chance meeting with a pro-democracy Chinese activist in the gift shop of an
Indian hotel resulted in an invitation to meet the Dalai Lama and, ultimately,
a new educational path and passion for CCAC graduate Theresa Osborne Ward.
of Greenfield, initially traveled to India in January with other CCAC Honors
students as part of an international study tour. On an evening visit to the
hotel gift shop in Delhi, where the owner was teaching her Hindi, she met Dr.
Yang Jianli, president of thepro-democracy group Initiatives for China. A “deep
discussion” between the two prompted Jianli, a survivor of Tiananmen
Square, to invite Osborne to return to India in
the spring to attend a human rights conference and to meet a friend of his, the
Upon doing some research, Ward knew she couldn’t pass up this
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Accompanied by CCAC English Professor Patsy
Williamson, Ward returned in late April to India, where the women attended a four-day human rights conference that
included presentations on the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities in
China. The emphasis was on education,
grassroots organizing and non-violent action. They both found the conference to
be very enlightening.
and Williamson were also impressed by their visit with the Dalai Lama. The
spiritual leader of Tibet spoke about the importance of secular ethics in
education, and Ward took his message to heart. The CCAC graduate, having
recently earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences, is pursuing
her studies through a parallel program with the University of Pittsburgh. Upon
returning from India, she changed her major to Political Science and
June 3 and 4 Ward will attend events organized by Initiatives for China in Washington,
D.C.; the meeting will also commemorate the 27th anniversary of the
Tiananmen Square massacre. While there, Ward plans on networking with the
Students for a Free Tibet organization.
more information about Initiatives for China, visit: http://www.initiativesforchina.org/
1: Posing with the Dalai Lama in Dharmasala, India, are CCAC alumna Theresa
Osborne Ward (front row, third from the right) and CCAC Professor Patsy
Williamson (far right).
2: Pausing for a photo during their visit to Dharmasala are Dr. Yang Jianli,
president of Initiatives for China, Theresa Osborne Ward and Patsy Williamson.
###About the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
CCAC annually educates nearly 30,000 credit
students through more than 150 degree, certificate, diploma and transfer
programs and offers thousands of students access to noncredit and workforce
development courses. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide
affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and
supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for
academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.
CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to approximately
500 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with
accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny
County and beyond. Visit www.ccac.edu to learn more.