Bhutan Science Leadership Institute – Launch

(July 16 to 29, 2019)

July saw the launch of a new initiative to train monastic teacher-leaders to bring enriching engagement between science and Buddhism to their community.  The two-week institute focused on conceptual foundations of chemistry and neuroscience and began developing leadership activities they will implement starting next year. The 35 participants in the workshop were laity-school and monastic teachers, however, none of them had previously studied science. They represented 18 of the 20 districts of Bhutan, and combined reach approximately 30,000 students each year. Most taught high-school aged students, and two major subjects, that included: language (Dzongkar), Buddhist philosophy, human values, and life skills. When discussing leadership, they reported: kindness, empathy, fairness, hard work, commitment, loyalty, confidence, patience, wisdom, and honesty among the leadership characteristics they associate with great leaders. Bhutan is changing fast, and the teacher-leaders joining the institute shared concerns for students mental health, such as increasing cases of depression, a slow but felt decline of cultural and community values, and unemployment among recent college graduates.