Event Detail

29
Oct
2009

Tibet

Francoise Mathieu
Thursday, 29 Oct 2009
British Council
With her uniquely exciting humanitarian work in wartorn areas and speaking of her experiences in the remote communities of Tibet. Dr Mathieu also shows the extraordinary beauty of the landscape with a selection of photos.


We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong Dr Francoise Mathieu, who has spent 25 years leading humanitarian work, some 16 years of which with Medicins Sans Frontieres. This work has taken her to Nicaragua, the Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, the Philippines, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tibet and Bosnia, among numerous other trouble spots. In this lecture, she tells the story of her experiences in these wartorn countries, but particularly her long stays in Tibet, where she is a world expert on village customs.

Dr Mathieu spent five years working with the Palestinian people and saw at first hand the politics and hardships of the refugees in the West Bank and Gaza areas, including working in the region during the Gulf War of 1991. She also led a team during the first big uprising in Gaza and the West Bank, where she and her team were kidnapped at gun point by a militant group.

In 1992 she first went to Tibet where she was resident for 6 years, and was residing and working in remote villages in arid and inhospitable regions undertaking basic health research. She learnt to speak working Tibetan and gained a multitude of friends in the villages. This has given her a unique insight into, also the ability to study, village culture, its customs, traditions, agriculture and family structure. She also has unparalleled experience in the nutritional and health problems of the population. Her work has meant she has spent long periods in the villages with first hand experience of the hardships and joys of everyday Tibetan village culture.

She now visits Tibet quarterly and always travels into the remotest areas supervising her resident team. Her work is carried out with the agreement and cooperation of the Chinese Health Ministry. This also gives her a balanced view of the Central Government’s policies, and the interaction of the Tibetan population and the Han Chinese population that has grown so recently.

In her talk she tells the tales of her uniquely exciting humanitarian work in wartorn areas but also tells of her experiences in the remote communities of Tibet. She also shows the extraordinary beauty of the landscape with a selection of photos, having travelled extensively in some of the most remote and beautiful areas of the region.

Dr. Mathieu is Belgian and read Physical Therapy at the ULB University in Brussels, which subsequently awarded her a doctorate based on her research in Tibet. She has published in numerous publications, including The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The Cahiers de l’Agriculture. She has also lectured extensively worldwide.

Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others

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