On November 15, 2013, the Yale Himalaya Initiative hosted “Environment, Livelihood and Culture: A Round Table Discussion on Collaborative Research Partnerships in Bhutan.” Representatives from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale’s Department of Religious Studies, the Yale Himalaya Initiative, and the Bhutan Foundation gathered for this lecture and panel discussion on the 20-year, ongoing partnerships between Yale and Bhutan.
Dr. Timothy Gregoire, from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, shared his story of the partnership between the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Bhutan that began over 20 years ago when Mr. Edward Bass, Dr. William Burch, Dr. Bruce Bunting, and the World Wildlife Fund started a program to train and professionalize Bhutanese scientists–a program that continues to grow.
The Bhutan Foundation’s Ms. Tshering Yangzom talked about the partnership between the Yale School of Public Health and the Royal Institute of Health Sciences (RIHS) in Bhutan. Through this program, RIHS will be able to build capacity of their faculty members and the curriculum of their new undergraduate degree in public health and pursue collaborative public health research between Yale and RIHS.
Additional panelists included Mr. Edward Cook, from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, who talked about his work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan, on the use of tree-ring research to improve our understanding of past climate and environmental history. Mr. Andrew Quintman from Yale’s Department of Religious Studies and Mr. Mark Turin from the Yale Himalaya Initiative, work with partners in Bhutan in the field of cultural preservation, including using technology to analyze historic temple murals, completing an expansive survey of languages, oral histories, and more, and documenting many other aspects of cultural history.
The Bhutan Foundation continues to build partnerships between institutions in the United States and our local partners in Bhutan to help develop programs identified by the Bhutanese in critical areas.