Education in Exile: Cultural Preservation and Promotion Among Tibetan Refugees in India



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Education is a key part of forming a national identity, particularly for diasporic communities. Through ethnographic research at the Central of Tibetan Studies (CUTS) in Sarnath, India, I examine how CUTS preserves and promotes Tibetan culture and religion. CUTS is the only accredited Buddhist philosophy school in India, and the only school to teach all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism together with Bon, the indigenous religion of Tibet. I argue that CUTS is able to simultaneously preserve and promote Tibetan culture and religion. The first section, “Preservation,” focuses on the history of Indian support for Tibetans, the idea of Tibetans returning Buddhism to India, and the way that CUTS cultivates a unified, nonsectarian Tibetan national identity. The second section, “Promotion” explores the reasons behind international interest in the Tibetan cause and the way CUTS engages with this interest through international exchange programs.



anthropology, refugees, education, Tibet, India, Buddhism