The Conservancy for Tibetan Art & Culture (CTAC) announced on June 26 that it has finalized its North American Tibetan Community Cultural Needs Assessment project and plans to release an in-depth report of its findings and recommendations this summer.

The project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, is the most detailed examination ever undertaken of the state of Tibetan culture in North America. The project was inspired by the Year 2000 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program, Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows, organized jointly by CTAC and the Smithsonian. The project was undertaken with invaluable assistance from the Tibetan communities in North America, Office of Tibet, New York and Tibet Education Network at Global Source.

The Survey’s recommendations were generated through multi-level contacts with the North American Tibetan communities that included extensive surveys and interviews. The recommendations are based on a broad range of community priorities, as reflected by community members and augmented by CTAC analysis.

The recommendations fall under four broad headings:

Cultural Preservation: Highlighting ways that cultural traditions can be preserved with emphasis on local, community-based strategies and extending to regional and national initiatives.

Community Building: Developing strategies to enhance cooperation and participation within individual communities and also to foster relations among Tibetan organizations overall.

Cultural Innovation: Expanding the scope for preservation and continuity of Tibetan traditions through the application of new modes of media and cultural expression in contemporary forms.

Adaptation: Navigating the complex network of programs and services in the American and Canadian systems that can strengthen each community and help individual community members meet myriad needs.

CTAC currently is exploring means to help the Tibetan communities implement the report’s findings and recommendations. CTAC is seeking to present a summary to the report’s recommendations to the Annual Meeting of North American Tibetan Communities, to be held in Minneapolis in July. In addition, CTAC is working with foundations to organize a symposium to be held late this year.

The symposium will provide a forum to bring Tibetan community leaders together with experts in community development, immigration, social services and education in order to help the Tibetan communities learn how to fund and implement many of the community-based initiatives contained in the report’s findings and recommendations.