On Monday 24 February, a welcoming reception was held at UNE for a delegation of Bhutanese visitors to Armidale. Mr Dorji Dhradhul and Ms Sonam Wangmo from the Bhutanese Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests are here to workshop a model and framework for the establishment of a cooperative banking sector in Bhutan with experts from UNE and Armidale.
Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education, Innovation and International, Ms Gabrielle Rolan, and CEO of the Community Mutual Group and UNE Council Member, Mr Kevin Dupé, welcomed Mr Dhradhul and Ms Wangmo along with UNE staff, students and members of the Bhutanese and wider community.
UNE has had a long-lasting, productive and collaborative relationship with Bhutan spanning some 60 years, with our initial links driven by UNE’s School of Education. Today, through the continued efforts of the School of Education, and more recently our School of Law, we are continuing to work together into capacity building with the Royal University of Bhutan.
In 2013 there were 30 Bhutanese students enrolled at UNE, which is the highest number of Bhutanese students enrolled at any Australian university. The students are spread across a number of disciplines – from Agriculture to Arts, Science, Business, Urban & Regional Planning, and of course in Education.
There are also a many prominent Bhutanese UNE Alumni, including leaders in the Education Ministry who have completed their doctorates at UNE, many in the School of Education.
Included in the list of Bhutanese UNE Alumni is Dasho Pema Thinley (Vice Chancellor of the Royal University of Bhutan), who completed a double Masters in Education and Curriculum Studies with Honours at UNE. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education by the University in April 2004, only the second awarded to an overseas candidate.
Other notable Bhutanese UNE alumni include Mr Lyonpho Zangley Dukpa (Minister of Health), Dasho T. S. Powdyel (Minister of Education), Mr Tshering Tenzin (member of the National Assembly), and Dr Jagar Dorji (a member of the Upper House).
Photograph: Ms Gabrielle Rolan, Mr Dorji Dhradhul, Ms Sonam Wangmo and Mr Kevin Dupé.