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Program Advisors

Vikas Bali

Program Advisor

Vikas is the CEO of Intellecap, the advisory arm of The Aavishkaar Group, which works to build businesses that can benefit the underserved segments across Asia and Africa. Vikas has close to 29 years of experience spread across management consulting and industry roles. He is passionate about scaling businesses, job creation and economic empowerment of the developing world. He has worked closely with organizations such as WBG, Rockefeller foundation, Ford foundation, ISA, USAID, Shakti foundation, PSI among others to help build ecosystems, channelize capital and contribute towards building a more equitable and sustainable society. He believes that structures need to be put in place to de-risk private capital and catalyse it to invest into the development sector. Vikas has completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM – Calcutta with Strategy as major subject of his study. He has completed his Bachelor in Engineering from Vivekanand’s institute for Technology.

Dr. Ruth Gamble

Program Advisor

Ruth is an environmental, cultural and climate historian of Tibet, the Himalaya, and Asia.  She is writing her third book, a history of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River. Her previous books were on the relationship between sacred geography and the reincarnation tradition (Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism, OUP 2018) and a biography of the Third Karmapa (Master of Mahamudra, Shambhala 2020). She has also published numerous articles and book chapters on the region’s ecological politics, literature, and histories. She completed her PhD in Asian Studies at the Australian National University, was a postdoctoral fellow at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, and a visiting fellow at Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Before coming to La Trobe University, she taught Tibetan language studies and Asian Religions at the Australian National University. She was a David Myers Research Fellow at La Trobe and was recently awarded an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship to conduct research on the Himalayan Cryosphere.

Dr. Roger Jackson

Program Advisor

Roger is John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus, at Carleton College, where he taught the religions of South Asia and Tibet. He also has taught at the University of Michigan, Fairfield University, McGill University, and Maitripa College. He has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied under Geshe Lhundub Sopa. His scholarly interests include Indian and Tibetan Buddhist systems of philosophy, meditation, and ritual; Buddhist religious poetry; the study of mysticism; religion in Sri Lanka; and the contours of modern Buddhist thought. His books include Mind Seeing Mind: Mahāmudrā and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (2019), and Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World (2022). He has written many articles, book chapters, and reviews, and presented regularly at national and international scholarly conferences. He was editor-in-chief of the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies from 1985 to 1993, and co-edited the Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies from 2006 to 2018.

Geshe Thupten Tendhar

Program Advisor

Geshe Tendhar is a scholar and practitioner of ancient Buddhist wisdom and modern American education. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and a Geshe (doctorate) degree in Buddhist studies from Drepung Loseling Monastic University. He is a Level 3 Trainer in Kingian Nonviolence from the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. He serves as the International Nonviolence Summer Institute director, teaching nonviolence globally. He also coordinates the inner peace projects at the center. Thupten authored and published two poetry books, Peace: Rhythm of My Heart and Love: Beating My Heart. He teaches Tibetan Buddhism and the Art of Happiness course at the Liberal Arts Department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He has taught a class on Tibetan Buddhism for the URI Honors Program since 2012 and the core seminar on Nonviolence Theory and Research in the M.A. in International Relations program at URI. Academic journals, including the Journal of American College Health and Journal of Mental Health and Social Behaviour published his research papers. His primary research focuses on compassion, inner peace, peace psychology, mindfulness, wellbeing, and nonviolence pedagogy.

Dolkun Isa

Program Advisor

Dolkun is a former student-leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations at Xinjiang University in 1988. He received a Master’s degree in Politics and Sociology from Gazi University in Turkey and a degree in Computer Science in Munich, Germany. After enduring persecution from the Chinese government, Isa fled China in 1994 and sought asylum in Europe, and became a citizen of Germany in 2006. In April 2004, he also played an important role in the establishment of the World Uyghur Congress and was elected General Secretary. He has since been presenting Uyghur human rights issues to the UN Human Rights Council, European Parliament, European governments and international human rights organizations. Dolkun Isa is the current President of the World Uyghur Congress.

Dr. Siddiq Wahid

Program Advisor

Dr. Siddiq Wahid is currently a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi and Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) in Delhi. He has been Director, UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute of Kashmir Studies at the University of Kashmir. Previous to that he was the Founding Vice Chancellor of Islamic University of Science & Technology, Kashmir and Maharaja Gulab Singh Chair Professor of Modern History at the University of Jammu. He has taught in the United States and India, and has lectured widely in South Asia, Europe and the United States in his field of study. He received his PhD in the field of Inner Asian and Altaic Studies at Harvard University where he specialized in Tibetan and Central Asian political History. He has published widely in his fields of interest in India and the United States.

Geshe Beri Jigme Wangyal

Program Advisor

Geshe Beri Jigme Wangyal is a professor of literature and author of several books on various subjects ranging from poetry to biography and history. He was born in Tibet and arrived in India in 1989. In 2003 he was invited as a visiting scholar to Indiana University, United States, where he taught a course in the history department. He received his Geshe degree in Buddhist Philosophy in 2004 from the Drepung Monastery in Southern India. He served as a member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile in 2001. He has participated in various international conferences and has taught students from many countries around the world. He is the author of 21 books. Currently he serves as a teacher and chair of the literature department at Central University for Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, India.