His Majesty The King graced the ongoing National Graduates Orientation Programme being held at the Royal Institute of Management in Semtokha and addressed the graduates yesterday.

“Our national philosophy and vision is Gross National Happiness (GNH). And the end objective of nation building is to ensure that we have a just, equal and harmonious Bhutan, where all our citizens can lead safe, secure and prosperous lives. To meet these objectives, all our citizens must shoulder equal responsibility,” His Majesty said.

“National Unity is important. If we are united, we become a stronger country. As a democracy, with a lot of economic, social and political transitions taking place, I genuinely feel it is important we have strong and intelligent institutions and good governance based on rule of law,” His Majesty said.

“As a central theme of my talk today, we need capable, intelligent citizens. What we lack in numbers, we have to make up in talent. We will never go wrong by investing in making our people stronger, better and more prepared,” His Majesty said. “But capability alone is not enough– our youngsters must have integrity and must be predisposed to hard work, for these are important attributes in addition to education and capability,” His Majesty added.

“You all are the guardians of our country’s peace, stability and harmony” His Majesty said. “Our strength comes from the fact that we are small and nimble– we can do what no one else can. We can build consensus faster, and find ways to move forward together, having decided what is collectively good for us. Our size gives us a great degree of flexibility and adaptability,” His Majesty added.

“You are the custodians of our universal cultural identity. Our identity must transcend political, religious, ethnic and all other differences in society, so that we can forge a common national identity as a proud Bhutanese,” His Majesty said.

“Your capabilities will shape the future of our beloved and most precious country,” His Majesty said.

“While all of you have completed formal college education, you must never think that you have completed the process of learning. I am continuously learning the different languages of our country; I want to continue lessons in mathematics and learn ancient languages like Sanskrit at a later stage in life,” His Majesty said.

“Over and above my work, I want to keep learning so that I am a better King; so that I can be a better father; so that I can transfer my knowledge to my children and so that I am better prepared for the future. Invest in learning, and don’t ever say you have completed your learning– for it is a lifelong process,” His Majesty said.

As of August 10, a total of 2,229 graduates were verified to be eligible to attend the orientation programme this year.

The National Graduates Orientation Programme themed “Towards building responsible citizens and leaders” began on August 13 and ends on August 20.