The International Society for Bhutan Studies (ISBS) held its inaugural conference in January 2019 at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Attended by Dr. Kent Schroeder, Executive Director of the Bhutan Canada Foundation, the conference brought together a diverse range of researchers and scholars from around the world. Presentations focused on all things Bhutan: education, Buddhism, linguistics, culture, the environment, anthropology and Gross National Happiness.
A keynote address delivered by the former prime minister of Bhutan, His Excellency Dasho Tshering Tobgay, highlighted the conference. The address asked “Does Bhutan matter?” and explored the progress and challenges the country has experienced since democratization. The keynote address can be viewed online here.
The intent of ISBS is to strengthen existing areas of research on Bhutan and inspire exploration of new ones. The Bhutan Canada Foundation hopes to continue to engage with ISBS, particularly around how to better link scholarly research to practical and policy concerns in Bhutan. The inaugural conference was organized by ISBS in partnership with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, the Samuel Centre of Social Connectedness, the Bhutan Society of the United Kingdom, Magdalen College and the University of Oxford.