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Board & Staff

Chair of the Board

Sam Blyth

Sam Blyth, Founder and Chair

Sam Blyth was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge (MA), and the University of Paris. In addition to leading his successful company Blyth Academy, established in 1978, Sam has spent much of his adult life working and traveling around the world. After being introduced to Bhutan by Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1988, Blyth has revisited the country on a number of occasions and has visited several Bhutanese students who have studied in Canada. His love for education and passion for the nation led him to launch The Bhutan Canada Foundation in 2009.

Directors of the Board

Stephen Ader

Stephen Ader, Director

Stephen Ader has been the owner and President of the Pet Valu store in High Park for over 20 years. Before that he worked for 25 years in consumer products marketing, first in the UK and then in Canada. He held positions of increasing responsibility including VP Marketing and Board Member of Lever Detergents and Bristol-Myers Canada. Interests include travel, tennis, yoga, bridge and cottaging. He spent 3 weeks in Bhutan in 2012, including a morning at Chumey Middle Secondary School through BCF, and was also part of the Chairman’s Group that visited Bhutan in 2015. Stephen has a BA (Hons.) from Oxford University.

A. Ian Aitken

A. Ian Aitken, Director

Mr. Aitken is a professional investor and long-time supporter of entrepreneurship education in Canada. He is the Managing Partner of Pembroke Management, the Chief Executive Officer of Pembroke Private Wealth Management and the Chief Executive Officer of The GBC American Growth Fund. In addition, Mr. Aitken serves as the Chairman of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship, a registered Canadian charity and as a Director of the John Dobson Foundation. He is also a past president of the St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal. Mr. Aitken has had a great interest in Bhutan since his first visit to the country during 1997.

Stewart Beck

Stewart Beck, Director

 Stewart Beck is the President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Prior to joining APF Canada, Mr. Beck served as the Canadian High Commissioner to the Republic of India with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Bhutan and to Nepal. He joined Canada’s Department of External Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada) in 1982 and served abroad in the United States, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China. In Ottawa, he held a number of progressively more senior positions, including Director General of the North Asia Bureau, Director General Responsible for Senior Management and Rotational Assignments, and Assistant Deputy Minister for International Business Development, Investment, and Innovation. He was Consul General in Shanghai and prior to his posting to India, he was Consul General in San Francisco. 

Madeleine Blyth

Madeleine Blyth, Director

Madeleine runs the Techstars Barclays fintech accelerator, arguably the world’s most selective fintech programme. In this role, she has invested in, and supported, over 20 startups over the last two years. At just 25, she has scouted and held meetings with upwards of 400 entrepreneurs in more than 12 countries and is a fixture judge and mentor at London startup events. Prior to this, Madeleine has managed business development and growth for several London-based startups. 

Madeleine has had a lifelong love for Bhutan. Growing up, her house was a billet home for Bhutanese students, some of whom remain like members of her family. She has travelled to Bhutan several times and, in 2012, she spent a month in Bhutan conducting anthropological field research for her thesis on the relationship between the introduction of the internet and the discovery of a democratic voice in Bhutan.

Lucie Edwards

Lucie Edwards, Director

Lucie is based at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo; her research centres on the use of science and technology for the poor, with a particular focus on initiatives to support the “bottom billion” in Africa and South Asia.  She moved to the University of Waterloo in 2009 following a 34 year career in the Canadian Foreign Service. She served as Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and India, and was appointed Canada’s first Ambassador to Bhutan in 2004. [In 1995, she received the Public Service Award of Excellence for her humanitarian work during the genocide in Rwanda. She also received a merit award for her human rights work combatting Apartheid at the Canadian Embassy in Pretoria in 1989. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2009.

Alan Gill

Alan Gill, Director

Alan was raised and educated in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. His career has included significant senior level policy, programming, project and financial management experience within the public and private
sectors in Canada as well as in various multilateral organizations.

Senior positions have included: representative for Canada, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands on the Executive Board of the Asian Development Bank and for Canada in a similar capacity on the Board of the Inter-American Development Bank; Chief Financial Officer and Director of Private Sector Development at the Asian Development Bank; and senior executive posts within the Canadian federal public service (Privy Council Office, Department of Finance and Export Development Canada).

Alan has also been actively involved as a founder and Director of the EuroCan Carbon Credit Foundation. In addition to serving as a member of the board of The Bhutan Canada Foundation he also currently serves as the Chair of an oversight committee of international capital market experts responsible for implementing a UN-HABITAT program designed to mobilize private capital in support of the housing sectors of developing countries. 

Gwendolyn Julien

Gwendolyn Julien, Director

Gwendolyn maintains a multifaceted career in organizational development and people development as a business consultant, leadership coach and educator within the public, private and non-profit sectors. She obtained a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) at Ryerson University, a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) at the University of Toronto, Professional Coaching Credentials (CPCC) with The Coaches Training Institute, and a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Her Master’s thesis was titled “Developing a Strategic Approach to Stakeholder Engagement at SOS Children’s Villages Canada”, which sparked a passion for helping organizations better understand and utilize their social capital. Gwendolyn’s work with Directors of non-profit organizations started with a focus on board effectiveness.  Gwendolyn is a relentless champion of personal expression and fulfillment in work and life and she regularly participates in arts, culture and wellness activities. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Jane Pepino

Jane Pepino, Director

Jane  is a lawyer practicing planning and development law, based in Toronto at Aird and Berlis. She is a long time active volunteer, presently serving on the Board of Women’s College Hospital, and Governing Council of the University of Toronto. She enjoys travel that does not involve a beach, pool, or resort. Interests include grandchildren, as well as a large vegetable garden and orchard, bee keeping and coping with produce in a variety of ways. Jane was a traveler with the Chairman’s Trip with BCF in April 2017.

Domi Tshering

Domi Tshering, Director

Domi Tshering is the new Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations.Prior to her new appointment, Ms. Tshering was the Director of the Multilateral Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu between 2012 and 2017.  She served as Chief of the Foreign Ministry’s Policy Planning Division from 2009 to 2012.Previously, Ms. Tshering served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2007 to 2009.  She held the position of Counsellor from 2005 to 2006. From 2004 to 2005, Ms. Tshering headed the Europe and Americas Division, and from 2000 until 2003, she served as Under Secretary in the Policy Planning Division.  She also served as First Secretary in Bhutan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York from 1995 to 2000.  

Advisory Council

Kathy Allan

Kathy Allan, Director

Kathy is a biologist who has been privileged to work with environmental and international charities that work to sustain balance on this earth. Certified as a Fundraising Executive since 1998, Kathy has worked for small charities in Toronto, preferably within a bicycle ride of her home, and has volunteer and work experience in Egypt, India, Bhutan, Zambia and Pakistan.

Kathy and her husband Patrick first visited a friend teaching in Bhutan in 1989 and have maintained friendships and a love for the tiny kingdom since. In 2009 travelling with their two teenage daughters, they appreciated the vast changes and tremendous progress achieved in just twenty years.Kathy works with the Humanitarian Coalition, a coalition of five international charities responding to international humanitarian disasters. She is based in Toronto. 

Ann Berman

Ann Berman

Going to Bhutan to teach was the fulfillment of a life dream for Ann. From the first time she traveled the world from 1972 to 1975, and visited the people of the Himalayas, she knew that this was where she wanted to teach one day. She returned home to attend York University to become a teacher. In the process, she settled down and brought up two wonderful sons. After 30 satisfying years teaching primary school in Simcoe County, Ontario, with short volunteer teaching stints in Guatemala and Mirik, India, she finally had the opportunity to teach in Bhutan in 2010. Ann spent an incredible year teaching English and developing a Special Education program in Mongar. She returned to Canada at the end of 2010, but Bhutan will always remain close to her heart.

Gerald Clarke

Gerald Clarke

Gerry Clarke worked as a professor and dean at The University of New Brunswick. He studied at Kenyon College, Fordham University and Carnegie-Mellon University.  He was the first Director of the UNB Bhutan Project which began in 1985 with a contract from the World University Service of Canada and evolved into a series of multi-million dollar CIDA projects. The UNB arrangement with Bhutan included the management of the Canadian Cooperation Office in Thimphu, academic programs for Bhutanese teachers at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and in-country curriculum and professional development support. Although the major CIDA project ended several years ago (resulting in the unforeseen but happy creation of The Bhutan Canada Foundation) the relationship between Bhutan and UNB continues, primarily through programs in The Faculty of Education, Renaissance College and The Faculty of Engineering. In retirement, Gerry has turned his hand to organic farming. During his travels throughout the country he learned a thing or two from the Bhutanese about connections between people and the earth.

James George

James George

Education: Upper Canada College, Trinity College, Rhodes Scholar for Ontario, 1940.

After five years in the Navy, James entered the Canadian Foreign Service, serving in Athens, New York (United Nations), Paris, and as Ambassador/High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Iran and the Gulf States until he retired in 1977.

Co-founder of Threshold Foundation, President of Sadat Peace Foundation, Leader of Friends of the Earth Scientific Mission to assess effects of Kuwait oil fires in 1991, Author of Asking for the Earth/Waking up to the Spiritual/Ecological Crisis (1995), and The Little Green Book on Awakening (2008).

Doctor of Sacred Letters, Trinity College, U of T, 2006.  James has visited Bhutan three times: 1961, 1968 and 1972.

Peggy Foster Miller

Peggy Foster Miller 

Peggy Foster Miller holds a Bachelor of Education and Teaching Certificate from McGill University,  a Master of Education from Ottawa University and completed two years of a doctorate in Psycho-pedagogy.  As a leader of National and International Expeditions, she has led students in academic programs and community service projects in: Mexico, Africa, Nepal, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.  Through her passion as a world-class endurance athlete, Peggy has competed in hundreds of triathlons and ultra runs including the Hawaii Ironman, and the Western States 100 mile race.  In addition, she has challenged herself to climbing the seven highest continental peaks of the world including being an Everest climber in 2003 and 2005. As a public speaker, Peggy’s story is an inspirational account of how she faced the extraordinary challenge of climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the seven continents of the world.  Her stories have important messages, including: translating ideas into action, planning and preparation, coping with people with different temperaments and personalities, the importance of teamwork and communication. Peggy has been a member of the board of Directors for The Kensington Conservancy since 2006.She is also an advocate for the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve in Muskoka Ontario 

John Stares

John Stares

Since 2001 John has taken on a portfolio of part‐time roles in business and the voluntary sector.

His current roles include Chair of JT (formerly Jersey Telecoms) and More House School, Trustee of the Arts & Islands Foundation, BCF Advisory Board Member and Non‐Executive Directorships with Jersey Electricity Company plc, INPP plc and Terra Firma.

From 1978 to 2001 John was a Management Consultant with Accenture and held a wide variety of leadership roles in its Canadian, European and Global practices. John is a graduate of Imperial College, London University, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, a member of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants and Freeman of the City of London.

Lhatu Wangchuk

Lhatu Wangchuk

Lhatu Wangchuk has strong ties to Canada as he was a student of Father William Mackey and spent some time working for him. He is widely travelled and was previously the Head of Tourism in Thimphu as well as Ambassador to Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and South Korea. He has also served as Chief of Protocol and Acting Foreign Secretary in Bhutan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Until recently, he was Ambassador to Canada, and Bhutan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York. He has retired on superannuation and lives in Thimphu.

Kunzang Namgyel

Ambassador Kunzang Namgyel, Director

Mrs. Kunzang C. Namgyel, is Ambassador & Deputy Permanent Representative, of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations in New York.

Ambassador Kunzang C Namgyel is a career Foreign Service Officer. She joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March, 1980. During her long career with the Ministry, she has served in various posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Bhutan’s diplomatic embassies/mission, in New Delhi, New York and Geneva including ;

  • Director for Bhutan at the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu from October, 1995 to March 1999;
  • Minister Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations, Geneva from July 2003-July, 2007;
  • Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thimphu, from august 2007 to May 2009;
  • Director, Multilateral Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thimphu from June 2009 and August, 2011;
  • Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations, New York from September, 2011

She was appointed Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations from 3 January, 2014, with concurrent accreditation as the Kingdom of Bhutan’s Ambassador designate to Canada.

Ambassador Namgyel has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lady Keane College, Shillong, India

She is married and has four children, three daughters and one son. 

Toronto Office

Program Manager

Jasmeen Chandi

Bhutan Office

Field Director

Karma Tshering