Jann Ronis (Tibetan Language Program)
Jann Ronis studied religion, Tibetan studies, Sinology, and the Tibetan and Chinese languages at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2009 for a dissertation about developments in the monasteries of eastern Tibet, along the border between Tibet and China, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His dissertation focused on innovations in scholastics, liturgical practices, and administration spearheaded by the lamas of Katok Monastery and their widespread adoption in the region. The resulting network of monasteries represented the only significant alternative in Tibet to the model of monasticism prevalent in central Tibet and was the site of tremendous literary and artistic production. His research interests include the social histories of visionary cults, scholastic traditions, monastic reform movements, and sectarian conflicts; the philosophical and contemplative traditions of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism; and Sino-Tibetan cultural relations. During his year at Berkeley Jann is researching the twelfth and thirteenth century formation of an important ritual tradition in Tibetan Buddhism the Kagye (bka' brgyad), or Eight Dispensations in an effort to better understand the domestication of Buddhism in Tibet. The Kagye is a compendium of eight heterogeneous deity cults including deities of Indic and Tibetan origins, and supramundane and mundane statuses and Jann is exploring the innovations in narrative and ritual made by the Tibetan creators of this uniquely Tibetan pantheon.
Gareth Sparham (Tibetan Language Program)
Gareth Sparham was born in Britain and studied at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics from 1974 to 1982. He earned his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of British Columbia. He lecturered at the University of Michigan before coming to Berkeley.
Karma Thinley Ngodup (Tibetan Language Program)
Karma was born in Tibet and grew up in India. He studied Tibetan language, history, and Tibetan Buddhism all through high school. He taught Tibetan language and history at Dehradun. He received a Master's Degree in History and Geography. He came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship and received his third Master's Degree in Education from the University of Northern Iowa. He returned to India where he became the Director of the Tibetan Education Development and Resource Center in Dharamsala. He published many school textbooks and storybooks for primary-level Tibetan language education, and trained teachers in the use of these materials. He came to Berkeley in 2002 and has been teaching Tibetan language in the area since that time. He has also worked on the transliteration of many rare Tibetan Buddhist commentaries and has been the Tibetan Research Consultant for the Electronic and Cultural Atlas Initiatives (ECAI) at CAL. He worked on the Tibetan gazetteer project, recording information such as names, etymology, and history from the biography of great Buddhist scholar Je Tsongkhapa called Yellow Beryl [baid'urya ser po]. His focus in the Tibetan Program at CAL has been to incorporate modern language learning technology.