On Tuesday, the 9th of August, 2022, His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo graced the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021. He addressed the audience and awarded the Bhutan Baccalaureate Diploma to the students of the graduating class. The Class of 2021 is the first graduating class of The Royal Academy and the graduation ceremony marked a significant milestone for the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute. Out of the fifty-two students who had graduated, thirty-six students were able to attend the ceremony. The remaining sixteen students were not able to attend as they had already left for their further studies outside of the country.
His Majesty’s the Druk Gyalpo’s address – 9th August 2022
When His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo addressed the audience during the graduation ceremony, he spoke to them as builders and pioneers of the future. His Majesty emphasized that in a technology-driven world where talents and skills are becoming increasingly more abundant, accessible, and cheaper, values such as dependability, consistency, and trustworthiness are progressively becoming more significant not just within the world of work but also in how we present ourselves as Bhutanese. In such a world, His Majesty highlighted that the way to differentiate Bhutan from other countries is to inculcate the aforementioned values as cornerstones of Bhutanese national identity. In general, Bhutan is thought of as a spiritual, clean, and happy country whose citizens do everything right. While this is a good image to have for a country from an external perspective, His Majesty stressed that we must translate this image into a pragmatic vision for nation-building.
His Majesty portrayed three possible scenarios he sees for the youth of Bhutan. The first scenario is that, as a country, we remain the same – with minimal development, complacent institutional structures, lack of opportunities, and low-income jobs. For the youth, while they get to remain home and be close to family and friends, there will not be an enabling environment for them to earn high incomes and seek out opportunities for growth as presented abroad in other countries. The second scenario is that a large majority of the youth go abroad to earn higher incomes due to the lack of opportunities in the country. While it is only natural that an individual seeks out better opportunities for themselves, the drawback to this for the youth is that they will be distant from their family, friends, and home country. They will grow in a foreign culture and develop foreign values. After a long time, they might even cease to understand what it means to be Bhutanese. The third scenario and the scenario that His Majesty envisions for Bhutan is a situation where the country is built by all Bhutanese and spearheaded by the youth. A country full of opportunities, high-income paying jobs, with citizens who are “dependable and trustworthy”. His Majesty emphasized that this is no easy task but rather a herculean undertaking of unprecedented scale. In order to achieve this national vision, there are no easy routes – it will require great effort, courage, resolve, resilience and sacrifice. His Majesty is optimistic that Bhutan can achieve such a national vision for he knows that Bhutanese are intelligent people with courage, “ngar”, and resilience. The Bhutanese people have great devotion and love for their country. They want a better future for themselves and their families and are willing to work to strengthen the country. His Majesty conveyed that we do not have time to waste if we want to achieve our goals as a country. Every passing day we lose is a day lost for the future of Bhutan.
As advice to the first graduating class and the entire student body, His Majesty encouraged the students to discover and follow their passions as career paths for the future; Incentivize lifelong learning and growth for themselves, and instill values that are not only helpful to themselves but also to others. The world is rapidly changing and one must constantly strive to keep learning and upskilling oneself. Bhutanese youth cannot remain stagnant in their growth for they are ultimately the future of the country. In closing, His Majesty expressed that he was delighted to be able to attend the graduation ceremony. It was a beautiful event to mark a significant milestone for The Druk Gyalpo’s Institute. His Majesty wished the first graduating class success and prosperity for their future endeavors.
After His Majesty’s address, the graduation ceremony also included three performances by the students and sharing of experiences by two students from the graduating class. The ceremony ended with a plantation of a Cypress sapling outside the Prajna Hall followed by a group photograph with His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, first with the Class of 2021 and then with the entire student body, faculty, and the esteemed members of the audience.
In the evening, dinner around a bonfire was organized at Mr. Kapur’s house in Pangbisa. All the graduated students present for the ceremony attended the dinner and some faculty members of the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute joined as well. The dinner celebrations were full of songs, dances, and laughter – it marked the last evening that the graduating class spent together in Pangbisa.