As Trace Foundation nears its nineteenth year, the few core ideas on which the organization was founded are stronger than ever. First is the appreciation and celebration of Tibetan culture. You see this reflected not only in our mission statement, but in all the work we do, from support for a Tibetan-language kindergarten, to the preservation of classical texts and folk songs, to the training of young Tibetan ecologists who will study grassland degradation. Second is the focus on making a practical, long-term difference in people’s lives. For me, this is a cornerstone of our identity as an organization, and of effective development work. Last, but not least, is the commitment to cooperation as a means for solving problems, sharing solutions and building a better world.
The importance of mutual respect, listening, finding common ground and practical ways to work together is more evident now than ever, yet around the world dialogue is too often being replaced by conflict. On the Tibetan Plateau, the breakdown of dialogue has led to an increasingly restrictive environment for the implementation of our work. In 2010, we have continued to adapt to these challenges. We expanded our scholarship program to meet the needs of a growing number of students seeking a higher education, and reworked our approach to external grants to ensure that more of the worthiest projects can be undertaken.
This year, we also completed our first lecture series, Minority Language in Today’s Global Society. The six-conference series, held at our headquarters in New York, brought together scholars from around the world to compare strategies for language maintenance, develop common understanding, and forge partnerships across languages, backgrounds, and continents.
As we struggle globally with how, whether and why we will be tied together, I am proud of the efforts that Trace Foundation has made at both the international and local levels.
In this uncertain climate, The Foundation’s commitment to culture, people and cooperation remains as strong as ever. There is much to be done.
Andrea E. Soros