2014 CBC Massey Lectures Features Gross National Happiness!

Since 1961 CBC Radio has been broadcasting the Massey Lectures, allowing Canadians to explore the ideas that make us who we are and asking the questions that make us better human beings. This year, the lecture series will travel across Canada, featuring the former Canadian Governor General – Adrienne Clarkson. On October 28, 2014 the final lecture at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto will discuss the concept of “Gross National Happiness”, an idea that originated from the Kingdom of Bhutan and  how the concept is now being shared amongst the world!

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For more details about the event and purchasing tickets, visit the  The Royal Conservatory website here.

Blog of the Week – Blowing in the Wind

In her blog post Blowing in the Wind, BCF teacher Vicky describes a fun venture she planned and successfully executed with her students at Samtengang MSS in Wangdue!

“For the past week my 3 class VIII sections have been studying an essay called “Prayer flags blowing in the wind” which I thought combined perfectly with the song lyrics of “Blowin’ in the wind” by Bob Dylan which just happened to be included as a poem in the same unit. From the moment I saw the titles I knew I would want to fly prayer flags with them once we had done the hard yards.” – Vicky Chartres

Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - Students and Prayer Flags
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - Hanging Prayer Flags
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – Students hanging the prayer flags

“I knew it would be a hit with the students and was really looking forward to it. Their spirits were not in the slightest bit dampened by the drizzling rain and they were quick to point out that rain is in fact a lucky omen…No-one was at all concerned about how wet they got and we will all have the pleasure of watching our prayer flags send their prayers to the heavens for the rest of the year.” – Vicky Chartres

Follow along with Vicky and Ian on their blog In the Shadow of the Mountains!

Photo of the Week – Morning Assembly

This weeks photo comes from BCF teacher Ashley Lenzen who is teaching Math at Nangkhor HSS in Pemagatshel.  For students in Bhutan, their school day starts with morning assembly. Students line up in neatly straight rows and are guided through their morning prayers and the national anthem.

Photo Credit: Ashley Lenzen - Morning Assembly
Photo Credit: Ashley Lenzen – “This is how 6 out of every 7 of my mornings start here in Nangkor… morning assembly.”

“I have never been more awed than when I first took in the daily assembly at my school. Students were reporting for the first time that morning, and they lined up in perfectly straight rows by class and section with seemingly no instruction. As the assembly began, they fell silent. Student captains led the student body in their morning chanting. Perfectly in unison, the deep baritone of the older boys and the soft, melodic tones of the girls blended together in perfect harmony and filled the space between us and the mountains…It was a deeply spiritual, perfectly beautiful moment that has become one of my favourite parts of each day.” – Ashley Lenzen: Traveled Earth

Fifth Annual Tour of the Dragon Bike Race!

One of the world’s most challenging bike races returns to Bhutan! The fifth Tour of the Dragon will take place September 6, 2014 in the mountainous region of Bhutan, covering 268 kilometres! The race covers elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,340 meters and crosses four mountain passes before concluding in the capital city of Thimphu, all in one day!

Photo Credit: Tour of the Dragon

The race is aptly named the Tour of the Dragon, not only because it is being held in Bhutan, which is also called the Land of the Thunder Dragon, but also because of its difficulty. As difficult as it is to conquer a dragon, so is it difficult to complete the race! Stay tuned to see if any of the participants can beat last year’s fastest racer, Sonam from Bhutan, who completed the race in 11 hours and 13 minutes!

For more information check out the Tour of the Dragon website!

Buddha Dordenma Statue

This massive statue  measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world! The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Thimphu Valley. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, are made of bronze and gilded in gold.

When visiting the capital city of Thimphu, many of our BCF teachers hike up to view this giant statue!

Photo Credit: Zezia Zuber - Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu
Photo Credit: Kezia Zuber – Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu
Photo Credit: Tourism Council of Bhutan - Buddha Dordenma Statue
Photo Credit: Tourism Council of Bhutan – Buddha Dordenma Statue

To read more about the city of Thimphu check out our previous District Series on the Thimphu Dzongkhag!