September 26, 1999
Friends World Student Presents U.S. Debut of Documentary on Tibetan Refugees
Brian Quist of Seattle Premieres "We Are Refugees," on Oct. 5 at Southampton College
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Southampton, NY -- Every year, hundreds of Tibetans risk their lives to make a difficult and dangerous trek across the Himalayas, attempting to escape into exile.
Their plight is the subject of a documentary by Brian Quist, a Friends World student who will host a screening of We Are Refugees on Tuesday, October 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Duke Lecture Hall at Southampton College of Long Island University. Admission is free.
Quist, 20, is a junior in the Friends World Program of Long Island University, which has seven overseas centers and is based at Southampton College. After screening the U.S. premiere of his one-hour film, he will host a question-and-answer session with several local Tibetan refugees.
"The Tibetans who survive become the newest refugees of a land and culture which is being systematically dissolved and destroyed by the central Chinese government," says Quist, who is establishing his own video production company, Global Griot Productions. "Many of these refugees carry the physical and mental scars of years of abuse, torture and imprisonment. It is imperative that the true situation in Tibet be brought to the attention of the international community."
We Are Refugees documents the lives of two such refugees who escaped from Tibet in 1998. Lobsang Chenjor, a former political prisoner, spent 11 years in prison before escaping to India to "spread the message of what is happening to Tibet." Tsering Lhamo came to India to get the education she couldn't receive in Tibet. Both refugees endure a dangerous escape and must adjust to their new lives in exile. In addition, both eagerly await the opportunity to meet H.H. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual/political leader.
"This documentary is not only about the Tibetan refugees, but also about the need for further action from the international community to help Tibet in its struggle to overcome pain and suffering," said John Reilly, a Friends World professor who also is an accomplished documentary filmmaker. "The goal of this film is to... enable the messages of strength, determination and survival to radiate clearly from the lives of these Tibetan refugees."
Quist was born and raised in Seattle, but has spent much of his life abroad. At 15, he lived in Kenya with the Kikuyu tribe and went to school there. At 17, he lived in the rainforests of Costa Rica to study reforestation efforts. His recently was in India to study with the Friends World program in Bangalore before moving to Northern India to work with Tibetan refugees.