Norwich’s Peace and War Center Presents “An Introduction to Bhutan: Politics, Ethnic Cleansing, Gross National Happiness and Uncertain Futures of Minorities & Evicted Bhutanese”


Feb. 22, 2017

The Peace and War Center at Norwich University presents Suraj Budathoki for a talk entitled, “An Introduction to Bhutan: Politics, Ethnic Cleansing, Gross National Happiness and Uncertain Futures of Minorities & Evicted Bhutanese.”

This event is free and open to the public and will be held on Friday, March 3, from 11:30-12:30 p.m. in the Kreitzberg Library Todd Multipurpose Room.

Budathoki was expelled from Bhutan with his family at age nine when that country’s government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. He went to schools in a refugee camp in Nepal and crushed rocks with a hammer to make money for his family. Budathoki came to Manchester, N.H., in 2009 at age 28 as part of the United States refugee resettlement program and immediately found entry-level employment. Only five years later he was able to purchase a home for himself, his wife, and young daughter, and son and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University. He is currently a student in Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in International Relations program.

Budathoki is a founding member of the non-profit Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire. His work aims to involve the U.S. Congress to aid family reunification, promotion and protection of human rights in Bhutan, and repatriation of refugees from refugee camps, to resolve these problems and build sustainable peace in Bhutan.

This is background for Budathoki’s talk:

Although it is known as the land of happiness, Bhutan has issues that have made it difficult for the Lhotshampa population to live in Bhutan. More than 20 percent of Bhutan’s population was driven out of their homes in the early 1990s when Bhutan considered implementing its ‘one nation, one people’ policy, changing the existing citizenship act twice, followed by a census in 1985.

After living in refugee camps in Nepal for over two decades, more than 95,000 Bhutanese found a new reason to live in this great nation. But Bhutan continues to enjoy foreign aid and continue to suppress the minority population. 

Currently there are more than 10,000 refugees living in camps in Nepal waiting to go back to their home. Bhutan’s authoritarian king continues to suppress its people, while receiving foreign aid in the name of Gross National Happiness. At the heart of GNH, human rights abuses are rampant, families are separated, and citizenship rights are denied to its people.

There will be discussion as time permits.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) 

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