Sunday, 26 October 2008

Bhutan : Graduates’ program graced by His Majesty

“What GNH means will never change but how we achieve GNH will.”

25 October, 2008 - “We would be starting our career and ending it together. We will see each other grow old over time. But more importantly, we will see each other become wiser, more capable, more intelligent, and we will see each other serve our country well.”

Addressing the over 1,220 centennial graduates on October 22, His Majesty the King said, “If the country does well we all stand to benefit. If it doesn’t we will suffer equally. We share the same destiny.”

His Majesty reminded the graduates about national goals and asked, “Why do we want a strong economy? Why do we want to preserve our culture and tradition and to protect our environment? Why did our forefathers work so hard and achieve so much? In the end it is for lasting peace, stability, and tranquillity of our country and the unity, harmony, and well being of our people.”

His Majesty said that if there was no love and harmony between our people, if the happiness and peace that we have today is lost, then somewhere along the way we have failed.

Security, His Majesty said, means more than physical defense of the nation. “I am actually talking about the security that comes when people are united in love for their country and united in their efforts to further secure, consolidate and hand over an even stronger nation to their children,” he said.

His Majesty said the goal of building a vibrant democracy was one of his biggest and most sacred responsibilities. Gross National Happiness (GNH), His Majesty said, “is the philosophy that acts as our national conscience, always guiding us to make better and wiser decisions for our future. It reminds us to always strive and work for the happiness and well being of every single Bhutanese at all times.”

He said it was important because, for a very small country like Bhutan with an even smaller population, it was extremely vital to share a national objective.

“We simply cannot afford to work in different directions. I have no doubt that GNH will always reflect the aspirations of our people and the interest of our nation. Therefore, GNH is our common goal.”

His Majesty said what GNH means would never change but how we achieve GNH would change in the fast changing globalised world, which would present both new opportunities and challenges for Bhutan. “GNH today for us is the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and, today, the necessary pursue of economic growth.

“But remember that it is the duty of every generation to find new ways of achieving the goals of GNH,” said His Majesty.

His Majesty said that, for this generation, building a vibrant democracy founded on a strong economy would be the means through which GNH would be achieved and aspirations of the people fulfilled.

Later, His Majesty took photographs with the graduates and interacted with them during the cultural program. His Majesty also granted lunch and ate together with the graduates.

Most graduates, Kuensel spoke to, say they were humbled by His Majesty’s gesture of coming to meet and talk to them, and share a meal with them.

“Nowhere around the world will you find such a modest and approachable leader or King. I feel lucky,” said Sangay Zangmo, a lab technology graduate from Chennai.

Dechen Wangmo Jigme, an electrical engineer and MBA graduate of Texas University, USA, said that the very fact His Majesty had taken time to address the graduates, that too at a time when coronation was just two weeks away, was an indication of utmost importance given to graduates. “It was very inspiring,” she told Kuensel.

Tashi Tenzin, a Simtokha graduate, said His Majesty sitting with them in the scorching sun and dust, to watch the cultural program, was most humbling.

“I was motivated by His Majesty’s advice and guidance of working together and achieving our country’s goals together,” said Pema Lhazin, a graduate from Delhi. “His Majesty is a natural orator as well.”

A Sherubtse graduate said Bhutanese were lucky to have selfless Kings until now. “Today, we’re assured that we have a young dynamic King to lead us further ahead,” he said.

By Rinzin Wangchuk & Kesang Dema

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