Global Spotlight: Tim Clark

Posted: Tuesday, October 14th 2014 at 7:10 AM

Since 2011, the NAU Mainpat Interdisciplinary Global Learning Project has been traveling to a Tibetian Refugee camp in Mainpat, India. This educational and humanitarian Faculty-led program was started by Dean Leslie Schulz  in collaboration with the Center for International Education. The interdisciplinary collaboration of many academic departments makes it possible for the people of Mainpat to receive health care, reliable power, and other services. Faculty and students engage in a rich academic and humanitarian experience as they serve this community.

On December 28th, a group of 26 NAU faculty and students will go to Mainpat to serve in various capacities. FCB Business Division faculty member,  Dr. Timothy Clark will embark on this journey to India, along with one of his students, Kiara Weathersby, to complete an important, albeit difficult, project. He has been sponsored by NAU and tasked with developing a business plan for a group of Tibetan refugees in the state of Mainpat, which is in northern Chhattisgarh state. When Clark and Weathersby go to Mainpat, they will refine the business plan being developed this Fall, for completion in Spring of 2015.

Tulku Tsori Rinpoche (a Lama within Tibetan Buddhism, under the leadership of the Dalai Lama) is in charge of the fundraising for proceeds that typically secure all of the necessities for the Tibetan monestary, the nearby Tibetan refugee camps, and the village of Mainpat. The monastary is the home of over 65 Tibetan children.  The fundraising efforts are barely sustaining the needs of the monastary and the remaining camps.   The Rinpoche has reached out to NAU for help.  Dr. Timothy Clark was asked to help create a viable business that the camps could use to generate funds. Together with Rinpoche, they brainstormed ideas: did the Tibetan people have a special trinket they could sell that wasn't made anywhere else? Was there a distinctly unique cuisine? After questioning and questioning, Clark found that a possible answer may lie in the Tibetan refugees' workforce themselves. They are a group of hard-working and honest people that want to be a part of earning sustainable funding for the camps.

Clark's previous foreign experience includes teaching in Bangalore, in southern India, in January 2014. He notes that the biggest difference between that trip and this one will be the fact that this time, he will be staying in a rural area, far from bustling urban streets.

He recognizes that there is a difficult task in front of him and his team, as well as the Tibetan refugees, but he is optimistic that the hard work of all involved will help solve the funding problem for the village.

Spring 2015 Update

After arriving in Mainpat, Clark and the rest of the group talked to the refugees to see what their possibilities were. Three options for raising funds came up--tourism, agriculture, or a partnership with a Western investor. There wasn’t much interest in the third choice so it was decided that the most likely source of funds would lie in their agricultural skills.

“India, like the United States, is tending towards preferring organic-grown produce and a farmer can make more money doing that than just growing the old-fashioned kind,” Clark said. “Also, this community seems to have some advantages for producing organics ahead of most of the farmers in the area.”

The team worked on making a business plan for the quiet, secluded community to continue growing their organic produce and sell more of it. They were able to get a feel of the location as they heard the various calls to prayer echoing in the distance throughout the day.

After their time working in Mainpat, the Center for International Education (CIE) took them to visit Varanasi on one of the last days of the trip in order to get the full, chaotic experience of India. The bustling city along the Ganges River is known as the oldest continuously inhabited city on Earth and provided them with a taste of the country's history. 

Upon returning to the United States, the team put their notes together and completed a 12-page report on the agreed upon business plan. They hope their contributions will help the community fix their financial troubles.

More Information on Rinpoche

The Venerable Tulku Tsori Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual leader of the Yogi Tsoru Dechen Rinpoche Foundation based in  Miami, Florida. He is recognized as a Lama - a term reserved for senior members of the Tibetan Order.

Lama Tulku Tsori Rinpoche (aka Tulku Karma) was born in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India in 1974. During his childhood, he was recognized as the incarnation of Yogi Tsoru Dechen Rinpoche of Chamdho, Tibet. At the age of seven, he was received at Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe, India where he completed his education.

Rinpoche has devoted his life to champion humanitarian efforts. He travels throughout the world teaching the Buddha Dharma (Path of Awakening), and speaking on the greater good of empowering humanity and revitalizing society. Presently, Rinpoche is overseeing various charitable programs including construction of the Children's Monastery in Mainpat, India while continuing to help establish new Dharma centers throughout the world.

This article is part of a series on FCB Business Division and SHRM faculty to highlight the international experience within the college and to promote our globalization initiatives, including the launch of the Global Business Program (GBP). Information on this program can be found HERE.

More About Clark

Faculty profile HERE

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