The Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS) is being held at the University of Oxford, England, from September 6 to 12, 2003. Over 250 participants and 50 observers from 25 countries are expected to attend.
The IATS was formally created in Oxford in 1979 as a forum for Tibetologists. It is only in recent years that the Chinese Government has altered its position of ignoring the IATS and has started permitting Tibetan and Chinese scholars (as well as Chinese government officials) to attend its regular meetings. Forty delegates from Tibet and China are attending the Oxford meet while from the Tibetan exile community, scholars from the United States, Europe as well as from India will be attending.
Among topics for discussion at the meeting are “Tibet and Modernity”, “Tibetan-Mongolian Interface”, “Heroes and Heroines: History, Morality and Nationality”, “Tibet and its Neighbours”, “Future Directions in Tibetan IT Research”, “Tibetan Information Technology”, “Modern Tibetan History”, “Development in Tibet” and “Bhutan Studies.”
The delegates will also be electing a new Board of Advisors of IATS. According to the IATS statute, “The Board of Advisors shall assist the President and the Chairperson in all matters concerning the activities of the IATS. The Board of Advisors shall elect the Secretary General and make recommendations to the President for a Chairperson of the next conference.”
The statute further says, “The Board of Advisors shall consist of not more than thirteen and not less than seven Members. No more than two persons from the same country may be on the Board at the same time. What country a Board member would represent will be determined by that person himself or herself, declared and conveyed to the President or member of the election committee before the election is held.”
Among side programs during the meeting are a unique collaborative performance of songs and dances by Tibetan artists from India, Nepal and Tibet (organized by the Tibet Foundation) and an art and photo exhibition on Tibet organized by the Tibet House Trust.