If Tibet's mist-veiled altitudes have hitherto remained inaccessible to many, this autonomous Chinese region has now disclosed itself to Tibetologists and interested laymen alike at an easily accessible place like Rome.
Two days of presentation by participants from Australia, Austria, Belgium, India, Italy, Spain, the United States as well as China have offered data-based insight with due perspective into unveiling some of Tibet's mysteries.
This year coincided with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform in Tibet.
The 400 participants of the Rome Forum on Tibet easily converted the figures provided by a senior Tibet Autonomous Region official to an over 97-fold increase of annual per-capita income to 13,790.92 RMB yuan or 2,028 U.S. dollars in his region between now and then.
With a greatly improved livelihood, the average life expectancy had almost doubled from 35.5 years to 67, according to Tibet Autonomous Region Vice President Duotuo, who himself is a Tibetan.
Before 1951, there was no regular school in Tibet. Now, it has 1,017 regular schools plus 1,110 regular teaching sites (for nomads) with a total enrollment of 550,000 students in various grades.
Juan Ignacio Preciado, a Tibetologist from Spain, agreed with Duotuo's summary of the changes in Tibet. He described the changes in Tibet's social system and ensuing economic construction as "very rapid, astonishing and remarkable."