Event: Bhutan observed International Peace Day on September 17 with more than 1,500 students and teachers (both scouts and non-scouts) from 12 different schools in Thimphu.

Education minister Norbu Wangchuk attended the event and planted a tree to mark the day. A blood donation campaign was also held.

Programme officer of the Scouts Association with the Department of Youth and Sports, Ngawang Gyaltshen, said the event is organised with an objective to promote the role of scouts in creating a better world.

“Scouts are messengers of peace through peace actions, peace initiatives and advocacies that will create positive change in the lives of young people and the community. Today, scouts are the building blocks for peace and we hope that students understand this important role as they go about in their daily lives,” Ngawang Gyaltshen said.

Through this event, we hope to give a message to the students and the community that peace starts with the individual, Ngawang Gyaltshen said. “This day provides a platform for the students who have contributed to the society to be recognised for the works they have done and for others to be aware that there are such platforms available.”

Today, the Messengers of Peace each have a profile on a website (www.scouts.org) where they upload their stories and the number of service hours they have contributed towards bringing peace to the world, Ngawang Gyaltshen said. “Anybody can register in the website not only just the Messengers of Peace or scout members. The day further seeks to increase public awareness and enhance scouting’s profile as a leading and preferred educational youth movement promoting active and healthy lifestyles among young people.”

Today, there are 1,294 Bhutanese members that have created profiles  and have contributed a total of 873,456 hours through 109 service projects undertaken in the country since April this year. Bhutan is ranked in the top 10 in the Asia Pacific region for this effort.

“This is just the beginning, we have many more to contribute and we have promising youth to undertake this huge responsibility,” Ngawang Gyaltshen said.

Education minister Norbu Wangchuk said that he is assured that the youth today will only make the country better and more peaceful.

“Today, young people are responsible, respectful and resilient to take the country forward. These three qualities are a sign of a good citizen in the making. Young people should always strive towards promoting peace in the country and the world,” Lyonpo said.

Pelden, 19, from Kelki Higher Secondary School, said that to her peace signifies a problem-free society.

“It is important to observe this day because we are reminded that we can contribute peace in ourselves and our society,” Pelden said.

While Arpan Pradhan, 15, a Messenger of Peace, said this day is a motivation for them. “I hope many youth will join this initiative and help build a better a future for the coming generations.”

Thinley Zangmo