Bhutan: A Memorandum of Understanding

Posted: December 15, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Memorandum of Understanding Signed between Bhutan Ecological Society, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research, and The School for Field Studies

On December 11, 2017 in Thimphu, Bhutan, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER), and the School for Field Studies (SFS).

The purpose of the partnership is to provide U.S. undergraduate students, Bhutanese university students, and Bhutanese lecturers and scientists the opportunity to gain technical skills and field–based environmental research experience at the SFS Center for Himalayan Environment and Development Studies in Paro, Bhutan.

A partnership between SFS and UWICER began in 2010 and to date, approximately 250 undergraduate students have participated in academic programming focused on environmental studies and attaining field research skills in Bhutan. The partnership provides opportunities for exchange and collaboration between U.S. and Bhutanese scientists. After 7 years of successful partnership, BES joins the team supporting the execution of the academic program, and further providing a platform for communicating science and research results to a larger and more varied audience throughout Bhutan and the South Asia region.

SFS President, Dr. James Cramer, said that the partnership is important to SFS as the students who attend the program better understand the complexities and realities of conservation and environmental science, and ultimately become not only leading environmental stewards of the future, but lifelong ambassadors to Bhutan.

Vice President of BES, Dr. Nawang Norbu, said that being involved in the partnership allows BES to enhance research and innovation efforts to promote an environmental sustainability in Bhutan.

Bhutan Secretary of Agriculture, Rinzin Dorji, said SFS is a long-standing partner of UWICER, and the two institutions have provided an important platform for U.S. and Bhutanese students and scientists to engage in environmental conservation.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck attended the MoU signing in support of the partnership and the shared vision of promoting both conservation and academic exchange.

SFS is currently accepting applications for the summer 2018 6-week session and the fall 2018 semester in Bhutan. For more information or to apply to this program, please visit fieldstudies.org/centers/bhutan/.

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CONTACT: Lora Catalano, Institutional Relations and Enrollment Manager, lcatalano@fieldstudies.org.

About The School for Field Studies: For more than 35 years, The School for Field Studies (SFS), the United States’ largest environmental study abroad program for college undergraduates, has combined hands-on, multi-disciplinary environmental studies with scientific research to propose sustainable solutions to critical environmental problems. SFS students work with local communities to discover practical ways to manage their natural resources, and in the process undergo a transformational experience that helps them to advance their careers as skilled professionals and to become globally aware citizens. Visit www.fieldstudies.org.

About The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research: The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER) is a government-based research and training institute that is part of Bhutan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in the Department of Forests and Park Services. UWICER strives to foster better stewardship of our natural heritage – land, water, air and species therein – through rigorous science based research and transmission of cutting-edge science results to field practitioners, environmental leaders and policy makers. UWICER appreciates and seeks to understand human impacts and impacts on humans by studying social patterns and economic implications of management and policy interventions. As part of their initiative to encourage discourses and dialogue within the environmental community, they regularly organize seminars and host conferences at both national and international level. Visit: uwice.gov.bt.

About the Bhutan Ecological Society: The Bhutan Ecological Society plays a vital and catalytic role at the intersection of science, entrepreneurship, policy, business and ecological resilience in Bhutan. BES performs analysis to understand the basic opportunities and challenges associated with ecology and the environment, paying special attention to climate change, energy, food, water, forests and urban landscapes. BES works to leverage the power of enterprise, economics and business to reap substantial and sustainable rewards to help foster wellbeing and prosperity while ensuring the integrity of our ecological systems. BES educates and informs to transfer best practices, provide insights and inspire positive transformation. BES views ecology as the bedrock upon which the pillars of wellbeing and prosperity are supported. Visit bes.org.bt.