RC’s closing statement for launch of Bhutan Dialogues online portals

“I am confident that the younger generation will serve the country by not just showing up to work but working with innovation and dynamism; by not just doing business but creating new types of businesses and services; by not just saying they love the country but showing it in action and deed and; by not just speaking of Gross National happiness but showing how to implement it.” – His Majesty the King


  • Honorable Minister for Health, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, Honorable Minister for Education, Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai, distinguished guests, former ambassador of Bhutan to the UN, members of the UNCT, colleagues from the Civil Service, CSO community, the media and UN agencies.

Welcome to your UN House.

  • On behalf of the Loden Foundation and the United Nations in Bhutan, I would like to thank the Honorable Ministers, and everyone present here today for joining in the Launch.
  • In addition to launching the 14 sessions of Bhutan Dialogues on 14 Feb, Valentine’s Day, we are also making the podcasts of 14 sessions available online. In this way they can continue to be used by educational institutions and citizens across the country.

Bhutan Dialogues as a platform for learning

  • Here in Bhutan we understand the importance of how mindsets influence development. Whether we are speaking of the influence of the late King Bhumibol in Thailand’s or of the dedication and foresightedness of the Dragon Kings of Bhutan.
  • Practical mindsets provide practical inspiration.
  • The past 14 sessions of Bhutan Dialogues have been a learning experience to over 600 participants from all walks of life …. Approx 60% youth….Bhutan Dialogues allows us older development practitioners to upgrade our skills because development itself …true for development practitioners and likely also true for our colleagues in the media….we are all pursuing life long learning.
  • And through this launch of the website, we wish to make this yet another opportunity for educational institutions of Bhutan enhance their learning. Being based in Thimphu allows us a great opportunity to support the institutions that are in the valley and now through the website, we are extending our reach out to all of the academic institutions of Bhutan….
  • When it comes to development, we at the UN are guided by the SDGs and Gross National Happiness. In this regard we are guided by his Majesty and his advice that it is not enough to speak of Gross National happiness but show how to implement it.”
  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals- which is the only agreed roadmap by 193 countries for the planet has been mainstreamed into Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan. Again we are fortunate there is a huge collaboration between the Values of this country and the values of the UN.

 Flashbacks from previous sessions

  • Recently I met a colleague who asked me what Loden and the UN wish to achieve in Bhutan Dialogues and I responded with
    • My friend then said is there more?
  • Give young people, civil servants, CSO colleagues, media and UN colleagues the opportunity to network together over moma’s and tea
    • My friend then said is there more?
  • I hope there will be moments where deep insights are wrapped within pure poetry.
    • My friend then said is there more?
  • Take good ideas and apply them in my own life?…
  • I hope there are opportunities for a laugh…
    • Karma and Om Dorji …but I’ll tell you that story towards the end!!

Its unfair to try to do justice to 14 great Bhutan Dialogues but let me at least give you an appetizer! So you might be enticed to listen to the full session when you have time on our hands.

Dasho Kinley Dorji

  • Young people should not go into a career in media solely for the salary or glamour or for the sake of having a job. You should have a responsibility to know what is journalism and to know what you’re doing.

Aum Dorji Ohm, YDF

  • Her thinking shook me up in a few areas:
    • The challenges among the youth are diverse and that we are to be blamed for bringing about these challenges. She apologized to all the young people and said we are sorry for bringing those challenges to them and calling the youth the problem. She said as parents we are all to be blamed because we made life too comfortable for our children.
    • Vegetarianism
      • To Cleanse one’s energy
      • To be healthy, one’s energy has to be healthy
      • Meat contains pain energy from the life that was taken

Aum Pema Lhamo, of Bhutan Transparency

Conduct yourself with integrity. Be subject to accountability. Be Transparent

Gem from Asian Development Bank

Be Consistent,     Don’t skip your work

Everyday is a routine—Get up in morning, Yoga, Prayer

Incremental growth    Believe in positive change

These things can get you anywhere.

Aum Chime P. Wangdi, of Tarayana

Good fortune follows hard work.

Work smart, be mentally alert

Be disciplined

Be different, think differently but should be able to agree to disagree

Validate your own feelings and articulate and say it out loud

Aum Damchae Dem, of BAOWE


Aspiring practitioner

Happiness of others

Hendrik Visser of BARC

Take risks

Plan it to do it

Plan what you are going to do next week also important to plan what you are going to do right now

Francoise Pommaret

Hard work

A need to always learn more

Discipline in self and work

Dr Chencho Dorji, Bhutan’s first modern psychiatrist

Avoid perfectionist tendencies

  • Don’t waste time gossiping
  • Choose non-fiction media over fiction to appreciate the potential of people
  • Chencho Dorji, opened my eyes when he defined our culture as a ‘don’t’ culture. He said parents always say, ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ and our children has become so inhibited because they don’t know what exactly is the ‘do.’ This to me is a nation that His Majesty envisages. A nation of doing.

Yoichiro Ishihara, of the World Bank’s 

Always think how you can get the best performance out of yourself

He also spoke to the value of discipline

Siok Sian Pek-Dorji,  of Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy

  • Aum Siok Sian Pek-Dorji called the Bhutan Dialogues a safe space to share aspirations on what we hope to do and make people think who they are and what they are about. That the reason for such dialogues is to create a space where citizens can come together, explore questions, disagree and figure out why we are here, what our issues are and what are we going to do about it.

Daniel Spitzer, of Mountain Hazelnuts,

Mental wellbeing

  • Avoid negative thoughts

Think of attributes you want to have

  • What you want to be
  • What you want to have
  • What would make you happy

Dorji Dhradhul, currently the Dzongda (Governer) of Gasa Dzongkhag

Also shook me at a personal level and his commitment to equality within his immediate home

  • Simple rituals and prayers

Juergen Nagler,       of UNDP Bhutan

Curiosity and Introspect

  • Look for root causes
  • Look inwards for solution

Internet-free Sundays


  • And now the funny story…it was that moment in time when the interviewer and interviewee changed positions….personal matter…skillfulness…honesty
  • I would like to thank Honorable Minister and all our distinguished guests for joining us today.
  • In order to make the most of this visit to UN Bhutan, one of our Colleagues, Tshering Dema will be doing a tour of what makes this UN House not only a UN House, but also a GREEN UN house…if you are interested, please join that specially lined up tour.
  • I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our past 14 speakers for giving us 14 successful and well received sessions of Bhutan Dialogues.
  • Thank you, colleagues, from Loden Foundation and from my own office. Your hard work is much appreciated.
  • I’d like to thank colleagues from the UNCT for your continuous support to this endeavor in strengthening the civic space here in Bhutan.
  • I would like to also take this opportunity to thank Dr. Karma Phuntsho who has been the core element to making Bhutan Dialogues a success.
  • On behalf of the Loden Foundation and the UN in Bhutan, I would like to extend our invitation to you to come and be part of future Bhutan Dialogues learning experiences.
  • Normally I speak before Dr. Karma and he has the opportunity to WRAP OUR Bhutan Dialogue with a Bhutanese of Buddhist gem of wisdom…Given that earlier this week in his weekly column in the Kuensel he was speaking of Chorrhul Dawa, I trust he will close our speaking section of today with something that could ring in the hearts of both Guru Rinpoche and the Shabdrung.


Thank you and Kadrinche..

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