The RIGSS Blog

To stimulate analysis, innovation, and forward thinking, and generate new ideas and insight
on subjects that matter in 21st Century Bhutan.
A humble tribute to celebrate learning, leadership and service that His Majesty The King continues to champion.

Launched on 21st February 2021 to commemorate the 41st Birthday of His Majesty The King

The views and opinions expressed in the articles on the RIGSS Blog are that of the authors and do not represent the views of the institute.


POSTED ON February 21, 2021
Pempa Tshering
Senior Analyst, DHI

With the blessings of the Triple Gem and our people's good fortune, Bhutan has always been blessed with selfless Monarchs. In 2006, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo handed over the reigns of Kingship to His Majesty The King, expressing that the then Crown Prince had a genuine interest in serving the country and looking after the people's welfare. These prophetic words indeed came true, as His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has ushered in a new era of peace, prosperity, and happiness for all Bhutanese people. On 21st February, as the Nation celebrates our beloved King's 41st birth anniversary, here is a small reflection of what The Druk Gyalpo has accomplished in His 15 years of glorious reign.

Foreign Relations

In matters of foreign policy, our King has proven to be an impeccable statesman strengthening diplomatic relationships with all countries, and in particular with our closest neighbour and friend, India. From the very beginning, His Majesty declared that "Indo-Bhutan Friendship is indispensable for the future success of Bhutan." His Majesty made it a point to regularly visit India and invite Indian leaders to visit Bhutan, to strengthen the ties of friendship between the two nations. Bhutan is the only country to have been accorded four invitations for a head of state to grace India's Republic Day celebrations as Chief Guest. The fact that India chose Bhutan as the first country to provide the COVID-19 vaccine is a further testimony of the friendship between the two nations. His Majesty has always accorded topmost priority to fostering the Indo-Bhutan relationship.

Besides India, Bhutans immediate neighbour is China. Although there is no formal diplomatic relationship with China, His Majesty The King has maintained a good relationship with China. Sometime in 2015, all were pleasantly surprised to read an article in Kuensel by the Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yucheng, talking candidly about his admiration for our Kings and Bhutan's development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. With His Majestys guidance, Bhutan was able to play her part in peacefully resolving the escalating situation that arose in Doklam in 2017.

His Majesty has uplifted Bhutan's stature by leaps and bounds with His humility and diplomacy on the international stage. Our relationships with Thailand, Japan, and Singapore has become strengthened in the past decade and a half, especially after His Majesty visited these countries. In 2015, His Majesty dispatched a 52-member team to Nepal to assist in earthquake relief operations. This gesture of His Majesty immensely helped Bhutan build the goodwill of Bhutanese in Nepal. With His Majesty's intervention, Bhutan was able to join the UN peacekeeping missions to contribute in our small way to global peace and security. Out of regards and affection, a Japanese woman left about USD 150,000 in her will to be used for His Majestys noble Royal Initiatives in 2011. Such stories only reiterate that our King's leadership is admired beyond our borders.

Citizen Welfare

In one remote village of Bhutan, a woman was condemned and isolated by her community. They were under the strong superstition that she was a "poison giver." During a Royal visit to that village, His Majesty intentionally took Ara from the woman to dispel this thought from her community. Everywhere we go, there are similar accounts of how His Majesty touched the lives of citizens from all walks of life. Immediately after ascending the Golden Throne, His Majesty initiated the nationalization of sand, stone, and timber to bring down the cost of these raw materials. His Majesty also began nationwide land reforms in 2007, and as of 2020, 131,801 beneficiaries were granted 137,745 acres of land across the country. Whenever natural disaster struck Bhutan, His Majestys personal guidance to relief efforts and the care and compassion for victims have enabled quick recovery. We have seen how His Majesty personally oversaw the rehabilitation works after every calamity. Through the Royal Kidu programs, His Majesty has directly helped hundreds of needy and vulnerable people by granting them a living allowance, land, citizenship, scholarship, medical assistance, and numerous other Kidu.

The impact of COVID-19 on our economy and people would have been entirely different if it was not for His Majesty's intervention. More than 35,000 people who lost their livelihood during the pandemic continue to be supported through the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu. Likewise, following His Majesty's command, commercial entities and individuals were given loan deferment and interest waivers as a means to support them in this difficult time.

Such is the greatness of our King that His benevolence has touched all sections of the society. The Civil Service Award system recognizes civil servants and employees of state-owned companies by granting them service medals and certificates from His Majesty the King. The King has always looked after uniform personnel and their families' welfare by providing them higher remuneration, good pension schemes, and other benefits through systems like project HOPE. The construction of affordable houses in Phuentsholing and Goensho Tshamkhang for the elderly at Wangsisina are other instances of how His Majesty supports economically disadvantaged citizens.

His Majesty started the Royal Highland Festival to improve the highlanders' economic condition and to showcase highland culture as Bhutan's pride. Based on the vision set by His Majesty, the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan was able to bring about numerous initiatives to convert the country into a cashless digital economy, including improving access to finance and lowering interest rates of loans. In recognition of His Majestys exceptional leadership, UNDP presented the Special Recognition Award to His Majesty for advancing Bhutanese people's wellbeing.


In the last 14 years, His Majesty had set up several strategic institutions. From the efficient functioning of these institutions, we realize His Majesty's far-sighted vision in setting them up for our long-term benefit. The Druk Holding and Investments Limited (DHI) was established to undertake commercial activities on behalf of the government and bring about performance excellence and corporate governance. The Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS) in Phuentsholing was established as a premier leadership institute and a think tank to promote leadership development and research. The Royal Academy in Paro is yet another visionary initiative to provide holistic education to enable students to realize their full potential to nurture successive generations of leaders. Similarly, the De-Suung program was introduced to instill the spirit of volunteerism and encourage all citizens to appreciate the sense of community, harmony, and cooperation. With their honor code of "Service before Self," the 18,000 plus Desuups today have become an integral support system, assisting different agencies during national events, celebrations, and disasters.


During the coronation address in 2008, His Majesty stated that the youth are the most important citizens of our country. His Majesty reassured, "I will not rest until I have given you the inspiration, knowledge, and skills so that you will not only fulfil your own aspirations but be of immense worth to the nation." His Majesty has worked tirelessly to fulfill this promise. Upon Royal command, various youth engagement programs and camps are held annually to engage our youth meaningfully. His Majesty often reminds our youth to make excellence and success a lifelong pursuit. During royal tours, His Majesty always makes it a point to meet students, spend time and engage with them. His Majesty grants an exclusive audience to the academic toppers every year. The King also awards personally signed certificates to all excelling students. His Majesty encourages students to read, telling them that by reading even ten pages a day they will have read at least 12 books a year. His Majesty also ensures to converse with students who are on the verge of entering the job market through the audience during the National Graduate Orientation Program and the RUB Convocation Program.

All the youth-focused initiatives taken so far have ultimately culminated into a special once-in-a-lifetime program called Gyalsung or the National Service. The Gyalsung program has germinated as a result of the deep love His Majesty has for the youth of our country. The year-long training for all youth will make them strong independent thinkers capable of better serving their family, community, and country. With His Majesty as the champion behind Gyalsung, a bright future awaits the youth of our country.

Symbol of Sovereignty, Unity, and Peace

The greatest gift that His Majesty has granted us is taking forward Drukgyal Zhipa's legacy of safeguarding our sovereignty and keeping Bhutan united and peaceful. Bhutan has experienced three elections so far. His Majesty is a symbol of unity for the people of Bhutan- the Bhutanese are able to remain as a single family through the otherwise divisiveness that comes with political differences.

In Royal addresses, His Majesty commands the public servants to render their cooperation to the elected governments to ensure continuity and fulfill the national objectives. In a close-knit society, any division on the grounds of politics, religion, region, language, or race can cause irreparable damage. But with His Majesty at the helm, we are confident that divisions and differences of any degree will be handled with the greatest of care. His Majesty has stated time and again that nothing can harm our country if we stay united like members of a closely bonded family.

The Guardian Deities of Bhutan had indeed answered the prayers of His Majesty Drukgyal Zhipa for Bhutan's bright future under the new King. Bhutan is today a happy, secured, and progressive Nation ever ready to reap the opportunities of the 21st century. On this auspicious occasion of His Majesty’s 41st Birthday, we would like to offer our deepest gratitude to His Majesty for His wise leadership and unconditional love, and our humble prayers and good wishes for His long life, good health, and happiness.



POSTED ON February 21, 2021
Dorji Dhradhul
Director General, Tourism Council of Bhutan


POSTED ON February 21, 2021
Tshering Wangchuk
Former Managing Director, BBS


POSTED ON August 26, 2021
Douglas OLoughlin
Faculty, Organization Development and Change Management, RIGSS


POSTED ON September 01, 2021
Douglas OLoughlin
Faculty, Organization Development and Change Management, RIGSS


POSTED ON December 10, 2021
Norman New
Faculty, Strengths Advocate/Mindfulness Coach/Career Strategist, RIGSS