Tibetan Cultural Preservation Through Ecotourism

Program Details & Highlights
Program Description

Zhonglu Township is a small Tibetan community located in Danba’s mountains, part of the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a community known as “A Thousand Stone Castle Kingdom” that until recently had limited contact with outside world. The expanse of this tourism hasn’t left Zhonglu untouched; in fact, Zhonglu has seen a large growth in tourists over the past 5-10 years. On one hand, local people are excited by the prospect of new wealth and tourism as an additional source of income. But on the other hand, this increase in tourism have left traditional cultural activities by the wayside. Even in one example, local villagers knocked down a 500-year old watchtower in order to use the bricks to build a standardized guesthouse.

Our local partner, the Yunhe Centre, aims to reduce the impact of unsustainable development and finding innovative ways to preserve the local culture. In the past year, Keru has brought out multiple teams to address the major issues of unfettered tourism and find creative solutions to better help preserve the local culture and traditions of the Tibetan people in Zhonglu.

Students will have the opportunity to experience this unique Tibetan Culture. They will utilize research, photography, filmography and marketing skills to reveal hidden culture and traditions. Students will create a mini-video documentary to highlight ecotourism features in Zhonglu. All these resources will be potentially used as a CSR showcasing initiative and further contribute by raising awareness to support the campaign of Yunhe Centre.
Local Partner 

Yunhe is a centre for nature-based learning and community development created by Dragon Expeditions in May 2015 in response to the growing need to support vulnerable communities who are currently impacted by de-population and at risk of over-development. Their main focus is achieving a balance between nature and modernity to create a self-reliant community in Zhonglu Village by providing a framework in which knowledge is shared, local resources are more efficiently and effectively used, and tourism is operated responsibly.
Content Expert
Benjamin Barthelemy

Benjamin Barthélémy is a French director based in China since 2009, who has won multiple awards. He has wanted to make movies since he was 4 years old and he wrote & directed his first short film when he was only 11 years old. The latest Music video he produced and co-directed for the group NZBZ, has reached over 16 millions views on Chinese social media. It was the 7th most viewed Music Video in 2016.
Patrick McCann

Patrick holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine. He had the opportunity to work in multiple refugee camps and NGO’s in Jordan that provide job and education training Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees. He also worked on a film production of an independent documentary about the Vietnam War. He came to Shanghai in 2014 and is currently working at an international school, teaching digital design, film and journalism.
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