December 26, 2014–Dr. Narain Batra, professor of communications and diplomacy at Norwich University, recently completed a two-week research trip to Bhutan, where he laid the groundwork for his new book on how communications technology is transforming a country that has constitutionally mandated protection of the environment.
During his stay in Bhutan, he interviewed more than a dozen sources, including the Vice Chancellor (President) and Academic Manager (Vice President) of Royal University of Bhutan; an editor of Kuensel, a daily newspaper; and a group of doctors at the National Referral Hospital. He also spoke to telecommunications experts, students, and Buddhist monks at various monasteries.
Bhutan, a Switzerland-sized country of 740,000 inhabitants nestled in the eastern Himalayan Mountains, is known for its emphasis on “Gross National Happiness,” instead of Gross Domestic Product and is the only country in the world where environment protection is constitutionally mandated.
Bhutan is a member of South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a group of countries that are practicing democracies aiming to form an economic union despite all of their political problems, civil wars, internal insurgencies, and struggles with terrorism.