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Letters Home: Naj Wikoff in Ulan Ude, Russia

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Building the stupa
Building the stupa

Building A Buddhist Stupa on the Russian Steppe

Naj Wikoff from Keene Valley is spending a year in Ulan Udea, in Russia's Lake Baikal region, developing arts programs at a government hospital. He's has been keeping an on-line journal on NCPR's website and sending occasional audio diaries. This week, Naj describes a village's effort to rebuild a sacred Buddhist shrine, called a stupa, in a small village on the edge of Siberia. Buddhists were persecuted during by the communist regime, especially during the Stalin era in the 1950s. But over the last decade, the religion has experienced a renaissance. The new stupa will serve as a place of worship and pilgrimage to honor the 12th reincarnation of the Khambo Lama.  Go to full article
A misty bay on Lake Baikal

Audio Diary: From Keene Valley to Lake Baikal

Naj Wikoff, from Keene Valley, is spending eight months in Ulan Ade, in the Lake Baikal region of eastern Russia. Since August, Naj has been keeping a web-diary of his journey here at NCPR.org. He's described his travels and his work as a Fulbright scholar, a teacher and artist at the East Siberian Academy of Culture. This morning, Naj sends this audio diary of his journey across Russia and his first encounter with Lake Baikal and its people.

Naj's audio diary was produced by Brian Mann with web production by Dale Hobson.  Go to full article

CONTENTS:

  1. Baikal--An Interlude 8/15/05
  2. A Stupa for the Lama 8/18/25
  3. Getting To (and From) Orlik 8/25/05
  4. Miracle on Grass 9/10/05
  5. Painting A Hospital 9/13/05
  6. Fishing, Fires, and Toasts 9/13/05
  7. A Gate to God 9/18/05
  8. Any Questions? 9/20/05
  9. What Does Interstate Mean? 10/1-4/05
  10. Two Lamas, One Spirit: Pandito Khambo Lama Itigelov 10/8/05
  11. Pandito Khambo Lama Itigelov's Most Precious Body 10/8/05
  12. My Introduction to Russian Healthcare 10/22/05
  13. Traveling in Buryatia 10/22/05
  14. Two Weddings; Traditional Russian, Traditional Buryat 11/3/05
  15. Friendship Holiday 11/5/05
  16. Dressing for Winter 11/21/05
  17. Thanksgiving in Buryatia 11/29/05
  18. Dan--Why are You Here? 12/4/05
  19. We Don't Believe You 12/14/05
  20. I've never been served vodka in a hospital before 12/14/05
  21. Skiing in Siberia 12/19/05
  22. Arts in Healthcare Activities in Eastern Siberia 12/21/05
  23. Translating English into Russian 12/29/05
  24. The Russian Variant 1/3/06
  25. Curing the Common Cold 1/18/06
  26. Christmas and New Years 1/18/06
  27. Adopting a Child from Siberia 1/21/06
  28. Kemerovo: Land of a Good Governor 1/26/06
  29. My Third New Year's 2/4/06
  30. Moscow: People Making a Difference 2/4/06
  31. Launching Sagaalgan: The Festival of the White Moon 2/14/06
  32. Don't Fly United 2/14/06
  33. At the Native People's Games 2/24/06
  34. Tea 3/20/06
  35. Finding Artist's Supplies 3/20/06
  36. Painting the Polyclinic 3/20/06
  37. Visiting Vladivostok 4/3/06
  38. Renovating Ulan Ude Children's Hospital No 2 4/10/06
  39. They Want to See Your Art, 4/11/06
  40. Republic Children's Hospital, We Are Finished, 4/16/06

Naj Wikoff of Keene Valley is on a six-month Fulbright Scholarship to Russia, working out of Ulan Ude, near Lake Baikal. He will teach arts management at the East Siberian Academy of Culture, help develop arts programs in area hospitals, work with local government on arts & culture planning, and work with Institute of Pandito Khambo Lama Itigeliv, the 12th Khambo Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Naj's visit is a follow-up to the Siberian-Adirondack exchanges sponsored by the Totem Peoples project, directed by Dan Plumley of Keene.

Naj, a 7th generation Adirondacker, has served the past five years as the president of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, and for the past twelve years as the director of Arts & Healing, C. Everett Koop Institute, Dartmouth Medical School. He was a cofounder and first director of the Lake Placid Film Forum-Adirondack Film Society, the founder-executive director of the Lake Placid Institute for the Arts & Humanities, a cofounder of the Adirondack Center for Writing, Vice-Chair of the National Fine Arts Committee of the 13th winter Olympics, Director of Arts & Productions for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in NYC, arts coordinator of the Global Forum of Parliamentary & Spiritual Leaders, and cofounder of the Lake Placid School of the Arts.

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