His Majesty The King graces RUB Con­vo­ca­tion

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His Majesty The King graced the 12th Con­vo­ca­tion Cer­e­mony of the Royal Univer­sity of Bhutan, and ad­dressed over 3,000 grad­u­ates at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony on 7th June, 2017. The grad­u­ates from Col­lege of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Col­lege of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, Gaeddu Col­lege of Busi­ness Stud­ies, Col­lege of Lan­guage and Cul­ture Stud­ies, Jigme Nam­gyel Engi­neer­ing Col­lege, Paro Col­lege of Ed­u­ca­tion, Sherubtse Col­lege, Samtse Col­lege of Ed­u­ca­tion, Fac­ulty of Tra­di­tional Medicine and Royal Thim­phu Col­lege, com­pleted their de­grees in 2016

It is ex­tremely com­fort­ing and sat­is­fy­ing to meet so many of you to­day. When I think of the fu­ture, I am par­tic­u­larly re­as­sured be­cause you are all so qual­i­fied and ca­pa­ble. We are gath­ered here – rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the clergy, the Prime Min­is­ter and se­nior of­fi­cials of the gov­ern­ment, and the fac­ulty mem­bers of our ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions – to cel­e­brate your suc­cess.

My first thought is that your par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers must be very proud of you. Hav­ing sup­ported you un­til now, they must be con­tent with your clear achieve­ments and suc­cess. Their prayers and as­pi­ra­tions have been met, hav­ing nur­tured you from in­fancy into qual­i­fied and ca­pa­ble young women and men.

All par­ents have the same hopes and dreams for their chil­dren, from the mo­ment they are born– that our child will stand amongst oth­ers as an equal– that they are ca­pa­ble, well ed­u­cated and of sound mind and body. You have not only re­al­ized their dreams, but also ar­rived at this stage, ready to serve and bet­ter your coun­try. I con­grat­u­late you warmly for get­ting here.

We are liv­ing in ex­tra­or­di­nary times– both around the world as well as within Bhutan. There are op­por­tu­ni­ties to­day that couldn’t have been imag­ined in ear­lier times. But we also live in un­cer­tain times- a world full of un­prece­dented risks and chal­lenges.

Most of you were born after 1990. 1990 was an im­por­tant year, the year that Tim Bern­ers-Lee-in­vented the World Wide Web– that en­abled the cre­ation of the In­ter­net.

To­day, 3.7 bil­lion peo­ple use the In­ter­net– that’s half of hu­man­ity. 2.5 bil­lion peo­ple use so­cial me­dia, and about 7 bil­lion peo­ple use mo­bile phones.

Face­book was founded in 2004. It has just been 13 years, and Face­book to­day has 1.94 bil­lion users. There are 5 new pro­files be­ing cre­ated ev­ery sec­ond, half a mil­lion com­ments be­ing posted ev­ery minute, and 136,000 pho­tographs be­ing up­loaded ev­ery minute.

Then there is e-com­merce; web­sites like Flip­kart, Ali Ex­press, Ama­zon, and E-bay, many of which are be­ing used by Bhutanese. It is pos­si­ble to pur­chase al­most ev­ery­thing on­line. In 2016, world­wide re­tail e-com­merce sales was 2 tril­lion USD.

Med­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies are be­ing made each year, tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments, engi­neer­ing mar­vels, and now so­cial me­dia and the In­ter­net, are chang­ing the world that we live in, and they con­tinue to shape the way we com­mu­ni­cate with each other, the way we learn, the way we run our of­fices, con­duct busi­nesses, and even en­ter­tain our­selves.

So these are ex­cit­ing times. For a small coun­try like ours, such ad­vance­ments hold a lot of prom­ise. We can use tech­nol­ogy to help achieve our na­tional ob­jec­tives.

But at the same time, I worry. As I said be­fore, there is a lot of un­cer­tainty in the world to­day. New dif­fi­cul­ties arise one after the other.

To men­tion a few: the world is faced with re­source con­straints, as the world pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow. It is es­ti­mated that the world’s pop­u­la­tion will touch 9.7 bil­lion by 2050. Cli­mate change, mass mi­gra­tion of peo­ple, in­equity and in­come inequal­ity, po­lit­i­cal po­lar­iza­tion and in­sta­bil­ity, war, disease, famine, nat­u­ral and man-made calami­ties– we live in a VUCA age, of volatil­ity, un­cer­tainty, com­plex­ity and am­bi­gu­ity.

Closer to home, In­dia has a pop­u­la­tion of 1.34 bil­lion peo­ple, and China 1.37 bil­lion. That is 37 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, and to­gether ac­count for 16 per­cent of the world’s GDP, or about 13 tril­lion USD. Our small land­locked, moun­tain­ous coun­try sits be­tween these two pop­u­lous and pow­er­ful coun­tries.

Over the years, Bhutanese have steered our coun­try with great skill, in­tel­li­gence, and a deep sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity, and have given us a peace­ful, har­mo­nious, and sov­er­eign na­tion.

Bhutan is blessed– our wa­ters are holy, and our land sa­cred. Known in an­cient times as the South­ern Land of Medic­i­nal Herbs, our coun­try has been not only fer­tile and boun­ti­ful, but the land of medicines and heal­ing. Bhutan is Baeyul– hid­den par­adise– blessed by Ugyen Guru Rin­poche, and con­sol­i­dated by Zhab­drung Ngawang Nam­gyel.

As you in­herit this coun­try, and take on your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, I would like you to re­mem­ber three things:

We are the guardians of the peace and unity in our coun­try. Our true strength comes from the peace in our land and har­mony amongst our peo­ple. We must pre­serve this with sin­cer­ity and ded­i­ca­tion.

It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to pre­serve our dis­tinct cul­ture and na­tional iden­tity. We must not lose this unique­ness so that we are al­ways able to proudly say “We are Bhutanese”.

The wealth of our coun­try is our hu­man re­sources. Our fu­ture will in­vari­ably be shaped by the tal­ent and skills, dis­po­si­tion for hard work, com­mit­ment, and ded­i­cated ser­vice of our young gen­er­a­tions.

In con­clu­sion, I would like to share my own ob­ser­va­tion. We have five ex­tra­or­di­nary qual­i­ties that de­fine us as Bhutanese. These are five ex­tra­or­di­nary qual­i­ties that you pos­sess.

Tha Damt­shi or un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty, is a nat­u­ral and in­stinc­tive trait. Bhutanese are Sin­cere. We have in­tegrity. No mat­ter what we do, there is a de­gree of sin­cer­ity that is wor­thy of praise.

We are Mind­ful. We are al­ways mind­ful of our du­ties, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, obli­ga­tions, and well­be­ing - not just our own well­be­ing but the well­be­ing of ev­ery­one.

We Bhutanese are very As­tute. That is why we have been able to build a coun­try like Bhutan. We have worked with great in­ge­nu­ity, per­cep­tion, and wis­dom. We have the in­tel­li­gence and skills to be able to strengthen our coun­try. We are clear minded and com­pe­tent peo­ple.

We are Re­silient. We are well-tem­pered and strong, not afraid of suf­fer­ing, not averse to hard­ship, ready to face prob­lems and risks. Since time im­memo­rial we have not been over­come nor de­stroyed. We have had the re­silience to with­stand the big­gest chal­lenges and threats.

We do not just live in the present but are aware of the fu­ture. We care, not just for this gen­er­a­tion, but for dif­fer­ent eras and gen­er­a­tions to come. We un­der­stand that what­ever we have has to be Time

less. We re­alise that we are im­per­ma­nent, that our chil­dren will in­herit what we leave be­hind, and our coun­try will be there for all times to come.

The acro­nym for these ex­tra­or­di­nary qual­i­ties of the Bhutanese peo­ple - Sin­cer­ity, Mind­ful­ness, As­tute­ness, Re­silience, and Time­less­ness - is SMART. Bhutan has al­ways been a smart na­tion. That is why we must con­tinue to build smart in­sti­tu­tions, and that is why it is im­per­a­tive that our peo­ple re­main smart. We must nur­ture these won­der­ful qual­i­ties and re­mem­ber ev­ery day, how they have de­fined us as a na­tion and as a peo­ple. We must re­mem­ber that these qual­i­ties will help us nav­i­gate the 21st cen­tury and build an even bet­ter place. Our coun­try has an ex­tremely bright fu­ture and that fu­ture is in your hands.

I am pro­foundly happy that I had this op­por­tu­nity to meet you and speak to you to­day. I feel re­as­sured, com­forted, and sat­is­fied meet­ing qual­i­fied, skilled and smart cit­i­zens like you, who are ready and able to serve your coun­try and make a dif­fer­ence.

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