Jeffrey Hopkins

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Jeffrey Hopkins

"For more than three decades (1973-present), Jeffrey Hopkins has been one of the most brilliant lights in UVa’s scholarly pantheon. He founded the Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies programs at UVa, which have grown into world-famous programs in which he personally directed eighteen completed doctorates and thirty-one masters. Hopkins directed the Center for South Asian Studies at UVa for twelve years (1979-82, 1985-94). His great contributions to the University administration were capped by his organizing and directing the “Nobel Peace Laureates Conference: Human Rights, Conflict, and Reconciliation” presented by the Institute for Asian Democracy and the University of Virginia on November 5 and 6, 1998, at the University of Virginia (conference website: This involved nine Nobel Peace Laureates gathering at UVa for an event that garnered international recognition. He was president of the Institute for Asian Democracy, Washington, D.C., from 1994-2000, has testified on multiple occasions before various US Senate and House Committees, and is famed for his work as an official interpreter of the Dalai Lama from 1979 to 1996 during foreign tours. Outside of the University, Hopkins has been one of the most famous scholars of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the world. His scholarly output is astonishing: thirty-four books including research monographs, language textbooks, translations, and popular books. Their global popularity is indicated by their translation into twenty-two languages worldwide including Czech, Swedish, Japanese, Thai, Croatian, Greek, and other more common languages. In his publications and through his students, Hopkins has been arguably the most important scholar in effecting the shift of Tibetan Studies, a relatively young field, to a focus on in-depth language mastery, on Tibetan cultural achievements in their own right rather than as ancillary to India, and on the need for careful and systematic study of Tibetan intellectual systems in their own terms. His achievements have been recognized in his appointment as the Yehan Numata Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hawaii, as Distinguished Visiting Professor, Religious Studies, at the University of British Columbia, and as a Fulbright-Hays fellow in 2002-3." [1]

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  1. Three Decades and Eighteen PhDs, Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, accessed September 24, 2007.