Los Angeles Friends of Tibet / The Tibet Connection Fundraiser, 1 November 2008
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Professor Robert Thurman lent his support to the LAFOT / The Tibet Connection fundraiser, graciously hosted by actor Jane Kaczmarek in San Marino, CA.  Shown here is the Events Committee for the fundraiser, with Prof. Thurman in the blue shirt and bolo tie and Jane to his left. Interestingly, everyone appears to be leaning to their right.

We were concerned that it had been raining on and off that afternoon.  But the evening was gorgeous.  I set up a short slide show of photos I had taken of the Sherab Gatsel Lobling (Transit) School, which helps recently-escaped Tibetan refugees learn vocational trades, English, and more, offering the skills needed to help them find work.  See photos and read more about my visit to the Transit School here.

Robert Thurman gave autographed copies of his book and a ceremonial silk scarf offering, or kata, to each member of the Events Committee.

Professor Robert Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Dept. of Religion at Columbia University and President of the Tibet House U.S.  He also speaks fluent Tibetan, and translates important Tibetan and Sanskrit philosophical writings and lectures and writes on Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism and critical philosophy, with a focus on the dialogue between the material and inner sciences of the world's religious traditions. 

Robert Thurman presents LAFOT President Lisa Kelly with a kata.  This is the second time Lisa Kelly has been the President of LAFOT.  She also serves as Director of Development for The Tibet Connection, an English language radio show that presents the Tibetan people's non-violent struggle for justice and their endangered culture and philosophy in a universal context, featuring news, commentary, interviews, music, features, and documentaries. 

Part of The Tibet Connection team, Lisa, Producer Julie Adler, and Producer Pema Dhondup.

The Tibet Connection broke stories, including the story of 15 Tibetans shot by Chinese police in protests in Amdo Ngaba in Eastern Tibet.  The producers shared photos with the world by organizing a press conference in Dharamsala attended by 100 members of the world press.

Julie and Tseten Phanucharas, with Pema looking on.

The Tibet Connection has covered all of the Dalai Lama's press conferences since March 10, 2008, and offers them, in their entirety, on the TC website.

Lisa with The Tibet Connection Senior Producer Christal Smith.

At the request of Pacifica Radio, TC began producing a series of half-hour specials for Sprouts, a popular Pacifica program airing on 100 radio stations per week.  TC show segments have also been licensed by nine other US stations.  The TC producers also write articles on Tibet for a variety of print media.

Lisa addresses the audience at the fundraiser.

Robert Thurman discusses why Tibet matters, touching on a number of cultural, philosophical, and ecological reasons why saving Tibet is crucial to us, China, and the entire world.  And just days before an historic U.S. Presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain, Thurman urged us to choose sanity and stop eight years of lunacy.

Sarah Wilkinson, Contributing Producer to The Tibet Connection and one of the chief members of the Events Committee with friend and host Jane Kaczmarek and someone I don't know who has a delicious-looking plate of food in hand.


Generous host Jane with her friend at the LAFOT / TC fundraiser.

Obama and Tibet supporter with Christal.

The Tibet Connection covered various Olympics events, including torch relay events in the United States and Indida.  TC's August 2008 program, devoted to the Beijing Olympics, featured stories from China, exile communities, and Tibet.

Loudon Wainwright and Joe Henry generously donated their time, delighting the audience with their musical performance.

The audience listening to Loudon Wainwright and Joe Henry perform in the back lawn of Jane's house in San Marino, near Pasadena, during a gorgeous clear night.

The audience, some moments before, had responded favorably to our request to sponsor students at the Sherab Gatsel Lobling (Transit) School for $600 each, with hands immediately shooting into the air.  We were all deeply moved by this outpouring of caring. 

When I had visited the Transit School several months earlier, Director Bhutuk Shastri had said that they needed a water filtration system.  Indeed, a disproportionate number of people from the Transit School had been stricken with amoebic dysentery and giardia, weakening their immune systems and making them far more susceptible to tuberculosis.  A water filtration system would probably cost approximately $10,000. 

Julie, Yangki Gray, Sarah, Robert Thurman, Tseten, Ken Lee (me), Christal, and Lisa.

Sarah and Robert Thurman.

Sarah, Robert Thurman, and Tseten.

Ken (me), Robert Thurman, and Christal.

The host, Jane, was extremely generous and welcoming, and Sarah and Lisa and the rest of the Events Committee came together in a beautiful evening of unity and support. 


The Crown of the World: 
NASA satellite imaging
of the Tibetan plateau

Los Angeles Friends of Tibet / The Tibet Connection Fundraiser

Miscellaneous Photos
Eleven Shadows Travel Page
Contact photographer/musician Ken Lee

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