By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 12: The Copenhagen University earlier this week shut down its Tibetology or Tibetan studies department citing defunding by the Danish government. The move by the prestigious university in the capital of Denmark is seen as undermining "1,200 years of mind science," says one axed faculty member.
Associate professor of the department Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, speaking to the Copenhagen University’s University Post
said, "What we are going to miss here is scholars and mediators who have studied the conditions of suffering and relief from suffering for 1,200 years. There are few traditions from this time that are still alive in our time, and this, the Tibetan tradition, is one of them,"
The University lost more than 500 staff members, almost half of whom were fired and the rest choosing to leave voluntarily, the establishment’s official website mentioned. The University in a cost cutting measure is set to reduce outlay by 300 million Danish Krone (DKK). The Danish government last year announced budget reduction will have research funding reduced to DKK 1.2 Billion from DKK 22 Billion.
The pronouncement now being put into effect has seen the Tibetan Studies especially susceptible to being axed as the political status of Tibet is “not referable to a country” and Tibet not among the countries Denmark is engaged in trade.
Few sympathetic comments were posted on the University website with one Roisin Elder writing, “This is clearly China leaning on Denmark. It's a recent development. Axing one and a half jobs at a university is an easy way to appease the totalitarian giant. It's obviously not an economic decision.”
Another post by Ngawang Lungtok engages in a more realistic political leverage. He writes, “It is neither saddening nor surprising. It was inevitable and bound to happen. No one really cares about some ancient age old related study that gives neither job guarantee nor with a legitimate country to back the study itself.”
The faculties of the Tibetology department are fired and the 12 enrolled student without a course to pursue in the University of Copenhagen.