Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meeting Her Majesty, the Queen Mother and Minister of Education

On Saturday, we had the great honor to meet Her Majesty, Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuk, the Queen Mother of Bhutan. Her Majesty arrived at Nazhoen Pelri, the venue for our program in the afternoon. We welcomed her with song and dance and presented a Bhutanese dance to her, together with some of the young people we had trained (our dance was shown on national television later that evening). Clad in Bhutanese national dress (kira for the ladies and gho for the men), we told her about our program and our experience of Bhutan so far. She awarded us with certificates, which we accepted in the elaborate Bhutanese fashion fitting for a Queen. Indeed, we were inspired and encouraged by Her Majesty's warmth and support for our work.

Here are a few pictures from our meeting with Her Majesty:

The team with Her Majesty and members of the royal family.

Her Majesty with some of the trainers.

The team in gohs and kiras.

After meeting Her Majesty, we were invited for dinner by the Minister of Education, Lyonpo Thakur Powdyel, at his residence. We had an interesting three-hour conversation in which we discussed Bhutan's and USA's education system in their current and potential future states. We also discussed our program and its implications for Bhutan's young people. Beyond our program-related discussions we talked about our experiences and impressions of the country, his role as Minister, and about our own aspirations. We absolutely enjoyed the home-made meal, particularly the delicious kheer we had for dessert.

Here is a picture of the team with Lyonpo and his beautiful wife:


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