Tashi Rabgey

Tashi Rabgey is a Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. From 2008-11, she was a Lecturer in Contemporary Tibetan Studies at the University of Virginia, as well as co-director of the UVa Tibet Center.  She is a specialist in Sino-Tibetan affairs and has taught comparative politics and global development studies. She holds a PhD from Harvard University, as well as law degrees from Oxford and Cambridge where she studied as a Rhodes scholar. She is currently a Fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on US-China Relations.  She is also cofounder of Machik, a nonprofit organization that works to empower communities in Tibet.


Ph.D. Harvard University (Dissertation:  “Specters of China:  Tibetan Legal Recognition and the Politics of Sovereignty in Post-Democratization Taiwan”), LL.M. University of Cambridge (International Law), MA Juris University of Oxford (Law), BA University of Toronto (Economics and International Relations)


  • Ethnic Pluralism and Autonomy in China (PLCP4500 – Politics)
  • Development and Social Change in Tibet (EALC4559 – East Asian Studies)
  • Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Tibet (GDS3559 – Global Development Studies)
  • Tibetan Education and Law Clinic (Co-Instructor, Faculty of Law)

Research Interests

  • Law, governance and institutional change
  • Theories of sovereignty, constitutionalism and minorities
  • Citizenship, agency and the state
  • Institutional analysis and policy process in Tibet
  • Education, bilingualism and language protection
  • See Connections


  • Director, Tibetan Education and Language Policy Initiative (2009-2010).  Convened international scholars as well as researchers from the Chinese State Council for an international symposium on Tibetan Education and Language Policy at the University of Virginia.  Currently developing academic and research opportunities for scholars of Tibetan language and education policy from the Tibetan region.
  • Director, Tibetan Social Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative (SBI), a joint UVa TSGP-Machik year-long initiative (2009-10) that included the Social Business and Entrepreneurship conference at the UVa Darden School of Business (April 10-11) and a unique Tibetan Social Business Forum in Dartsedo, Ganzi Prefecture (July 17-18), in partnership with the Kangding Chamber of Commerce.  SBI produced the first-ever trilingual (English-Tibetan-Chinese) Social Business Lexicon
  • Codirector, Geotourism Initiative, a multiyear joint UVa-Machik project to develop community-based approaches to sustainable tourism in Tibet. Activities included training workshops for local Tibetan communities, capacity building opportunities for Tibetan business leaders, and policy planning research and discussions with tourism officials in the TAR and across eastern Tibet
  • Cofounder and strategic director of Machik, a nonprofit organization that develops opportunities for education and capacity-building for communities on the Tibetan plateau
  • Cofounder of the Chungba School, an award-winning experimental community-based combined primary and middle school in Litang County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The Chungba School is a model rural school in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture that emphasizes Tibetan language use
  • Cofounder, Tibetan Summer Enrichment Program (SEP), unique annual four-week summer learning initiative for underprivileged Tibetan youth from across the Tibetan plateau.  First established in the summer 2003, the SEP is now held in Chengdu and hosts scholars and community leaders from across the Tibetan region and around the world as guest speakers