A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between three institutions to provide an opportunity to US undergraduate students, Bhutanese university students and Bhutanese lecturers and scientists to gain technical skills and field–based educational research experience.

The MoU was signed between Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER), and the School for Field Studies (SFS), a non-profit Massachusetts corporation yesterday.

President of the SFS, Dr James Cramer, said that the institutional relationship would grow and have a significant impact on environmental research and environmental consciousness. “Many of the students who come to Bhutan not only become more grounded in the field of science, research and become committed environmentalists but also become ambassadors of Bhutan.”

Until this year, about 250 undergraduate students from the US have visited Bhutan for programmes focused on environmental and socio-economic developmental studies.

The institutes will conduct two semester-long undergraduate programmes and a six-week summer course. BES will also organise annual research symposiums.

Agriculture secretary, Rinzin Dorji, said the MoU looks at strengthening collaborative works and teamwork in terms of environmental conservation. “The SFS is a long standing partner of UWICER, within which these two institutions provided a professional platform to American and Bhutanese students to engage in environmental conservation.”

The SFS and UWICER programme began in 2010.

Vice President of BES, Nawang Norbu, said that the new partnership would allow the society to enhance research and innovation efforts to help secure an environmentally sustainable Bhutan.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck graced the MoU signing.

Phurpa Lhamo