August 4, 2006
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi

North American Cultural Camp Concludes Successfully

Friday, 4 August 2006, 12:30 p.m.

A group photo of the participants.

New York: The Cultural Orientation Camp for Tibetan high school students of North America concluded successfully on 30 July 2006 with group presentations on what they had learned over the past ten days.

The presentation was made to an audience, consisting of the executive members of the Tibetan Culture Center of Bloomington (Indiana) and members of the local Tibetan community.

Topics ranging from the Buddhist altar to the essence of Buddhism, traditional Tibetan clothes in different parts of Tibet, evolution and structure of the Tibetan language, and traditional Tibetan festivals were covered in the presentation. The participants also presented group songs and dances, which they had learned during the camp. Some children gave dra-nyen (Tibetan lute) presentation, also learned at the camp.

The North American Tibetan cultural Orientation camp was held for ten days on the 108-acre-premises of the Tibetan Culture Center in Bloomington, Indiana. It was organized by Office of Tibet in New York and the Tibetan Culture Center of Bloomington.

Twenty three Tibetan high school students from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. States participated in the camp.

Learning Buddhism.

In the post camp evaluation, almost all the participants spoke ecstatically of the learning experience and fun they had had at the camp. Many said they wanted to come back.

Asked for suggestions for future camps, most of them asked for an increase in the duration of the camp to two to three weeks so that they could have more indepth knowledge of Tibetan history, religion, culture, food, language, political issues and activism.

An email from one participant reads, “I thank you and everyone who put the effort on setting this camp and for the opportunity that I had. I hope to come next year and receive further information on our culture and Tibet”.

The curriculum of the camp began with a three-hour morning session to explore the parents’ birthplace, family altar, essence of Buddhism and Tibetan culture, meaning and significance of Sangsol and prayer flags, traditional Tibetan clothes, cuisine, arts and crafts, language and festivals.

In the afternoon, there was a session on Tibetan songs, dance and dra-nyen. In the evening, they watched a series of documentary films on Tibet, which included Wind Horse, Compassion-In-Exile, PBS’ Red Star Over Tibet, BBC’s documentary on the History of Tibet, the Cry of Snow Lion, the Smithsonian’s documentary on the 2000 Tibetan Folklore Festivals, and the Forbidden Team. They also had three guest lectures on Inside Tibet, Tibetan Community in Exile, and Students’ Activism.

Learning dra-nyen.

The resource persons at the camp included Kasur Tashi Wangdi, Ajia Rinpoche, Geshe Loten, Geshe Jinpa Sonam, Gedun Rabsal, Dr. Yangbum Gyal, Lobsang Shastri, Tenzin Namgyal, Ven. Gyaltsen Chopel, Larry Gerstein, Lhadon Tethong, Tsewang Phuntso, Nawang Choedhen, Namgyal Dolma (Song and Dance) and Tsering Phuntsok (Music).

The campers were taken one morning on campus tour of the Indiana University and introduced to the Tibetan Studies program at the university. They also appeared in the Bloomington local television news and participated in the table talk of the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

Before they left from Bloomington, they had a meeting with Taktse Rinpoche Thupten Jigme Norbu, eldest brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The recreation during the camp included swimming, table tennis, badmintons, soccer, basketball, carom board, chess board, evening camp-fires, and picnic at the lake side.

Report filed by Tsewang Phuntso, Office of Tibet, New York

( is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.)

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