Themed ‘Many Lives, Many Stories’, the tenth edition of Mountain Echoes will zoom in on ecology, entrepreneurship, literature, spirituality and visual story-telling, among others.

The three-day festival of arts, literature, and culture will begin from August 23.

The executive producer of Mountain Echoes, Juhi Sharma, said the festival would showcase many lives and their stories. “They can be stories of travellers, spiritual leaders, tales of celebrated river, civilisation, venerated mountain; each one of them with elements that make this pursuit meaningful.”

The speakers are from among conservationist, entrepreneurs, spiritual masters, writers, storytellers and scholars, among others.

The sessions will showcase conversations that take us deep into Shakespeare’s repertoire of plays, stories of cities and civilisations, rivers and oceans, and biographies of historical figures and modern narratives of visual communicators and entrepreneurs, according to a press release.

The Co-Director of the festival, Kelly Dorji expects the edition to recognise film making and theatre.

Although in the past Mountain Echoes held sessions on conversations around environment and preservation, this year, the edition will bring together local conservationists involved in conservation of endangered species in the country.  The move was supported by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Bhutan in collaboration with Bhutan Trust Fund, and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature.

Juhi Sharma said: “With the theme, many lives, many stories, we are looking at stories of wildlife and a few bird species from the region—their lives, migratory patterns, and the impact of climate change.”

A bird researcher from Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment, Sherub (PhD), and Dechen Dorji from WWF, will talk on the journey of Ruddy Shelduck, a duck species that traverse the Himalayas during migration. The bird migrates to Bhutan in winter.

“The speakers will converse on Ruddy Shelduck’s journey through some of the most breathtaking regions in the world,” the press release stated.

The session on ecology will feature on the mythical national animal, Takin, and the ways to reduce threat to water habitats and the vulnerable species like the white-bellied heron and black-necked crane. The festival will also feature stories of challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurs like Pema Choden Tenzin, the founder of Yeewong magazine.

Star of Australia’s digital revolution, Toby Walsh, will talk on technology and opportunities in Artificial Intelligence in the digitalised world.

Tashi Zangmo (PhD) will talk about her novel in which she retells the story of the Buddha from Yashodhara’s perspective.

The panelists will talk about story-telling in history, graphic novel and the modern forms of visual story-telling.

Fashion and travel bloggers, film makers, and photographers are also in the list of speakers.

Mountain Echoes is an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation in association with Siyahi.

Choki Wangmo