Launch of the International Society for Bhutan Studies

17 January, 2019 Photo by Greg Smolonski / Photovibe
Photo by Greg Smolonski / Photovibe

The International Society for Bhutan Studies (ISBS) has held its launch conference at the University of Oxford from 8th to 10th January in collaboration with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

The society was founded with the goal of bringing together Bhutanese and foreign scholars and encouraging multidisciplinary work on Bhutanese culture, life and nature. The three-day event held at Magdalen College in Oxford featured talks on linguistics, the environment, Bhutanese culture, governance and development, and the Gross National Happiness Index (GNH).

As part of the conference, former Prime Minister of Bhutan, His Excellency Dasho Tshering Tobgay delivered a keynote speech at the Sheldonian Theatre on 10 January. In his talk, titled “Does Bhutan Matter? Stories from a Young Democracy”, the Former Prime Minister provided an overview of the progress made by the country since its democratic transition in 2008 and the problems it currently faces. The lecture and the session chaired by the former General Chairman of the Board, Dr. Ralph Walker is available to watch here.

The second lecture, titled “Development with Integrity: Bhutan’s Development and its Gross National Happiness Index”, was presented by Dasho Karma Ura, the President of the Centre for Bhutan Studies & Gross National Happiness. The lecture elaborated on the GNH measurement developed in collaboration with OPHI and the centrality of national happiness to Bhutanese governance and policy. Discussants included Martine Durand, Chief Statistician of OECD, and James Foster, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University. The lecture and the discussion chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson is available to watch here.

More details about the conference and the society can be found on the ISBS website, including the conference programme and links to academic publications on Bhutan.


Pictures are available here.

Buthan Multidimensional Poverty