Expert Speakers

These expert resources on Buddhism, Tibet and related topics are available to the campus and community as we educate ourselves in anticipation of the historic visit by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Please check back as the list will continue to develop.

Culture and Travel

Kristi Marchesani, assistant director of admissions/international relations
Between recruitment trips and personal travel, Marchesani has visited 70 countries, including Tibet. She recruits international students to attend UNI, and works closely with The Tibet Fund to bring Tibetan students to UNI.

Joyce Spande, music teacher, world traveler and UNI alumna (master's in music in vocal performance)
Expertise in culture and music of India. Spande was a Fulbright-Hays scholar/teacher to India in 2004 and has traveled to Lhasa, Tibet, in addition to other locations throughout the world

Mike and Tselha Williams
Mike Williams -- academic support specialist for Culture and Intensive English Program
Tselha Williams -- teacher at East High School (Waterloo) and UNI alumna (master's in TESOL)
While working in China in the 1990s, Mike visited the Amdo region of Tibet, which is the birthplace of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Mike and his wife, Tselha, who is Tibetan, have visited her family in Tibetan refugee settlements in India over the last several years. 

History and Politics

Dhirendra Vajpeyi, professor of political science
Expertise in South Asia politics, particularly India-China politics and Buddhism. 


Radhi Al-Mabuk, interim department head and professor of educational psychology & foundations
Expertise and experience in peace education.


Elana Joram, professor of educational psychology & foundations
Student of Tibetan Buddhism. Can speak to her experiences studying the religion of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

James Robinson, professor of religion
319-273-2507, (most accessible via e-mail)
Specialist in Tibetan Buddhism. In his doctoral program, Robinson studied with Geshe Lhundup Sopa, who also was a teacher of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Additional expertise in Asian religions and the history of religions.