CyberFair Project ID: 3755

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Promoting Understanding -- The History of Relations Between China and Tibet
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: Irvine High School
    Irvine, CA, 92604

4 students, ages ages 16 - 17 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2005

Classes and Teachers: Jim Antenore and John Eisloeffel/ Anna, Namgiao, Hufsa, and Josephine

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Irvine High School’s Doors to Diplomacy Team consists of four bright and inquisitive Juniors: Namgiao (16), Hufsa (16), Josephine (17) and Anna (16). While searching for scholarships, Namgiao came across the Doors to Diplomacy Cyberfair competition and formed a team with three friends who were also highly interested in the challenge.

To successfully and comprehensively complete this website project, the Irvine team couldn’t have done it without computer-whiz Hufsa, who worked diligently on the structure of the website and edited most of the research compiled by Josephine, Anna and Namgiao. Exhausting the local library of related books and encyclopedias, Josephine, Anna and Namgiao also sifted through online sources to gather enough information for writing the website. Social Science teachers Jim Antenore and John Eisloeffel were the coaches of this team, guiding the students and offering their much-needed expertise and support.

2. Summary of Our Project

History is an intricate collection of people, places, occurrences, ideas, and so much more. Most of all, it is fundamental to our understanding of the present. It is the basis to this site, Promoting Understanding. We aim to explore the past to better understand the present--mainly, the situation and conflict between China and Tibet – as well as offer our speculations on a just resolution.

We thought it best to enter in the Doors to Diplomacy 2005 website competition because of its publicity and emphasis on peaceful foreign relations. The topic of Tibet and China had often sprung up in our conversations, and we decided that participation in the Doors to Diplomacy competition would be an excellent opportunity not only to expand our awareness but also to convey this issue to a wide audience.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:not sure

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Most of the research on this project was done either at the students' homes or the library. All of the site was created on one student's home computer.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Because the topic we chose involved two countries which none of us had any close contact to, research was one of our biggest problems. It was difficult to find reliable information since the Tibetan conflict is relatively unknown, and much of it is from the past. Another obstacle we faced was how to present the conflict without being biased towards either China or Tibet. We solved this problem by deciding to present the conflict from both points of view. However, this proved to be rather difficult when we attempted to write China's side, since few countries or groups are adamant supporters of Chinese actions.

As a result, we had numerous sources--such as the Free Tibet Campaign and Friends of Tibet--for the Tibetan side and only the official Chinese response for the Chinese side. Since we began our research late, we also had to deal with a short schedule, which forced us to rush in our research and our summaries. Time also affected our ability to complete the collaborative parts of the project, such as the project narrative and project purpose. We eventually solved these problems by dividing the workload, so that our completed project bears contributions from every member.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our participation in Doors to Diplomacy has captivated, cultivated and broadened our interest in international relations and affairs, especially towards the situation regarding China and Tibet. The promotion of our webpage and its special interaction features will undoubtedly spur much discussion, debate and awareness of the history of relations of China and Tibet in our school, community, and the world.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Especially in Mr. Antenore's Honors World Studies class, students are compelled to explore the effect of bias in various historical references. The freshmen in his class learn to detect and analyze bias, a fundamental skill in comprenhending conflicts and deriving solutions, especially in the world today. In this project, we students decided to utilize these skills attained during our freshmen year. Noticing bias during our research, we thought the best way to deal with these was to present them on the site, then convey our analyses, ultimately portraying a wider perspective on the conflict and offering a lesson on analyzing bias to viewers as well.

Most of all, we learned the vitality of exploring both sides to a conflict. Without such exploration, it would be impossible to attain an adequate understanding of the situation or derive a possible solution. Indubitably, we will all pay more attention to other sides' perspectives in the future--whether it be in our school or in the world.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Because the conflict between Tibet and China is an international one, we used books from our local library and websites on the internet as sources. Sites belonging to organizations such as Friends of Tibet and the Free Tibet Campaign were also instrumental in creating our summary of the Tibetan side of the conflict. In addition, we used the official Chinese statement on the conflict for an accurate description. Most of our website sources were found via search engines or as links from organizations we had used.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Unsure and without a direction, the group tossed around numerous ideas for this project. Each topic had its own pros and cons but none seemed to be just right. We started in the direction of globalization/westernization but realized what a large scope it encompassed. Our advisers Jim Antenore and John Eisloeffel were able to come up with some focal points that we could devote the majority of our research to, but the topic still covered multiple categories. Luckily, we finally came to the unanimous decision to research and make an informative website on the disputes between China and Tibet.

With a focused topic and motivation, a couple of the group members turned to their parents for advice - two parents were already expertised about the conflict. They were able to explain the complexity of the issue and provide suggestion on how to go about treating such a sensitive topic. As for the research, we thank those who feel so strongly and have such a genuine passion for their cause. With their inspiration, we also felt a desire to inform people about both sides of the conflict.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Although it is too early to be certain, we earnestly believe that our online project will make a tremendous impact on people's perspectives toward China and Tibet's relations. We have accumulated considerable research and have compiled it into an easy-to-read website that will not only encourage viewers to shape their own educated opinions but to also engage in discussion diplomatic issues.

Our site has influenced many people in our community already, raising awareness of the complicated and urgent situation between China and Tibet. Because our community has been impacted, we are positive that the world will soon be. Site visitors are able to read and leave comments in the discussion forum, as well as ask questions by emailing the site email. Inspired by the power of technology to spread information and raise awareness, we are sure that our website has the potential to effectively aid those who are concerned with and wish to learn more about the relations of China and Tibet.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Just six weeks before, our prospects for a topic were nebulous. We had struggled greatly to pick a topic, often leaning towards globalization/westernization, but without a precise one. With the guidance of our parents and especially our teacher-advisors, we were able to narrow it down to the conflict between China and Tibet. Consequently, without the vast span of the Internet, our research would have been a great deal more difficult; doubtless, we would have been unable to attain much information, and our site would not be as developed.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

When we first decided on the Chinese-Tibetan situation as our project topic, everyone in our group had heard something about the issue at some point or another. It therefore came as a surprise to us when we began conducting our research and realized that the issue is not as popular as we believed. Relatively few sites offer information on the conflict, and while we had thought it was still an issue widely debated today, we were shocked to discover that after the 1950's and early 1960's, few countries devoted any more resources or time to the Tibetan cause. Perhaps most shocking was the lack of United Nations involvement or protestation of abuses since its last resolution in 1965. We have also gained insight from the Dalai Lama's wisdom towards obstructing the flow of conflict and ensuring a more peaceful world.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3755)

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