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The Dalai Lama at 89: Looking Back and Reflecting Toward the Future – NCTA Online Program

Photo by Tenzin Choejor, published on


His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, who describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk, will turn 89 this summer. The Dalai Lama fled the People’s Republic of China for India in March 1959 after PRC troops occupied Tibet. He has been living in exile ever since. As the spiritual leader of Tibet, as well as the Tibetan-in-Exile community, when he dies, his reincarnation will be a religious crisis.

In this combo online book discussion and workshop, we explored his 1990 autobiography Freedom in Exile where he described his early life, ordination at the 14th Dalai Lama, and how he was forced to flee Tibet. The workshop also covered content on the current Tibetan diaspora, hopes for the future, and the functioning of the Tibetan-government-in-exile.


All participants were expected to read the graphic novel Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama.
The East Asia Resource Center mailed participants a free copy of the book a few weeks before the start of the program.

Date and time

Thursday, May 11th, 2023; 5:00 – 7:00 PM (Pacific Time).

Program leaders

Dr. Brian Dowdle, Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture, and Mansfield Fellow, University of Montana.
Dr. Lauren Collins, Program Director of Asian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Program benefits

  • A physical or digital copy of the book
  • Online Resource packet
  • Four free Washington State OSPI clock hours

This seminar was offered to K-12 educators free of charge thanks to a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation to the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), and it was sponsored by the University of Washington’s East Asia Resource Center in partnership with Boise State University.