The Royal Thim­phu Col­lege re­ceives pres­ti­gious grant

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Reporter

The Royal Thim­phu Col­lege ( RTC) has been awarded the In­sti­tu­tional De­vel­op­ment Grant from the pres­ti­gious Wen­ner-Gren Foun­da­tion for An­thro­po­log­i­cal Re­search based in the United States. The Foun­da­tion is ded­i­cated to the ad­vance­ment of an­thro­pol­ogy through­out the world.The grant is given to one Univer­sity an­nu­ally across the globe for a 5-year du­ra­tion start­ing Jan­uary 2016. RTC is the 9th re­cip­i­ent of the pres­ti­gious grant, which will pro­vide 125,000 USD to­tal for the Col­lege to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of ca­pac­ity in the field of an­thro­pol­ogy in Bhutan. Dr. Ritu Verma, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor at RTC, sub­mit­ted the grant ap­pli­ca­tion and will co­or­di­nate the grant ac­tiv­i­ties along with other as­so­ciates in So­cial Sci­ences at RTC. The grant was awarded in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the es­teemed Depart­ment of An­thro­pol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les, which will also par­tic­i­pate in the grant ac­tiv­i­ties in sup­port of four key ar­eas of work, cen­ter­ing on knowl­edge, net­work­ing, ca­pac­ity strength­en­ing, and de­vel­op­ment of aca­demic pro­grammes re­lated to an­thro­pol­ogy. The fu­ture pro­grammes are ex­pected to at­tract Bhutanese as well as in­ter­na­tional schol­ars who will strengthen their eth- no­graphic and re­search ca­pac­ity in terms of the preser­va­tion, pro­mo­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion of cul­ture in Bhutan. The grant sup­ports the longterm strate­gic vi­sion of RTC of be­com­ing a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tute of aca­demic and re­search ex­cel­lence in a va­ri­ety of fields.

Ac­cord­ing to the press re­lease from foun­da­tion there ex­ists a crit­i­cal gap in an­thro­po­log­i­cal knowl­edge of Bhutan and the prac­tice of an­thro­pol­ogy in Bhutan. At present, no doc­toral pro­gram ex­ists in the coun­try. Hence, re­search based on in-depth long-term ethno­graphic field­work, the hall­mark of a Ph.D. in an­thro­pol­ogy, is also lack­ing. This has im­pli­ca­tions for the un­der­stand­ing of chang­ing dy­nam­ics of cul­tural, so­cial, iden­tity, political-eco­nomic, and en­vi­ron­men­tal aspects of a na­tion that has only re­cently opened it­self to the out­side world. Given that there are no pro­fes­sional av­enues for prac­tic­ing an­thro­pol­ogy in the coun­try, such an ini­tia­tive is ur­gent. Royal Thim­phu Col­lege is the only pri­vate aca­demic in­sti­tu­tion of its kind in Bhutan, and thus it holds a spe­cial place in terms of its abil­ity to in­no­vate in terms of re­search. In this spirit, it hopes to de­velop for the first time in the his­tory of the coun­try, a doc­toral pro­gram with a longterm vi­sion of be­com­ing an in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tute of aca­demic and re­search ex­cel­lence in the an­thro­pol­ogy of Bhutan, in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment, so­cially en­gaged Bud­dhism and Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness (GNH). It will do so through sev­eral key ac­tiv­i­ties over a fiveyear pe­riod, cen­tred on knowl­edge, net­work­ing, ca­pac­ity strength­en­ing, ap­proval/ac­cred­i­ta­tion and pi­lot­ing, and in for­mal col­lab­o­ra­tion with renowned an­thro­pol­o­gists spe­cial­iz­ing in the re­gion from the Depart­ment of An­thro­pol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Los An­ge­les , and through in­for­mal col­lab­o­ra­tions with pro­fes­sional an­thro­pol­o­gists in the United States, Bhutan and be­yond.

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