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Sophia Slater
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Sophia Slater is part Tibetan and was born in Tokyo to American parents. She is a senior at the American School in Japan, where she belongs to the National Honor Society and plays basketball on the school team. She is the founder of CharmWorks, an initiative to help a Tohoku town devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 3/11. Volunteers taking part in the project paint slate charms made from the roofs of the wrecked houses and the charms are then sold to raise money for the town. Sophia loves travel, whether it’s visiting a new country or going back to the States to visit family. Food is another area where she loves to explore, and her favorite cuisine by far is Japanese. When she's not studying or practicing her jump shot, she enjoys playing the piano and baking rich, gooey desserts.

Entries by Sophia Slater

The Remarkable Rinchen Khando Choegyal on Empowering Women and Working for a Better Day

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 10:39 AM

This is the eighth in a series of interviews. While working last summer in Dharamsala, India, I talked with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet.

Rinchen Khando Choegyal is the director of the Tibetan Nuns Project (TNP) and a founding...

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Taking Control of Our Own Narratives: A Tibetan Writer Speaks

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 9:47 AM

This is the seventh in a series of interviews. While working last summer in Dharamsala, India, I talked with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet.

Smuggled out of Tibet as a child, writer Bhuchung D. Sonam has gone from Dharamsala...

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Writer Uses His Art to Fight for Tibetan Independence

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 4:23 PM

This is the sixth in a series of interviews I conducted while working last summer in Dharamsala, India. I talked with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet.

With his red bandana, round glasses and shoulder-length hair, activist, poet and writer...

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From Tibetan Nomad to Dharamsala Entrepreneur

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 11:29 AM

This is the fifth in a series of interviews I conducted while working last summer in Dharamsala, India. I talked with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet.

"Two cabbage pillows and one vegetable stir fry!" Lobsang Rabsel, a smiling man...

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A Tibetan Activist Painter Talks about Life in Exile

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 5:00 PM

Karma Sochoe, an orphan from Tibet who grew up in Dharamsala, was a troublemaker at school but has become an internationally-renowned painter of thangkas or Tibetan scroll paintings. He uses the money he makes as an artist to fund his activism. Usually I'm the one asking questions but when I...

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Hope, Confidence and the Power of the People: An Interview With Tibetan Activist Tsering Tsomo

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 12:19 PM

This is the third in a series of interviews I conducted while working last summer in Dharamsala, India. I talked with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet.

"Strength comes from each human being and that is what we've based our...

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Doing the Gangnam Dance in Dharamsala, India: Creative Cultural Resistance

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 5:57 PM

This is the second in a series of interviews. While working this summer in Dharamsala, I spoke with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet. In the first interview, I talked to Dhardon Sharling, the youngest woman in the Tibetan Parliament. This time we hear...

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The Youngest Tibetan Woman Parliamentarian On Youth, Change, and the Dalai Lama

(0) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 10:52 AM

This is the first in a series of interviews. While working this summer in Dharamsala, India, I talked with leading members of the Tibetan exile community about the freedom movement and the future of Tibet.

From the moment 31-year-old Dhardon Sharling stepped onto the sun-drenched patio of a café in...

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Coming Full Circle: My Meeting With the Dalai Lama

(3) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 1:18 AM

This summer, I've returned to Dharamsala to work with the Tibetan community in exile. When I arrived, I was excited to be teaching English again at the Tibetan Children's Village through the Lifeworks community service program. And I would also be interning for the first time at the Tibetan Women's...

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The One Who Never Stops: An Interview With Angela Ortiz

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 11:16 AM

O.G.A. for Aid is a non-profit organization in Minamisanriku, a town devastated by the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku. I first met Angela Ortiz, 25-year-old director of Administration for O.G.A. for Aid, a couple of years ago when she began organizing 3.11 volunteer and fundraising events here in Tokyo....

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On the Ground in Tohoku: An Interview With Jamie El-Banna

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2013 | 6:48 PM

It's a sunny afternoon in the town of Funakoshi, and Jamie El-Banna is bustling around giving directions to volunteers. Watching him work, you would never suspect that his British-accented English will change in a moment to fluent Japanese. When you find out about the relief work that he does in...

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Tohoku Two Years On

(1) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 9:41 AM

"Isn't it funny how from day to day nothing changes, but then when you look back everything is different?" Our literature teacher gave us this as a prompt for a class discussion. After some debate, the general consensus was that this was true.

Personally, however, I have to disagree; this...

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Helping After the Great East Japan Earthquake: When Money May Not Be Enough

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 5:00 PM

"I want to do something," my friend told me. "I just don't know what." It was a cold, rainy Tokyo afternoon, and we were passing by a young, enthusiastic man in the street who was asking for donations to Tohoku. It had been about six months since 3/11, the magnitude...

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Tragedy on the Roof of the World

(8) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 7:36 AM

Fire. We're surrounded by it every day, whether it's the house fire a couple of blocks over, the cozy fire in the fireplace, or the romantic candles burning in the café down the street. Self-immolation, on the other hand, is a different kind of fire. It's the ultimate statement, albeit...

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