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Our September 2019 Event. Gabriella Ferenczi: My journey through the Himalayas. Why ancient wisdom and customs matter in the modern world

In September, we tried and tested a new location in the City close to Bank station: we gathered in a very nice French brasserie where the attendees listened to Gabriella Ferenczi’s short talk titled “My journey through the Himalayas. Why ancient wisdom and customs matter in the modern world”, followed by drinks, snacks and great conversations well into the evening.

After a speaker had to pull out and it proved to be difficult to secure another speaker at short notice, Gabriella, host and organiser of these events decided to step in and save the day.

Still processing an eye-opening journey she recently returned from, she shared some key moments of insights from her August travels across the Himalaya, with a goal to inspire the audience to discover a deeper appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, expressed by culture and language.

Gabriella brought along photographs to support her talk that was inspired by Canadian anthropologist, filmmaker and photographer, National Geographic explorer-in-residence Wade Davis’ book The Wayfinders. Why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world.

She talked about ancient customs and traditions in Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley, where death is celebrated as part of life. She also mentioned the physical challenges of developing a severe altitude sickness upon reaching Tibet and the higher Himalayas where the mountain air is extremely thin. And then she talked about the redemptive spirit of the people in Tibet and their wonderfully rich spiritual life, despite all the odds they face.

Gabriella finished her talk with a powerful reminder from Mexican poet and diplomat Octavio Paz:

“Every view of the world that becomes extinct, every culture that disappears, diminishes a possibility of life.”

Octavio Paz

We also addressed a few linguistic nuggets such as the origin of the words mandala, Mount Everest -Sagarmatha in Nepali, Chomolungma in Tibetan, and Gabriella talked about the founder of Tibetology, Sandor Csoma de Koros from Transilvania (then part of Hungary), who complied the first English-Tibetan dictionary in 1834.

We then continued the conversation on endangered cultures and languages, world wars and colonialism, cultural dominance and politics, and enjoyed the company of fellow language professionals.

In fact, we got so into it and had such a good time that Gabriella completely forgot to take pictures – the two photos you can actually see here were taken by a kind attendee – thank you Viktor!

Thank you for all who expressed their interest and support, and those who attended, we’ll be back next month.


About the speaker: 

Gabriella Ferenczi is a German and Hungarian language teacher, founder of ProLingua Global, a London-based language training company. She is a linguist, language and culture enthusiast, a published author, and she’s also the organiser of Language Professionals’ Networking Event.

To reach out to her, you may want to visit her personal website

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