Bhutan’s greatest, most valuable wealth is its people: His Majesty the King

Convocation: His Majesty the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, graced the 10th convocation of the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), today.

Addressing the sea of graduates, His Majesty said that the achievement of the graduates was commendable as a lifetime of hard work and effort had brought them here, and their family, friends and teachers had every right to be proud.

“Your education will be a great asset to you, and more importantly, it will be of immense benefit to the country,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty shared with the graduates the three things that His Majesty wants every young person in the country to remember:

Firstly, that they are the custodians of our national heritage and cultural identity. “Our country’s narrative helps us define our identity, it sets us apart, and illuminates our future.” His Majesty said.

His Majesty said that our forebears safeguarded an extraordinary and unique cultural legacy and left for us an exceptional country. “It will take a lot of effort to preserve our remarkable heritage, but it will be extremely easy to let it erode. Therefore, it is our duty to nurture, reinforce, and pass down our rich heritage to the succeeding generations,” His Majesty said.

Secondly, that they are the guardians of our peace and stability. “The greatest asset of our very small country is our people. If our people are able to work together in unity and harmony, nothing can thwart us,” His Majesty said. “If we live as one family, we need not fear any adversities – for we will be able to brave whatever the future may bring us. Our strength comes from unity and collective service.”

Thirdly, that they are the stewards of our nation’s future. “Your capabilities will invariably shape the future of our nation,” His Majesty said. “If we want to foresee our prospects for tomorrow, all we have to do is look at how capable we are today. If our competencies are mediocre today, our future will also be mediocre, but if we are driven and competent today, our future will naturally mirror our strength.”

His Majesty also shared the three things about our country that His Majesty always keeps in mind:

First, that we are a small country. “Sanctified by the blessings of Guru Rinpoche, the country that we have inherited is undoubtedly very special and very beautiful,” His Majesty said.

However, His Majesty added that we have only about 7 percent arable land, our country is small and landlocked, and our population is small and unlikely to grow very large in the near future.

Second, that our neighbouring countries are the two most populous and fastest growing economies the world has seen.

And third that we are trying to survive in the 21st century. “We are making concerted efforts to achieve our national goal of Gross National Happiness and its four pillars, we are working unremittingly to establish a firm foundation for democracy, and to ensure a prosperous, enlightened and peace-filled future for our people. The fundamental objective of all our efforts is to survive in the 21st century,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty said that the world around us is changing ­– what has remained resolute for a lifetime in the past alters in a moment today – this brings opportunities, but also new and unfamiliar challenges.

“We are at the juncture where it is no longer enough to do as we have done before – we must shoulder greater responsibilities, work even harder, and be more industrious,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty reminded the graduates that the road ahead will be long and hard, but also that there is nothing we cannot achieve.

“In our long and illustrious history, beginning from the time of Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, to the desis and our Monarchs, we have always remained triumphant and unbowed. We are unlike any other people in the world – we have always braved all adversities, and we still retain that mettle in abundance,” His Majesty said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we can hand over an even more successful and prosperous nation to our future generations.”

His Majesty reflected on the transience of time, reminding the graduates that nine years have already passed since His Majesty became King at 26, and after 15 more years, the nation would be celebrating the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty’s reign.

“There is no time to waste,” His Majesty said. “Let’s not waste our lives, and this opportunity that we have to achieve something extraordinary.”

“Collectively, we can ensure that each and every one of us succeeds in life; collectively we can ensure that our country realises its full potential, and in the 21st century, we can be the most successful nation in the region,” His Majesty said. “I believe that it is possible, and I also believe that failure is not an option,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty then described how we could succeed as a country in the 21st century.

“As a small country, we can be far more efficient, expeditious, and decisive than a large country can ever be,” His Majesty said. “If we learn to use our smallness to our advantage, we will successfully navigate through change, overcome obstacles, and guarantee the success of our nation.”

His Majesty said that the key would be to understand that as a small country with a small population and limited resources, we can’t afford to have the problems associated with large nations. Inefficiency, bad planning and inability to execute plans – these are problems associated with large, populous nations that are geographically unmanageable and demographically difficult to govern – and if we have these problems, it will be our undoing.

So if we keep in mind our smallness, and accordingly formulate plans and policies, translate them into results, guarantee its success – and occasionally, if need be, change our game plan, we will succeed.

Finally, His Majesty said that the greatest and most valuable wealth that we have in Bhutan is our people. Our land does not exude gold or oil, but what we have is our people.

“We can never go wrong if we invest in human resource – no matter how much it costs, that investment will give our nation rich dividends,” His Majesty said.

“What we lack in numbers, we must make up in talent,” His Majesty pointed out.

“When I became King, when I received the sacred Dhar Ngye Nga from the Machhen lhakhang of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, I made a pledge to work tirelessly in service of the nation and all my people. And I take that vow very seriously,” His Majesty said.

“I look forward to taking this journey with you, and working hard together to write a most successful story of our nation.”

His Majesty the King awarded degree certificates to the representatives of each college under RUB.

More than five thousand graduates from eleven colleges and institutions under RUB received their degrees.

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