Main content
Celebrate Tibet Week at Emory with events across campus
tibet week

Emory’s Tibet Week begins Monday, Nov. 6, with a partnership renewal between the university and the Drepung Loseling Monastery followed by an opening ceremony in the Carlos Museum’s Ackerman Hall.

— Photo by Emory Photo/Video

Tibet Week has been an enduring tradition at Emory University since its inception in 2001, with the campus celebrating the longstanding collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and affiliation with the Drepung Loseling Monastery in South India.

The 2023 celebration, with a theme of “Compassion in Action,” is set for Nov. 6-13 and features plenty of programs that are open to the public.

Stemming from what began as the Emory-Tibet partnership in 1998, Tibet Week focuses on celebrating the partnership of Western and Tibetan Buddhist traditions for education and discovery. This year, Tibet Week will coincide with the 25th anniversary celebration, or Silver Jubilee, of the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, also referred to as the Emory Compassion Center

“From its inception, this unique partnership has epitomized the kind of transformative, cross-cultural discovery that we aspire to in all our international collaborations,” says Philip Wainwright, Emory’s vice provost for global strategy and initiatives. “Over the years, programs like the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, the CBCT [Cognitively-Based Compassion Training] program, SEE [Social, Emotional and Ethical] Learning and study abroad have brought together countless students, faculty and staff, at Emory and around the world, enriching their lives and fostering lasting friendships.”

Lobsang Tenzin Negi, executive director of the Emory Compassion Center, echoed this sentiment, noting that the center’s original vision for bridging two worlds in service of one common humanity continues to drive their work.

“Central to this effort has been the belief, shared by both Emory and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, that life is made happier and more meaningful through the education of both heart and mind. So many of our colleagues at the university — and countless people around the world — have been inspired to join our effort to launch the compassion revolution called for by His Holiness,” says Negi. “This year marks a major milestone in this journey and as we look at the troubling events in the world, it’s clear that our work remains both urgent and necessary. It is only by creating a global culture of compassion that humanity will survive and thrive.”

Tibet Week 2023 activities

There are many opportunities during Tibet Week 2023 to celebrate the decades-long partnership. Between the opening and closing ceremonies, the community can take part in discussions and meditations, observe the construction of the intricate sand mandala and more.

All events are held in Ackerman Hall, located on the third floor of the Michael C. Carlos Museum, unless otherwise noted.

Monday, Nov. 6

Partnership Renewal Ceremony
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Tibet Week will begin with a renewal of the partnership between Emory University and the Drepung Loseling Monastery. Senior leadership from the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Institute of Buddhist Dialects and Emory University leaders President Gregory L. Fenves, Provost Ravi V. Bellamkonda and Emory College Dean Barbara Krauthamer will review the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in 1998 in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with the current abbot of Drepung Luseling.

This event is available to watch via livestream, but attendees must register online

Tibet Week Opening Ceremony
1-2 p.m.
Following the Partnership Renewal Ceremony, the Drepung Loseling Monks of the Mystical Arts of Tibet will kick off Tibet Week in Ackerman Hall, located on the third floor of the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Complete with traditional Tibetan musical instruments, the monks will demonstrate their incredible vocal abilities through chants. When the ceremony concludes, monks will begin laying the blueprint for the sand mandala they will complete over the weeklong celebration. 
Mandala Sand Painting
2-5 p.m.
Throughout the week, the Drepung Loseling monks of the Mystical Arts of Tibet will create a mandala sand painting of Green Tara, a fully enlightened female Buddha associated with wisdom and active compassion. The mandala will feature millions of colored sand grains, meticulously applied through metal funnels called chak-purs. There are daily opportunities for the public to watch the monks work on the mandala in Ackerman Hall.

Compassion Meditation
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Join this meditation led by Timothy Harrison, Emory-certified CBCT teacher and associate director for the CBCT program. This meditation has a theme of “Nurturance,” encouraging participants to connect to nurturing moments to feel safe, deepen the individual appreciation for compassion and strengthen the motivation to expand it within us.

Discussion: “Bridging Two Worlds: Why the Emory Compassion Center Matters”
7:30-9 p.m.
This seminar explores the impact of the ground-breaking Emory-Tibet Partnership over the past 25 years and why it matters to the global society, featuring the co-founders of the organization and two leaders from important Tibetan cultural institutions.

Space is limited and registration is required. There are in-person and livestream registration options. 

Tuesday, Nov. 7

Mandala Sand Painting
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Return for the second round of mandala sand painting as the Drepung Loseling monks of the Mystical Arts of Tibet continue creating their work of Green Tara. 
4-5 p.m.
Join master Tibetan artist Buchang Nugbya and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Conservation Ella Andrews as they discuss their collaborative efforts to repair two thangka paintings from the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, India. Afternoon tea and pastries will be provided as the duo discuss the process of repairing damages incurred when the paintings were shipped from India to Atlanta.

Registration is required. There are in-person and livestream registration options.  
Compassion Meditation
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Join Penny Clements, Emory-certified CBCT teacher, as she leads an awareness-themed meditation. This meditation seeks to create greater space for self-awareness and choice for participants. Once a place of stability and clarity is reached, attention can be turned inward, getting closer to non-judgmental awareness.  
Panel: “Bridging Science and Spirituality: ETSI’s 18-Year Journey”
7:30-9 p.m.
The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI) has an 18-year history of bridging science and spirituality to create a greater understanding of the world around us. During this program, panelists will explore exciting issues through the eyes of monastics participating in the program and the scientists and educators involved in supporting them.

Advance registration is required. There are in-person and livestream registration options.   

Wednesday, Nov. 8

Mandala Sand Painting
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday provides another opportunity for the Emory community to observe the progress of the mandala sand painting of Green Tara by the Drepung Loseling monks of the Mystical Arts of Tibet. 

Webinar: “Compassion Revolution: Understanding and Responding to the Dalai Lama’s Vision for the Future”
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Join this online-only panel to explore the Dalai Lama’s call for a “compassion revolution” based on the basic human value shared by all. Panelists combines their expertise from scholarly, leadership and author-based perspectives to address how a “compassion revolution” can be realized and how the Emory Compassion Center has responded to the Dalai Lama’s call.

Register online to attend this webinar

Compassion Meditation
5:30-6:30 p.m.
The third compassion meditation of the week will be led by Kimble Sorrells, Emory-certified CBCT teacher, and hold the theme of “agency.” It is important to see the ups and downs of life from a broader perspective and develop the ability to give ourselves grace when we face difficulties. By understanding that everyone will face challenges in life, we can explore the potential to transform those challenges into growth, meaning and purpose. 

Panel: “Cultivating Compassion in Education Systems: SEE Learning implementation at the national, district and school level”
7:30-9 p.m.
Join this panel to learn more about the adaptation of SEE Learning, a global program aimed at cultivating students’ social, emotional and ethical skills, to various educational programs in India, Brazil and the United States.

Registration is required for either in-person or livestream participation. 

Thursday, Nov. 9

Mandala Sand Painting
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Check back in at Ackerman Hall to see the progress of the mandala sand painting of Green Tara by the Drepung Loseling monks of the Mystical Arts of Tibet. 

Compassion Meditation
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Join an Emory-certified CBCT teacher for a meditation themed around inclusivity. This medication explores bringing attention to others by connecting through common humanity and taking steps to explore our circle of concern. Unleashing warm-heartedness for others allows us to attune to what others are up against and allow our compassion to grow.

Panel: “Cross-Cultural Manifestations of Compassion Training”
7:30-9 p.m.
Join this panel discussion featuring certified compassion trainers from Africa, Europe and Asia who explore opportunities and challenges for implementing compassion training across cultures, backgrounds and contexts.

Registration is required. There are in-person and livestream registration options.  

Friday, Nov. 10

Mandala Sand Painting
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
This is one of the last chances to observe the progress being made on the mandala sand painting of Green Tara by the Drepung Loseling monks of the Mystical Arts of Tibet. 

Saturday, Nov. 11

Mandala Sand Painting
10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Join the last full day of mandala sand painting before the Tibet Week closing ceremony. 

Tibet Week Closing Ceremony
3:30-4:30 p.m.
To signify the end of Tibet Week, the mandala sand painting will be deconstructed shortly after completion in the Closing Ceremony, where the sand will be taken to a nearby body of water and released. The quick deconstruction of the mandala serves as a metaphor for impermanence, a central concept in Buddhist philosophy acknowledging that we live in an ever-changing world.

Registration is required for this in-person event.

Each day of Tibet Week

Tibet Museum Exhibition
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
During Tibet Week, the Michael C. Carlos Museum will feature the Tibet Museum’s traveling exhibit “A Long Look Homeward,” based on the memories of 11 representatives of the Tibetan community in exile. Featuring a fabric of symbols, the exhibition takes viewers on a journey through Tibet’s past and expresses hope for the future.

A “Wall of Wisdom” will also be featured with more than 100 responses to questions posed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Recent News