. The conference occurs every year on the last Wednesday in April or the first Wednesday in May. Previous conference themes have focused on land rights, violence in community, hunger, the banning of landmines, food security, global water issues, and political policies relating to peace issues.
For questions or more information about this year’s conference, contact the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas