img_5242edit-cropInterim Director, Carolina Asia Center
Office: GEC 3107
Phone: 919.843.9065



Thupten Norbu is the Associate Director and 2016-17 Interim Director of the Carolina Asia Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His duties include strategic planning, program development, operation and management of the Center.

He oversees the Department of Education’s Title VI grant by designing and managing all grant projects and programs, developing evaluation methodology, overseeing budgets, and writing reports for submission to the Department of Education. He also serves as the Center’s Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Coordinator and the Outreach Director. Previously, Norbu worked at The Asia Foundation’s headquarters in San Francisco, where he provided support to its 18 country offices to develop proposals for bilateral and multilateral funders to carry out international development programs. He has conducted temporary duty assignments in Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. Born and raised partly in the foot hills of the Himalayas in Sikkim in India, he is very familiar with the Himalayan region and South Asia. Prior to joining the Center, he worked at the Duke Center on Globalization and Governance (CGGC), conducting research on industries using global value chains framework.

Norbu obtained his Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, where he was also a recipient of the FLAS fellowship. While at Duke, he served as a member of the Board of Visitors at the Sanford School of Public Policy, a class representative and a graduation speaker. As a Davis United World College scholar, Norbu obtained a BA in human ecology with a focus on sustainable development from the College of the Atlantic in Maine, and a certificate in development project management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. He speaks Tibetan, Bhutia, Hindi/Urdu and Nepali.