Film show and panel discussion in UML to raise awareness


A film show and panel discussion on the situation of Bhutanese refugees in camp and after relocation was hosted by University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) Center for Asian American studies on 3rd March with a purpose to inform university students and professors on the genesis of Bhutanese refugees and their plight.

Panelists of the discussion with host Sue Kim
Panelists of the discussion with host Sue Kim

The short film, The Refugees of Shangri-La : untold story of Bhutanese refugees was shown for students and faculty of UML to inform them more on Bhutan and Bhutanese people who faced ethnic persecution.

Doria Bramante, the film director, was one the panelists in the discussion that followed.

The English professor of UML, Sue J Kim, the co-director of Asian American studies, the goals of the event was to introduce the history of Bhutanese people in greater Lowell community, share the hardships faced by refugees in camps and during relocation, to highlight their struggles and achievements in US, and to discuss about the ongoing human rights situation in Bhutan.

Another panelist and Professor Dr. Ram Raj Gautam explained the outcome of the program. He replied via email: “We are invited to Sixth Annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Forum: communicating our stories; healing across generations to be held at UMass Lowell May 21.” “In the panel discussion, mental health situation and issue of suicide contagion among Bhutanese was also highlighted,” he informed BNS.   

Tika Rijal, the executive director of Bhutanese community of Lowell spoke about the adjustment process of resettling refugees.

Panel discussion
Panel discussion

In an email reply to BNS, Suraj Budathoki, the ICHRB executive director said, “I got the impetus and energy to work in this campaign after knowing so many stories of rape, torture, brutal subjugation and eviction of ethnic Nepali citizens of southern Bhutan.”

“What we, as students, do to support the Bhutanese refugees and the human rights campaign?” asked one of the students. “There is a sense that more people need to learn about this history and the plight of Bhutanese refugees — particularly those still in refugee camps — and an eagerness to help out”, added Prof. Sue Kim.

In addition to the film show and panel discussion, photo exhibit of Bhutanese people resettled in New Hampshire by Becky Field was attraction of the event.