Saturday, September 12, 2009

Intersections at Wasabi Point

I have been meaning to write about an unusual gathering of young Tibetans in NYC about two months ago. The gathering was called by the Global Tibetan Professional Network* at Wasabi Point, a nice little restaurant in Woodside, Queens. GTPN (which suffers from an unfortunate acronym –for a long time, I thought it was possibly a dharma center or perhaps an STD) is a new and growing network of Tibetan professionals in the US started by Drs. Tsering Amdo and Tenzin Jamyang.

There were about 30-40 young Tibetans there, professionals and budding professionals in all walks of life – geology, aerospace engineering, dentistry, advertising, nursing, doctoring, lawyering, film-making, activisting (activating?), you name it. We got together, and we speed-dated basically. Each of us was paired up with someone we hadn’t met previously –since the point of the whole gathering was to network, meet new people, form new connections- and told to make conversation. We talked about ourselves, our interests, why we were there and what we hoped to get out of this new network.

There was a nice poetic touch to the choice of restaurants. Just as we, the attendees, were a fusion of Tibetan and foreign environments, in greater and lesser proportions, so the restaurant too was a fusion of Tibetan and foreign cuisine. The whole thing was actually very well organized.

There was even an admirable (but doomed) short-lived attempt at simulcasting audio through the flat screen TV on the wall. However, as Shakespeare would say, knowing how to fiddle with a few touch screen buttons on your iphone does not a tech expert make. We have still a good ten years to go before we produce any real life tech geeks. Still, I did come away from Wasabi Point with the pre-dawning hope that we are farther along the path to developing the human resources necessary for a functional civil society than I had mournfully assumed.


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