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Staying Connected to Bhutan Spring 2011


President’s Letter

Board of Directors Honorary Patron

Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, the Royal Grandmother of Bhutan Co-Chair Persons

Her Majesty Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck, the Queen Mother of Bhutan Hon. Frank G. Wisner President

Dr. Bruce W. Bunting Vice President

Mrs. Lisina M. Hoch Secretary

Mr. Michael J. Mars Treasurer

Mr. Brian J. Menkes Members

Ms. Sharon Chang Mr. Marcos de Moraes Dr. Peggy Dulany Mrs. Lucy Goelet Mrs. Joy B. Greenway Mr. Edward R. Pope Mr. Sonam Tobgay Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk Mrs. Sukey N. Wagner Hon. Timothy E. Wirth

First, we would like to thank you on behalf of all the people in Bhutan whose lives and communities you have touched through your support of the Bhutan Foundation. We celebrate this year the 25th anniversary of the Foundation. It was in March 1986 that three long time friends of the Kingdom decided to form the organization: John Goelet, Lisina Hoch, and Lyonpo Om Pradhan. We are extremely fortunate that all three of our founders continue to be actively involved, and their expertise and interest are valuable resources to our staff. Our early projects focused mostly in the fields of agriculture, education and health. However, in 2006 the decision was made to expand the scope of the Foundation’s programs. Now, in 2011, I am pleased to say that we have made considerable progress in efforts to support Bhutan’s goals of conserving its environment, ensuring good governance, preserving its culture, and pursuing a path of equitable and sustainable development. In this newsletter, you will read about the progress we and our partners are making in critical areas such as:

• Emergency medicine. We are working with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative to expand training of Bhutanese doctors and nurses in emergency medicine in district hospitals across Bhutan.

• Endangered wildlife populations. We are supporting the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment and the Staff of Royal Manas National Park - Bhutan’s first national park - to census wildlife populations. • Cultural sites. Working with the Ministry of Home and Culture we have started the reconstruction of historically important cultural sites damaged by the 2009 earthquake in Bhutan. • Enhanced education. We are providing access to education for all by donating computers and software to the Drukgyel Deaf School and providing for special education programs at eight pilot schools across Bhutan.

We believe it is of vital importance to the success of our programs that we work in close collaboration with our partner organizations in Bhutan, both governmental and non-governmental, by empowering them to achieve their goals to make their country one of the most progressive societies built on democratic principles. Today we are working with 15 partner organizations implementing close to 50 projects. We remain deeply grateful for the support you have shown for the Bhutan Foundation, and for continuing to assure that the important work we do in Bhutan makes a real difference in the daily lives of the Bhutanese people.

From everyone at the Bhutan Foundation, Sincerely,

Dr. Bruce W. Bunting President




Upcoming Climate Change Bike Ride

Potential Collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution (SI) is a renowned museum and research complex in the United States with worldwide experience in research and conservation. Bhutan successfully collaborated with the SI in organizing the Bhutan exhibit at the annual Folk Life Festival in 2008 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. In January 2011, Nawang Norbu, Director of UWICE, and Dr. Bruce Bunting and Tshewang Wangchuk, both of the Bhutan Foundation, met with senior professionals from various units of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC to explore mutually beneficial areas of collaboration. Four areas were identified: establishing a natural history unit at UWICE; building the capacity of the Institute’s conservation genetics laboratory; training in wildlife monitoring; and collaboration in setting

up long-term research and monitoring forests, based on Bhutan’s needs and the vast extent of experience at the Smithsonian. The National Zoo in Washington, DC is also part of the Smithsonian. Officials of the zoo have expressed a strong interest in housing an exhibit on the takin, the national animal of Bhutan, at the zoo. Discussions on all these projects continue, and the Bhutan Foundation is very excited at the vast potential this mutually beneficial collaboration would provide for Bhutan and the Smithsonian, especially in building capacity for conservation in Bhutan, and sharing knowledge of Bhutan in the United States.

We are organizing an exciting program for approximately fifteen Bhutanese and American high school students to take a two week bike ride (July 2–15) from Bumthang to Thimphu during which they will learn from several different perspectives, the impact of climate change on Bhutan’s environment, agriculture, and hydropower. As they cross Bhutan on their bikes, they will meet with farmers, scholars, monks, engineers, and conservationists who will share their experiences and expert opinions with the young riders. Several Bhutanese travel agencies and hotels have pledged their support to the program. The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) has collaborated with the Bhutan Foundation in organizing this event. The students will maintain a blog on their experiences throughout the trip, and the ride will also be featured on the National Geographic website. At the end of the trip, the students will prepare a statement to be presented to the leaders of the four countries who will convene in Bhutan for the Climate Change Summit for a Living Himalayas in October. Further, after the trip, the students will identify three local projects that they will implement This will prove to be an exciting educational, cultural, and recreational experience for this group of students. We urge you to follow their ride at Remember the dates of the ride are July 2–15.



Monitoring Big Cats in Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park The Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) lies in the south of the kingdom, covering over 1000 km2. In 1966 it was declared a wildlife sanctuary by the government and became Bhutan’s first protected area. Over 45 species of mammals and 360 species of birds have been identified in RMNP. In addition to large cats such as tigers and leopards, there are at least five other species of wild cats, making it one of the richest areas on the planet for wild cat diversity. The Bhutan Foundation has supported the tiger and other wildlife monitoring program implemented by UWICE and RMNP which provides fascinating insights into the lives of these animals and many other wildlife species. We will continue to support the conservation of this magnificent park through long-term monitoring and protection.




Saving Lives Through the HVO Program It can be difficult to measure results of the direct impact of large-scale programs such as the Emergency Medical Services program, and then translate the results in lay terms that are easily understandable to non-medically trained individuals. However, there are personal success stories that demonstrate how the training provided through the program saves lives. Such stories are heartwarming and reassure us that we have indeed made a real and positive difference for medical advancement in Bhutan. We would like to share one story which was told to us by one of our Bhutan Foundation Health Volunteer Overseas Emergency Physicians. In the physician’s own words: Two Bhutanese General Physicians were working at the National Hospital in Thimphu on an evening shift. I had been practicing intubations with them on a dead

patient we had in the Emergency Department the other day and I was quizzing one of the doctors on Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Then the next evening they had a patient with witnessed cardiac arrest in the Emergency Department. The same Bhutanese General Physician was on duty and shocked the patient 3 times. He was able to quickly look up management guidelines for the patient using the ACLS poster developed by the previous HVO volunteer doctor. Meanwhile the other General Physician intubated the patient. As a result, the patient was saved and sent to the Intensive Care Unit! The Bhutanese General Physicians believe this was the first ventricular fibrillation arrest survival by a Bhutanese General Physician that he is aware of and was very proud. They both were walking on water and came by to express their gratitude for all the Bhutan Foundation HVO trainings.

Bhutan’s District Hospitals Receive Training In Emergency Medicine The Bhutan Foundation, in partnership with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and the Ministry of Health conducted two regional workshops on emergency medicine for doctors and nurses in Thimphu and Gelephu. The focus of the training workshops was on conditions commonly seen and easily treatable at the District Hospital level, and on conditions where critical, timely interventions can make dramatic differences in patient outcomes.



Establishing Bhutan’s First Trauma Registry

Our Focus on Children with Special Needs Continues In July 2010, the second Special Education Conference ‘All Children Can Learn’ was conducted by the Ministry of Education, Bhutan Youth Development Fund, and the Bhutan Foundation in Bumthang. Members of the US Special Education Advisory Committee facilitated the conference. The conference which was attended by 80 participants from the 8 pilot schools and government officials, discussed strategies for further establishing programs, which would cater to students with different learning needs. The specialists also spent time at Changangkha Lower Secondary School in Thimphu, which was one of the first pilot schools and identified as the lead school to serve as a model for the 7 other schools. Focus was given to identification and remediation for students with special needs. At Changangkha LSS, a sports program and art class are now given to the special needs students three days a week at the Nazhoen Pelri Youth Center by the Youth Development Fund. Changangkha LSS will also receive further Literacy Training, facilitated by a


US Specialist in April 2011. The first Special Education Stakeholders Workshop was also held July 2010 for 2 days in Thimphu. All organizations and government officials working with special needs met to discuss national policy and develop strategies for collaboration to make Special Education sustainable in Bhutan. Mr. Ruedi Laager, who supports the Special Education Program along with his wife Mrs. Alix Laager, visited Bhutan in the fall of 2010 to meet with relevant stakeholders involved in supporting the program. Mr. Laager also visited two of the pilot schools, Drukgyel School in Paro and the Changangkha School in Thimphu to check on developments of the program and hear about the needs to further improve it. The Special Education project which has completed its successful third year is now in the process of developing its next master plan which will lay out the focus and strategies of the program from 2011 to 2013.


Our emergency medical services program with the Ministry of Health continues, and has resulted in a very significant medical service. We have established Bhutan’s first Trauma Registry at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu. A Trauma Registry is important for hospitals as it generates information for evaluations of outcomes, helps analyze data to optimize resource utilizations and supports performance improvement for trauma care, specifically, and health care in general. Two consultants, Mr. Nick Manice and Mr. Taylor Nelp, worked to set up the pilot Trauma Registry from June to September 2010. They were under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Morris from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Dr. Katherine Morley, a Bhutan Foundation Health Adviser, and Dr. Tashi Tenzin, head of the Emergency Department at the Hospital. Starting in September 2010, nurses and doctors at the National Hospital began to fill out the Trauma Registry forms for all emergency patients. The forms are then entered into an Access database by the Hospital’s Medical Records Division. As a follow-up, in March 2011, Ms. Sandra Strack-Arabian, an experienced Trauma Registrar from Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts, introduced a web-based Trauma Registry. Clinical Data Management, Inc has generously offered the web-based software free of cost to Bhutan’s Ministry of Health. The Trauma Registry is a very significant step in expanding health care in Bhutan.

Building Resource Center in Gasa With the support from the William H. Donner Foundation, The Bhutan Foundation has teamed up with READ Bhutan (Rural Education and Development) to establish a resource center in Gasa Dzongkhag. READ centers are built in remote areas and provide resources and services tailored to local needs. In addition to providing educational resources and access to informational technology, the center will function as a non-formal education center for adults in the area. The center will also house a women’s center, designed to be a place where local women can come together and discuss common issues and receive basic training on topics such as health and finance. To keep the center operational, a seed grant will be provided by the Bhutan Foundation and READ Bhutan to set up a community-owned business which will donate part of its revenue to the center. This activity is currently in the initial phase of its implementation.

Helping Farmers Bring Their Produce to the Market With support from the Bhutan Foundation, a joint project is being developed by the Bhutan Agro Industries and the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives to help make it easier for farmers to transport their fruits to the market. Langthel gewog in Tronsga and Panbang gewog in Zhemgang are both rich in fruits such as mandarin oranges, mangoes, and peaches. However, both communities are a long distance from commercial centers, and as a result a significant share of the fruit harvests spoils in transport by the time they reach larger towns.

By setting up a collection stall in Langthel and assisting farmers from Panbang to transport their fruits to an underutilized fruit processing plant in Goling, this project will generate greater revenue for the farmers in this region. Fruit pulping allows a greater volume of fruits to be transported to the Bhutan Agro plant in Thimphu leading to greater efficiency and significantly less spoilage while also saving farmers extra transportation costs. The project is expected to be fully operational by summer 2011, in time for the orange season.



Restoring Wangduechholing Palace, the Birthplace of Bhutan’s Monarchy The Bhutan Foundation in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan, Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites of the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, are seeking financial assistance for the restoration of Wangduechhoeling Palace, a structure of great importance to modern Bhutanese culture and history. Located in the beautiful valley of Bumthang in the central part of the Kingdom, the Palace is the birthplace of Bhutan’s monarchy. Although built as the personal residence by his father, when Ugyen Wangchuck was elected as the first King of Bhutan in 1907, the Wangduechhoeling Palace became the first Royal Residence and office of the Wangchuck dynasty, and the Second King retained the Palace for these uses as well. It is one of the most powerful symbols of the history of Bhutan. The Palace’s beauty is representative of 19th Century Bhutanese architecture and craftsmanship. It houses a central temple in the courtyard, and a veritable treasure trove of ancient murals, text, sculptures, and textiles.


In the 1950s the Third King moved the royal courts to Paro, and since then the Palace has remained largely neglected. Today, 30 novice monks reside in certain livable sections of the palace with no proper toilets or water. The lack of resources for maintenance has left it in a precarious state. Therefore, the need for documentation of the existing


structure and restoration is urgent. The palace provides not only an opportunity to restore a significant part of Bhutan’s history and make it available to the public, but it also has a potential to provide economic opportunities for the local communities through tourism and cultural activities.


Promoting Sensible Media through Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy The Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy continues to play a critical role in development a culture of democracy in Bhutan. In December 2010, the Center hosted the first “Media as the Fourth Estate” discussion which brought together the media and a cross-section of society for an exchange of ideas to develop the media in Bhutan. The program was attended by the Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley and other ministers. Also in attendance were two established journalists from Thailand and Singapore. The program provided an excellent forum for discussions of the role of the media and its responsibilities as the 4th Estate within the Bhutanese democracy. The Center also has published a book entitled, “Monarchy and Democracy in the 21st Century” funded by the Liaison Office of Demark. The book is a result of the conference the Center hosted to 2009 on “Emerging Democracies in the 21st Century.” Approximately 16 journalists and scholars attended the conference and exchanged views on the role of monarchy in the context of emerging democracies. The result was a collection of essays that compose the chapters of the book. It is being sold at bookstores in Thimphu to raise funds to support the Center and its programs. The Center also published a collection of essays for its annual Creative Non-fiction Writing workshop. The Bhutan Foundation funded the first workshop in 2008.

Reaching out to Bhutan’s Civil Society Organizations In November 2010, Ambassador Frank G. Wisner, Co-Chairman of the Bhutan Foundation, visited Bhutan where he had audiences with His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and later with His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and Their Majesties The Queen Mothers. After visiting projects of the Bhutan Foundation, Ambassador Wisner met with Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigme Y. Thinley and other Ministers as well as representatives of local nonprofit organization to discuss progress and partnerships in programs that align with the objectives of the Bhutan Foundation. During his visit, Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck and Ambassador Wisner, as Co-Chairs of the Bhutan Foundation, hosted a dinner for partner organizations where it was announced that Nu.11.2M would be made available for support of some of the partner organizations of the Foundation. The grants support advancing conservation science, community development

and preservation of culture. Ambassador Wisner and Foundation staff also visited the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment in Bumthang where the electric car was presented to the Institute by the Bhutan Foundation. Kuensel, the premier newspaper of Bhutan, interviewed Ambassador Wisner on the importance of Civil Society Organizations and their roles within a democracy. He highlighted the importance of civil society organizations supporting causes but staying out of partisan politics. He also mentioned the importance of organization, good management and accountability. In discussing the objectives of the Bhutan Foundation, Ambassador Wisner was quoted saying that the Foundation “existed as a civil expression of American interest in Bhutan’s welfare,” and that “it is our purpose to raise money, attract participants from American foundations to come and counterpart organizations in Bhutan, principally civil society organizations, but not uniquely so.”



Ingleside at Rock Creek

103rd National Day Celebration of the Kingdom of Bhutan

Ingleside at Rock Creek, a residence community for seniors in Washington, DC welcomed the Bhutan Foundation on January 21, 2011. The Bhutan Foundation staff in Washington, DC introduced Bhutan to many and brought back memories for a few at Ingleside. Dr. Bruce W. Bunting spoke about Bhutan and how its development philosophy of Gross National Happiness has guided this young democracy today. The presentation was well received by an engaging crowd with infinite questions. The presentation was followed by a reception and dinner whereby members of Ingleside were still eager to learn more about Bhutan.

On December 17th, 2010 the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations in New York organized the celebration of the 103rd National day of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Long-time friends of Bhutan and the Bhutan Foundation, representatives of the United Nations as well as local Bhutanese came together to celebrate this joyous occasion.

World Tourism Day in Thimphu On September 27, 2010, the Bhutan Foundation observed the World Tourism Day in Thimphu. The event was an excellent opportunity for the Bhutan Foundation staff to showcase the Foundation’s various programs and the work we do in Bhutan. The Bhutan Foundation was one of the premier sponsors of the event, which was organized by Tourism Council of Bhutan.



Wheaton College On October 7, 2010, Dr. Bruce W. Bunting spoke to the students and faculty of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts about Bhutan and its Middle Path to Happiness. This lecture not only helped raise greater awareness of Bhutan and the Bhutanese students at Wheaton College, it also encouraged Wheaton students to take interest in Wheaton’s newly established study abroad program in Bhutan. Being the first of it’s kind in Bhutan, a semester abroad program was established in the Fall of 2010 when six Wheaton students attended the Royal Thimphu College. Alongside, Dr. Bunting’s talk also focused on bridging understanding between the United States and Bhutan and how Wheaton’s program brings about a diverse relationship that students from both countries could benefit.

Other News

Bhutan Foundation in Jumo In efforts to increase and improve online fundraising, the Bhutan Foundation was officially launched on Jumo on December 7, 2010. Jumo is an online venture founded by Chris Hughes, one of the founders of facebook that aims to connect people with nonprofits and charitable organizations. Jumo is also linked to the Bhutan Foundation facebook page which provides updates on Bhutan Foundation events as well as projects in Bhutan and the United States. To follow the Bhutan Foundation Jumo page, please visit: bhutanfoundation

Award Foods of the Kingdom of Bhutan by Ernest and Erik Nagamatsu won Les Folies Bergeres the Best Asian Cuisine book for 2010 at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards on March 3, 2011 in Paris. All proceeds from the cookbook goes to the Tarayana Foundation and the Bhutan Foundation. A first of its kind, this Bhutanese Charity cookbook is available for purchase online on


The Bhutan Foundation serves the people of Bhutan in living and sharing the principle of Gross National Happiness. We cherish the values of the Bhutanese intention: measuring “happiness” as the highest attribute of all decisionmaking. We contribute to strategies of conservation of the environment, equitable and sustainable development, good governance, and preservation of culture in Bhutan. The Bhutan Foundation serves as the only American not-forprofit organization that is wholly focused on the benefit of the country and people of Bhutan, bridging understanding between our two countries and beyond. For more information on our programs and activities, please visit The Bhutan Foundation is a tax-exempt organization in the US under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code-Federal ID#13-3376290!

Contact Us

our Partners


Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy Bhutan Nun’s Foundation

IN THE USA 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 525 Washington, DC 20037 USA Phone: +1-202-609-7363 Fax: +1-202-787-3943 IN BHUTAN Nazhoen Pelri Youth Center P.O Box 255 Thimphu BHUTAN Phone: +975-2-335613 Fax: +975-2-335614

Bhutan Youth Development Fund Jhangsa Animal Saving Trust Loden Foundation RENEW Royal Governent of Bhutan Royal Society for Protection and Care of Animals Royal Society for the Protection of Nature Tarayana Foundation Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation & Environment VAST (Voluntary Artist Studio of Thimphu)




WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Bhutan

Bhutan Foundation Spring 2011 Newsletter  

Spring 2011 Newsletter

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