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Welcome to Tali


The Tibetan Arts and Literature Initiative (TALI) supports projects that promote Tibetan culture and language in Tibetan areas within the People’s Republic of China. TALI is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with no political or religious affiliations. Project partners include artists, writers and educators, officials, and local community members, as well as Tibetan cultural associations and other non-governmental organizations. TALI is committed to supporting or implementing projects in the following categories:

  • Tibetan-language children’s books;
  • Tibetan-language children’s audiovisual materials of educational or entertaining nature;
  • Enrichment programming aimed at promoting the early appreciation of Tibetan language, literature and the arts among Tibetan children;
  • Short-term training for Tibetan artists, writers and educators; and
  • Exchanges and collaboration between Tibetan artists, writers and educators and their counterparts in and outside the People’s Republic of China.

About Us

Patricia Schiaffini 

Ph.D., Chinese Literature, University of Pennsylvania, 2002

President and Founder of TALI. She has taught Chinese language at the University of Pennsylvania and Pomona College, where she also directed the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations. Her articles on different aspects of sinophone modern Tibetan literature and modern Chinese literature, as well as some interviews with prominent Tibetan writers, have been published in the Journal of International Affairs, World Literature Today, Latse Library Newsletter, Quimera, Estudios de Asia y África, Revista Española del Pacífico, Contemporary Tibetan Literary Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2006), Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (forthcoming, Columbia University Press). Her volume Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change, co-edited with fellow TALI board member Lauran Hartley, was published by Duke University Press in 2008. She currently teaches Chinese language and Tibet-related courses at Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX). She currently teaches Chinese language and Tibet-related courses at Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas) and Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas). 

Tenzin Norbu Nangsal 

Tibetan Language Researcher

Born in Lhasa. He graduated from Tibet University in 1990 with a B.A. in Biology. From 1990 to 1993 he taught Tibetan language and biology in middle schools in Lhasa. From 1993 to 1996 he worked as environmental researcher in India. He has published a general introduction to Tibet's environment and two volumes on endangered species of Tibet, all written in the Tibetan language. He has taught Tibetan language and culture at Virginia University, Indiana University and Columbia. He has translated several books into Tibetan, among them eight volumes of the Open Eye Children's Series into Tibetan. He has written several children literature books in Tibetan, some coauthored with his wife Tsering Choedron. The most acclaimed of these are the Tibetan-language children's story A Little Frog and a Crow, and Little Shepherd, Little Shepherd, What Are You Doing? both published by TALI. He has also compiled several Tibetan dictionaries, among them a children dictionary called Concise Tibetan-English Visual Dictionary. Most recently, he has written a Tibetan-language textbook to teach Tibetan to young children, a series of ten Tibetan-language early readers and a couple of stories about the black-neck crane. 

Lauran Hartley 

Ph.D., Tibetan Studies, Indiana University

Lauran Hartley has taught courses on Tibetan literature at Columbia University and Indiana University, and courses on Tibetan religion at Rutgers University. Her publications include several literary translations, as well as articles in the Journal of Asian Studies, Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie, History of Religions, Amdo Tibetans in Transition: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2002), and Contemporary Tibetan Literary Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2006). Her recent book project Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change, co-edited with Patricia Schiaffini, was published by Duke University Press in 2008. Lauran also serves as consultant and editor for the Latse Contemporary Tibetan Cultural Library in New York City. She now serves as Tibetan Studies Librarian for the Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University.

Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang 

Writer, Editor, Filmmaker

Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang (A.K.A. lJangbu) is considered by many Tibet's greatest living poet. Born in Qinghai province (People's Republic of China), he worked for many years as editor of the Tibetan-language literary journal Bod kyi rtsom rig sgyu rtsal [Tibetan art and literature] in Lhasa.  In recent years he has been a Visiting Professor of Tibetan Language at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris. He has directed several documentaries about Tibet, among them "Tantric Yogui", "Ani Lacham: A Tibetan Nun", "Kokonor" and "Yartsa Rinpoche". He co-wrote the script of Sherwood Hu's acclaimed movie "Prince of the Himalayas (2006)". The first English translation of his poems and short stories, an anthology of his works titled The Nine-Eyed Agathe, was published by Lexington Books in 2010. 

Françoise Robin

Ph.D., Tibetan Studies

Françoise Robin (Ph.D., Tibetan Studies, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales INALCO, Paris, 2003)  is Assistant Professor of Tibetan language and literature at INALCO. Her research deals with contemporary Tibetan literature, film, and traditional printing techniques. She has published articles in prestigious journals such as China Perspectives and Esprit, as well as book chapters inContemporary Tibetan Literary Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2006), Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change (Durham: Duke UP, 2008), and Tibetan Arts in Transition (Rome: ASIA, 2009). Françoise has translated several texts of contemporary and traditional Tibetan literature, among them La Controverse dans le jardin aux fleurs by Langdün Päljor (Paris: Bleu de Chinese, 2006), L´Artiste tibétain (Paris: Bleu de Chine, 2007), and La Fleur vaincue par le gel (Paris: Bleu de Chinese, 2006) by Thöndrupgyäl.

Lan Wu

 Chinese Literature 

Lan  Wu is a historian of early modern China with a focus on borderlands. She received her PhD in the History-East Asia Program from Columbia University in February 2016. Lan’s research focuses on the role of religion in imperial formation in China. Her current book project examines how marginal communities in inner Asia grew stronger, as China expanded its territory in the eighteenth century. Lan Wu has taught at Columbia University, the University of New Mexico, and Pomona College, among other institutions.