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Forging Innovation from Tradition

by Peter Biľak (2582 words)

Tshering Tobgay speaks about how Bhutan is facing the challenges of preserving its own identity and cultural heritage as it seeks its place in the international community.

*Tshering Tobgay is only the second prime minister to govern the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan since its first democratic election in 2008. Like every Bhutanese official, he talks about the Gross National Happiness philosophy which prioritises well-being over financial growth, but he also identifies Bhutan’s great challenges (employment, economics, infrastructure) and is taking concrete steps to transform his country. Since his election in 2013, Bhutan has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies while maintaining its unique status as a carbon-­negative country. Bhutan provides free education and healthcare for all its citizens, addresses issues of gender equality by recruiting women into important decision-making committees, supports rural farmers with free electricity, and provides local entrepreneurs with low-interest loans.

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