Tibet and China have had a complex relationship for 1500 years. Wars have been fought, treaties signed, then ignored in the next conquest. But there was always trade. In this presentation, National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins takes us on a journey down the forgotten Tea Horse Road. For almost 1000 years there was a stone-paved road that connected Ya’an, the tea-growing capital of Sichuan province, with Lhasa, the 12,000-foot high capital of Tibet. Tea was essential to daily life in Tibet, and China’s feudal kingdoms needed war horses. For centuries China and Tibet were on equal footing, but the ascendency of China in the second half of the 20th century has devastated Tibet and Tibetan culture. With National Geographic images, Jenkins reveals the modern lives of the Tibetans, and the Chinese, and the geopolitics that have always connected them.
Mark Jenkins is a critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist who covers geopolitics and adventure for National Geographic. A Wyoming native and graduate of UW, he is the author of four books and his work has appeared in dozens of national and international magazines. The What in the World? Student Presentations feature three UW students reporting on their international fieldwork from summer 2016. The projects range from fieldwork in The Gambia, West Africa exploring why and how people migrate to Europe, greenhouse projects run by harnessing waste heat in Wyoming and northern Europe, challenges to delivering development in Guatemala and Iraq, and conservation of endangered bird species in Ecuador.