Roadmap to the Future
“If we can build a strong economy, we will have the unshakeable foundations for a vibrant democracy.”
- His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
In the past year as king, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has clearly stepped out of his father’s considerable shadow to unveil a vision and leadership style distinctly his own.
Along with a clear grasp of the emerging challenges and opportunities, he brings an enthusiastic and motivational approach to rallying the new Bhutanese nation to the task ahead.
Here, are some of the main signposts on His Majesty’s brave new roadmap to the future.
PEACE AND SECURITY
His Majesty defines this in a broader sense than the mere physical defense of the nation. He describes this as the true peace and security that comes when people are united in their love for the country; an authentic and more deeply felt sense of well-being that comes from striving together in harmony toward a common goal.
“True peace and security of Bhutan will always come from the love and hard work of our people,” he says. “If every single day, every Bhutanese respects our culture and traditions, our environment, if we uphold the law, if we safeguard everything that is important to Bhutan and to our future generations, if we do our jobs to the best of our abilities, then we will always continue to build a strong nation, according to our aspirations, unique to our own way of life.”
TRANSLATING GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
His Majesty believes Gross National Happiness should be the overarching and collective National Conscience to ensure we do not stray from the original vision of happiness for the people while we go about achieving other national goals. “I believe that GNH today is a bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth.”
His Majesty believes we need to remain open to new ways of achieving Gross National Happiness. “What GNH is will never change but how we achieve GNH will,” he told this year’s crop of Bhutanese university graduates. “A changing world will present new challenges and opportunities to Bhutan and it is the responsibility of every generation to find new ways of achieving the goals of GNH.”
His Majesty envisions a strong economy built on the foundations of a strong and stable government. This will be a competitive economy powered by highly motivated and merit based society. He believes it is no longer enough for Bhutanese professionals to be satisfied with being the best in Bhutan but strive to be the best wherever we go in the world.
“Bhutan must not tolerate mediocrity,” he says. “We must be achievers, we must excel.”
Lest the point be lost, His Majesty emphasizes that “when I speak of success and excellence, I’m actually speaking of our country’s survival in this modern world.”
A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
His Majesty believes that economic success must be achieved by simultaneously strengthening the education system, by making the bureaucracy more effective, strengthening the private sector, inculcating respect for law, improving infrastructure, enhancing good leadership and by promoting innovation, enterprise, dynamism and strong work ethics. “If we can do all this,” His Majesty says. “then a strong economy will be just one of the many great rewards for Bhutan.”
“These are all National Wealth that will serve Bhutan forever, irrespective of the challenges that lie ahead of us.”
A VIBRANT DEMOCRACY
A vibrant democracy must be founded on the dual pillars of a stable government and a strong and prosperous economy. Next, His Majesty says, for the democratic system to work, for a democracy that will fulfill the aspirations of the people, the Bhutanese people must adopt the ideals of democracy, the principles of democracy. We must build a democratic culture. “Our great strength has been our political stability,” says His Majesty. “Now if we can build a strong economy, we will have the unshakeable foundations for a vibrant democracy.”
A NATION FOUNDED ON A HIGHER SENSE OF PURPOSE
His Majesty emphasizes the importance of having a singularly cohesive and higher sense of national purpose which should guide us in everything we do. “We must remember that the nation is most important and held high above us all as individuals,” His Majesty says. “I firmly believe that we must not forget that first and most importantly we are all the same—we are citizens of one small nation. We must be united—all of us.”
“We should be thinking about how to serve the same country, fulfill our aspirations and achieve the same goals for our future generations,” His Majesty says. “We must always be One Nation with One Vision in our convictions and efforts.”