By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, March 21: Jamyang Norbu, a well-known Tibetan writer and Rangzen vocal activist, launched the highly anticipated “High Asia Research Center” in Jackson Heights, New York on Saturday. The library-research center is an attempt by the writer to create a space of academic rigor for all generations of Tibetan and Upper Asian communities.
The Crossword Book Award recipient told the audience at the launch, “The concept of Upper Asia began as a new reference library here and a meeting point to develop news and other interested people to have a civilized debate. and informed on issues relating to Tibet, but also issues related to other inhabitants of Upper Asia, including Mustang, Sikkim, Bhutan, Xinjiang and also Kazakhstan.
The author of ‘The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes‘ said the idea for a research center was first formed eight or nine years ago, with renowned peers including the late Professor Eliot Sperling and longtime Tibet supporter and Peter Brown, among others. “We are not just living in some sort of academic daydream, we are thinking in terms of what we could do to promote the Tibetan struggle and the Tibetan cause, and to provide information to the world,” the activist further remarked. Norbu. The influx of increasing numbers of Tibetans to the United States also forced the scholar to revisit his long-standing goal of an academic space where young Tibetans, students or not, could join in contemporary discussions about Tibet.
“We have the Tibetan Youth Congress, the Students for a Free Tibet, the Tibetan Women’s Association, the Tibetan National Congress, and Chushi Gangdruk and a number of other organizations that are aggressive in their advocacy for Tibet. But one of the things that I think they’re all lacking in some way is accurate information about what we’re fighting for, who we’re talking about, and that’s extremely important if you want to get something done. ‘effective’, explained Jamyang Norbu while emphasizing the need to adapt knowledge to action, as he cited the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions as examples of what ordinary people can do with the sea of information accessible to all.
Jamyang Norbu has been called a ‘radical Tibetan separatist’ by the Chinese government’s media spokesman People’s Daily. The activist has been a vocal critic of the Middle Way (Umaylam) approach which is the official policy of the Tibetan government in exile, officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). He also co-founded the renowned Amnye Machen Institute in Dharamshala with renowned scholars Tashi Tsering, Pema Bhum and Lhasang Tsering in 1992. Norbu’s writings, including essays available on his blog Shadow Tibet, are widely read both inside Tibet and in exile.