Tibetans around the globe have Tashi Tsering (Engr ’04), and a few others, to thank for being able to type in their native language and alphabet on their computers—a capability most of us take for granted.
“If your machine is running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can type and process Tibetan language on these systems,” explained Tsering, who comes from a remote, nomadic town in eastern Tibet and studied computer science at UVA “The Tibetan system—including the keyboard, font (Microsoft Himalaya), and language processing unit—is from my work on two software-developing projects during my time at UVA”
First introduced to UVA when he met its Tibet Center co-director David Germano at a seminar abroad in 2000, Tsering said he was happy to give back to the University and department that endowed him with the “solid confidence and academic skills” that have allowed him to return home and serve Tibetans locally and worldwide.
“For expressing my gratefulness for everything UVA did for me and my family, I sent a small gift,” wrote Tsering, who works at the China National Center for Tibetan Studies developing software and information technology (IT) standards.
According to Germano, Tsering “has been an outstanding leader” in Tibetan IT and “played a key role in the adoption of Unicode, the world’s encoding standard for global scripts, so Tibetan can eventually have the same easy power we enjoy with Roman script.”
One of hundreds of Tibetans who have come to UVA from all walks of life—some as full-time students, many as visiting scholars—Tsering perpetuates a tradition of relationship-building that took root nearly a half century ago and culminated in the Tibet Center’s formation in 2008. He enjoys remaining connected to UVA through the center—not only helping to expand Tibet’s presence at UVA but, increasingly, bringing members of the UVA community to explore contemporary Tibet.