YK Poudel 

The 19th Governing Council Meeting of the South Asian Foundation (SAF) decided in Thimphu yesterday to make programmes vibrant in the region for youth.

Dignitaries from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal attended the in-person meeting.

Chairperson of SAF Bhutan Chapter, Dasho Ugen Tsechup, said that the programmes are aimed at providing quality education to students from Bhutan and other South-Asian countries. “This meeting is important in that we want to establish a centre of excellence in the region.”

France Marquet, the managing trustee at South Asia Foundation, said that the initiative is targeted towards diversifying study programmes. “The MSF focuses on creating independent chapters in South-Asian region through which an individual can be a productive asset of a nation.”

“SAF-Bhutan is moving in the right direction in providing support services to our scholars and further aspires to introduce innovative activities and programmes that would enhance their knowledge and experiences,” she said.

According to Dr Bhagat Suberi, coordinator of the chapter Bhutan, UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Center for South Asia Forestry Studies (UMCSAFS), “The MSF scholarship programme has immensely benefited many scholars in contributing to nation building, serving in various capacities in nurturing the vision of the founding father.”

“From 2022, the college started offering P.hD in Climate Change,” he said.

Alumni of SAF Bhutan, Karma Samten Wangda, 25, a reporter at BBS, said that the scholarship supports youth. “What sets this apart from other scholarships is the nature of its straightforwardness.”

UMCSAFS Bhutan has supported 34 scholarships to date from the SAARC countries.

In 2010, Bhutan was identified as one of the SAF Institutions for UMCSAFS and 126 alumni benefitted through this scholarship assistance.