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13 september 2012 003Dharamshala: Celebrating the exchange of ideals and commonalities, a conference discussing ‘Tibet and Taiwan: Prospects and Challenges' was held on September 12th at the Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies.

Bridging the gap between the two cultures, and drawing carefully upon academic knowledge and first hand research, the Taiwanese visiting delegation discussed a wide range of topics; from political sovereignty, to European-Chinese economic relations. Additionally, the Tibetan delegation highlighted key topics, such as the threat to environmental damage on the Tibetan plateau, and the risk of global warming to the planet's ‘the third pole', Tibet.

Organised by the Tibet Policy Institute, the audience, which consisted of students training at Sarah College for the CTA, were addressed by Kalon DickiChoeyang;Kalon for the department of information and international relations. Visiting professor; Tseng Chien Yuan, of Chung Hua Universitybegan by discussingthe topic: ‘Referendum in Taiwan: System and Vision'.

Following this speech, Mr Tenzin Norbu gave an engaging talk on the environmental importance of Tibet as the ‘third pole'. Drawing upon new research, Mr Norbu discussed vividly the manner in which Tibet, which acts as the ‘water tower of Asia', recharges the rivers of central Asia, and is facing imminent threat. A mixture of mining, Chinese damming projects and global warming threaten the unique ecosystem on the roof of the world.

The Taiwanese delegation then led a speech by Chu Cheng Chi, on‘The transformation of the Democratic Progressive Party, China's Policy and Tibet' from the esteemed Phd student, of the department of sociology, National Taiwan University.

French PhD student, Julie Couderc, from the National Taiwan University, then spoke on ‘The Tibet Issue and Contemporary Perspective: Construction of Political Relations and Scales of Connections'. Highlighting the similarities between France and Tibet, she stated: "for both the French and Tibetans, language very important".

Drawing upon His Holiness the Dalai Lamas emphasis on the need for education, she called for dialogue and a strong relationship between the Central Tibetan Administration and French education systems, which, she added, are far cheaper than other countries in Europe and America.

When questioned about the similarities and differences between Taiwan and Tibet, she added:

"I think when looking at independent nations, we have to look at identity. Do the Tibetans identify with the Chinese government? Is it the same with Taiwan? I don't care about the history, people look at history how they want to. Look at what the people want".

"The main difference for Tibet and Taiwan is that Tibet is fully controlled by china, Taiwan is not".

Wang Qin concluded the series of speeches, drawing upon political issues for cross-strait relations in the region.

The inspiring words of the visiting Taiwanese academics certainly seemed to make an impression on the audience of students and members of the CTA, as the conference drew to a close. After a question and answer session, which finalised some of the finer points of the conference, the delegation concluded. Inspiring debate and new thought into the minds of future leaders and researches, the conference was deemed a success by students.

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