A group of some ex-refugees from Bhutan participated in the first Gross Hational Happiness (GNH) conference held in Burlington,Vermont of the US from June 1-4.
Ex-refugee’s mission showed its presence in the first day by displaying cards and banners outside the conference hall, requesting the participants not to forget the plight of a hundred thousand people from the same country which coined and preached the philosophy of GNH. The participants from local organizations also joined the demonstration in solidarity.
On June 2, the mission held a panel discussion with the local TV channel and newspapers resulting in wide media coverage of the issues the mission had put forth. The participants registered for the conference and an informal discussion with the title ‘GNH, Bhutanese refugees and National Reconciliation’.
When the mission requested Karma Tshiteem, the secretary of the GNH commission, to address a question raised on the refugee issue, he eluded saying it was not the appropriate forum. The discussion was, however, participated by a group of people, some of who also spoke on behalf of the Bhutanese government. They included Sonam Ongmo, a New York based Bhutanese freelancer and Tshering Tashi, the co-author with Australian Tim Fisher of the book ‘From Jesuits to Jetsetters, BOLD BHUTAN BECKONS, Inhaling Gross National Happiness’ which backs the policy of the Bhutanese government.
The mission ended with highlighting the reasons for National Reconciliation and the pathway to accomplish it.