An inter­view with

John Bray

Pos­i­tion & Affil­i­ation: Inde­pend­ent Research­er, former Pres­id­ent of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­ation for Ladakh Studies
Date: Novem­ber 22, 2018 in Bonn, Germany
Inter­viewed by: Anna Sehnalova

Cite this archive

Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. (2021, Decem­ber 2). An inter­view with John Bray. Retrieved 31 Janu­ary 2023, from
“An inter­view with John Bray.” Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies, 2 Dec. 2021,
Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. 2021. An inter­view with John Bray. [online], Avail­able at: [Accessed 31 Janu­ary 2023]
Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. “An inter­view with John Bray.” 2021, Decem­ber 2.

Dis­claim­er: The views and opin­ions expressed in this inter­view are those of the inter­viewee and do not neces­sar­ily rep­res­ent the offi­cial pos­i­tion of the Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies project.


Additional info

After study­ing His­tory at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity, I spent two years teach­ing in India, first at a school for Tibetan refugees near Dehra Dun and then in Ladakh. On return­ing to the UK, I embarked on a career as a busi­ness risk con­sult­ant, and I now live in Singa­pore. In my con­sultancy work, I focus on polit­ic­al risk, anti-cor­rup­­tion, and busi­ness and human rights. At the same time, I have developed a par­al­lel career as an inde­pend­ent schol­ar work­ing on the his­tory of Ladakh, Tibet and the Him­alay­an bor­der regions.

I used to think of my two careers as entirely sep­ar­ate fields of activ­ity. Recently, I have become more alert to com­mon themes. Since child­hood I have loved his­tory: old build­ings, old doc­u­ments and the per­son­al remin­is­cences of rel­at­ives and friends. At Cam­bridge I stud­ied the his­tory of Europe’s rela­tions with Asia and Africa. Now I am based in Singa­pore, after 12 years in Japan, and I am con­stantly reminded that my own life is part of this still-unfold­ing engage­ment between dif­fer­ent cul­tures and regions.

In both fields of enquiry I am excited by grand themes: inter-con­­nec­­tions between East and West; Chris­tian­ity and Buddhism; human rights. At the same time, I find myself com­ing back again and again to the lives of indi­vidu­als, learn­ing how they nav­ig­ate the pres­sures and oppor­tun­it­ies of the times in which they live.


© Taken from John Bray’s page