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.
Patricia Schiaffini-Vedani is the President and Founder of TALI. Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught Chinese language, as well as Tibet and China-related courses, at the University of Pennsylvania, Pomona College, Southwestern University, and Texas State University. 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 (Columbia University Press, 2013). 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 has recently published Enticement: Stories of Tibet, a translation of short stories by Tibetan writer Pema Tseden (SUNY Press, 2018).
Tenzin Norbu Nangsal
Tibetan Language Researcher
Tenzin Norbu Nangsal is Vice-President of TALI. 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 courses on Tibetan language and culture at Virginia University, Indiana University and Columbia University. He has translated eight volumes of the Open Eye Children's Series into Tibetan. He has written several Tibetan-language children's stories: A Little Frog and a Crow, Little Shepperd, Little Shepperd, What Are You Doing?, Lhamo Trung Trung, Ten Early Readers, Concise Tibetan-English Visual Dictionary of Plants and Animals etc. He is one of the main contributors to a series of textbooks to teach Tibetan language to children. Tenzin Norbu Nangsal lectures widely around the world on techniques to teach Tibetan language to children.
Ph.D., Tibetan Studies, Indiana University
Lauran Hartley is Tibetan Studies Librarian for the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University and Adjunct Lecturer in Tibetan Literature for the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. She has also taught courses on Tibetan literature and religion at Indiana and Rutgers universities. In addition to co-editing the book Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change (Duke University Press, 2008) and serving as Inner Asian Book Review Editor for the Journal of Asian Studies, she has also published many literary translations, book chapters and articles on Tibetan intellectual history. Her current research focuses on literary production and discourse from the eighteenth century to present.
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 documentaries about Tibet dealing with a variety of cultural and social issues: tantric yoguis, Tibetan Buddhist nuns, social, economic and environmental changes caused by Tourism around lake Kokonor, the economic and social impact of the harvesting of the carerpillar fungus etc. 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.
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 in Contemporary Tibetan Literary Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2006), Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change (Durham: Duke UP, 2008), Tibetan Arts in Transition (Rome: ASIA, 2009), etc. 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 Thöndrup Gyäl. She has recently published the first French-language anthology of short stories by Tibetan writer Pema Tseden, titled Neige: nouvelles du Tibet (Ales: Philippe Picquer, 2012).
Ph.D. in History, Columbia University
Lan Wu, holds an M.A. (Chinese Literature) and a Ph.D. (Chinese and Tibetan History) from Columbia University. She is an Assistant Professor of History at Mt. Holyoke College. She has volunteered with non-profit organizations in the field of youth development, and has worked as an inter-cultural facilitator at college level in the US. Ulan has taught Chinese Language at ACC Beijing-Hamilton Overseas Program, the former IUP Beijing-U.C. Berkeley Overseas Program, Pomona College, Beloit College, and Middlebury College. She has published scholarly articles about the intersection of religion and state formation in early modern China. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Refuge from Empire: Religion and Qing China’s Imperial Formation in the Eighteenth Century, which focuses on the role of religion in imperial formation in Qing China (1644-1911).