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The Social Worker for the Blind: Sabriye Tenberken, Rosemary Mahoney, and Sabine Kastner


Saturday, January 25, 2014
7:30 PM–9:00 PM

This program will also include an optional pre-program touch tour at 6:45 pm of the exhibition Count Your Blessings: The Art of Prayer Beads in Asia.
Rosemary Mahoney has just written a new book For the Benefit of Those Who See, inspired by her encounters with the pioneering founder of Braille without Borders in Tibet, Sabriye Tenberken. They are joined by Princeton neuropsychologist Sabine Kastner to investigate the mindset of those who are able to adapt to being without one of the five senses most of us regard as essential.

About the Speakers

Sabriye Tenberken was born in Cologne, Germany. At age 12, she became blind. She studied Central Asian Sciences at Bonn University, specializing in Mongolian and modern Chinese as well as modern and classical Tibetan in combination with sociology and philosophy. As no blind student had ever before enrolled in these kind of studies, she could not fall back on the experiences of anyone else and had to develop her own methods in order to follow her course of studies. In this manner, she developed the Tibetan Braille Script. Sabriye initiated the project for the blind in Tibet and is the co-founder and co-director of Braille Without Borders. Her experiences are stirringly documented in her three books: My path leads to Tibet, Tashis neue Welt (Tashi’s New World) and Das siebte Jahr (The Seventh Year). The first tells the history of the Tibetan Braille project and about the way Sabriye dealt with becoming blind. The book has been published in 12 languages (English version: Arcade Publishing house, New York). The second depicts Tibet through the photographs of a blind boy, and her latest book tells the story of Sabriye and her colleague Paul Kronenberg’s seventh year in Tibet.
Sabine Kastner is a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at Princeton University, where she directs the neuroimaging facility and the Neuroscience of Attention and Perception Laboratory. She earned an M.D. (1993) and Ph.D. (1994) degree and received postdoctoral training before joining Princeton’s faculty in 2000. Dr Kastner studies the neural basis of visual perception, attention, and awareness in healthy humans, patients with brain lesions and animal models and has published more than 100 articles in journals and books. Dr Kastner’s contributions to the field of cognitive neuroscience were recognized with the Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in 2005.