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Uspensky V. Keynote: Tibetan Studies in Saint Petersburg: Past and Present // Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines. New Currents on the Neva River: Proceedings of the Fifth International Seminar of Young Tibetologists. Number 55, Juillet 2020. P. 1–14.


Dear colleagues, young and not very young!

It has been a great honor for me to welcome the congregation of Tibetologists who came to Saint Petersburg both to share their scholarly achievements with their colleagues and to acquire fresh knowledge during the Fifth International Seminar of Young Tibetologists. Saint Petersburg1 was originally founded not only to be “a window on Europe,” but with the particular purpose of becoming the capital of the Russian Empire to unite many peoples and cultures.

Today, Tibetan Studies is a special branch of Oriental Studies. You will not find Tibet on the political map of the world. However, in the same way that many great rivers flow to the oceans from the glaciers of Tibet, her spiritual accomplishments spread in all directions, crossing mountains and deserts, as well as political boundaries. For this reason, it is my opinion that when preceding the word “studies,” “Tibetan” should be understood not just in its geographical or ethnic meaning, but in its cultural and religious meaning. Tibetology is thus a world-embracing subject and is in no way limited to the hardly accessible mountainous country with “high peaks and pure earth.”

Russia is especially fortunate geographically since it is located in both Europe and Asia. Therefore, Asian languages and cultures are not something external and foreign—as they may be considered in Europe—but they are an inseparable and important part of Russian national culture. As a result, the study of Asian languages has always been seen as indispensable, and this emphasis has greatly contributed to the progress of Oriental Studies in Russia...

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history of Oriental studies

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