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Popular UW Adventurer Mark Jenkins to Discuss Tibet and China Relationship Statewide

February 7, 2017
three Tibetan women
This is among the photographs that will be shown during UW writer-in-residence Mark Jenkins’ latest statewide presentation “Tea, Trade, and Tyranny: Tibet and China Over Time.” (Mark Jenkins Photo)

University of Wyoming writer-in-residence Mark Jenkins, of Laramie, uses his experiences as a National Geographic contributor as a way to bring his global adventures to the Cowboy State.

His latest offering -- scheduled in February and March in six Wyoming communities -- focuses on the long relationship between Tibet and China.

The adventurer will present “Tea, Trade, & Tyranny: Tibet & China Over Time” as part of the UW Center for Global Studies “World to Wyoming Tour.” Each of his programs is free and open to the public.

Tibet and China have had a complex relationship for more than 1,500 years. Wars have been fought, treaties signed, and then ignored in the next conquest. But, there was always trade, Jenkins says.

In his presentation, Jenkins takes the audience on a journey down the forgotten Tea Horse Road. For almost 1,000 years, a stone-paved road connected Ya’an, the tea-growing capital of Sichuan province, with Lhasa, the 12,000-foot-high capital of Tibet. Tea was essential to daily life in Tibet, and China’s feudal kingdoms needed war horses. For centuries, China and Tibet were on equal footing, but the ascendency of China in the second half of the 20th century has devastated Tibet and the country’s culture.

Jenkins will discuss the two countries’ history in the following Wyoming communities:

-- Wednesday, Feb. 15, UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium, 7 p.m.

-- Tuesday, Feb. 28, Gillette College, Presentation Hall, 7 p.m.

-- Wednesday, March 1, Sheridan College, Whitney Concert Hall, 7 p.m.

-- Thursday, March 2, Northwest College, in Powell, Yellowstone Building, 6:30 p.m. Also featured will be “What in the World?” UW student international fieldwork presentations, Fagerberg Building, Room 70, from 2:25-3:40 p.m.

-- Saturday, March 4, Cody Theatre, 2:30 p.m. Also featured will be “What in the World?” UW student international fieldwork presentations, Cody Theatre, 1 p.m.

-- Sunday, March 5, National Wildlife Museum, in Jackson, 5:30 p.m. Also featured will be “What in the World?” UW student international fieldwork presentations, National Wildlife Museum, 4 p.m.

With National Geographic images used for his presentations, Jenkins reveals the modern lives of the Tibetans and the Chinese, and the geopolitics that have always connected them.

A critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist, Jenkins covers geopolitics and adventure for National Geographic. He has won numerous writing awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for “The Healing Fields” in 2013 and a National Magazine Award with colleague Brint Stirton for “Who Murdered the Mountain Gorillas” in 2009. Both projects provided the basis for statewide presentations at Wyoming’s community colleges as part of the “World to Wyoming” outreach series.

Jenkins is the author of four books, and his work has appeared in dozens of national and international magazines. He has a B.A. degree in philosophy and an M.S. in geography, both from UW.

Students presenting and their projects are:

-- Emily Beagle, mechanical engineering doctoral candidate, from Sheridan, “European Bioenergy Systems and Beetle Kill Management.” She used her Center for Global Studies-School of Energy Resources Nielson Graduate Fellowship to examine the present state of bioenergy systems in the European Union. Beagle researched how similar systems can be implemented to manage the beetle kill epidemic and simultaneously be used in energy applications.

-- Jeremy Goldsmith, international studies/environment and natural resources master’s degree candidate, from Louisville, Ky., “Evaluating Why and How Gambians Migrate.” He used the Center for Global Studies Centennial Award to travel to Gambia to visit with migrants to understand the factors impacting their decisions to migrate illegally to Europe.

-- Denise Muro, international studies master’s degree candidate, from Denver, Colo., “Portrayals of Displaced Syrian and Iraqi Women in Germany.” She used the Center for Global Studies Research Excellence Award to investigate Syrian and Iraqi women refugee experiences in Berlin, Germany.

For more information about Jenkins’ presentations, call Jean Garrison, UW Center for Global Studies director, at (307) 766-6119 or email

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