His Majesty inaugurates RIGSS a premier new think tank for Bhutan

His Majesty the King graced the opening ceremony of the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS) in Phuentsholing on Thursday. The institute was established as a Royal Initiative of His Majesty the King with the mandate or vision to promote excellence in governance, leadership and strategic studies.

His Majesty the King under whose patronage the institute was established is also the Chairman of the Institutes Governing body.

The composition of the members of the governing body gives an idea on the multi faceted and important nature of the institute.

The members of the Governing body are RCSC Chairman Lyonpo Thinley Gyamtsho as Vice Chairman with members like Chief Operations Officer, RBA Major General Batoo Tshering , RUB Vice Chancellor Dasho Pema Thinley, Foreign Secretary Yeshey Dorji, Education Secretary Sangay Zam, Director, Bureau of Law & Order Karma T. Namgyal, DHI CEO Karma Yonten and Chewang Rinzin, Project Coordinator, RIGSS as member secretary.

The Institute has listed down some important missions on its website. It aims to provide high-quality leadership training and education that are Bhutan-centric and globally relevant, promote critical analysis of public policies and research works that influence real-life policy decisions and serve as a think-tank for governmental, non-governmental, private and corporate organizations.

It will also provide a platform for leaders from different sectors to interact and brainstorm on critical national issues and network with leading national and international institutions and agencies to collaborate on research studies and training programs, and to allow for sharing of resources for mutual benefit

To achieve its visions and mission RIGSS will use strategies like recruiting top-notch faculty members, attracting the best candidates, providing high quality training and engaging in high-impact research activities.

It will ensure diversity of students, faculty and programs to promote diversity of ideas, develop a global profile and reach through institutional linkages, and upgrading the quality of its programs and adopting the best practices in the operation of the institute.

The rationale of the institute is stated as, “Creating a premier institute in the country for leadership, governance and strategic studies is the vision of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Fifth King of Bhutan. This noble vision signifies the paramount importance His Majesty attaches to the development of intellectual capacity of our leaders and the promotion of good governance in the country as a cornerstone of Bhutan’s long term peace, prosperity and unity.”

RIGSS is, therefore, being established to provide a forum to train both incumbent and potential leaders in all major areas of nation building.

The website says that as Bhutan enters a new era in its evolution as a sovereign nation state, RIGSS offers yet another avenue for Bhutan’s leaders to come together and generate the ideas that provide solutions to the challenges Bhutan face’s as a small and vulnerable society.

The institute has an eminent 13 member faculty so far of which the six Bhutanese faculty members are ACC Chairperson Dasho Neten Zangmo, Head of Center of Bhutan Studies Dasho Karma Ura, GNHC Secretary Karma Tshiteem, National Council Thrizin Sonam Kinga and NC Eminent member Tashi Wangyal.

Other foreign faculty members are Adrian Chan from Singapore with expertise in leadership development, Professor Anup K. Sinha at Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Secretary of the Technology Development Board, GoI Harkesh Mittal, Horacio Falcão who is an affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences with INSEAD where he has been teaching both Negotiation and International Management.

Other faculty members areLt General (Retd) Dr. Rajesh Kochar as former Chief of Staff of the Army Training Command, of the Indian Army, and Dean R. Sudarshan who has had distinguished careers in research, development programme design and implementation, and governance working with theSt. John’s College, University of Cambridge and UNDP and the Ford Foundation with several international publications.

Ms. Olivia Baciu is international development consultant, trainer, and evaluator, having worked in 21 countries.

The Institute currently has a 4 week Senior Executive Leadership Programme (SELP). It is specifically designed for senior public service officials and corporate executives who face the challenges of governance and decision-making The first week of the course is called the ‘Bhutan module’ and focuses mainly on political history, structure, transition to

democracy, five years plans and long term developmental goals, economic self reliance, national security and foreign relations.

The second week called governance and leadership focuses on Self-management and Leadership, Ethics, Integrity and Professionalism in Public Service, Effective Negotiation, Managing Organizational Change,Evaluation and Monitoring Tools,Good Governance, and Human Rights. The third week’s module termed ‘The political economy of public policy’ focuses on Bhutan’s Economic Opportunities and Vulnerabilities, the Process and Politics of Policy Making, Infrastructure, Investment and Development, SMEs, SOEs and Economic Development, Public Finance, Riding the Waves of Globalization- Strategies for Bhutan and Democracy: Institutions and Politics of Resource Allocation.

The fourth week is an overseas field visit to a selected foreign country will allow participants to discuss with relevant institutions and officials in that country a real-life policy,management,governance issue. Participants will get to apply leadership skills and knowledge acquired during the preceding weeks of classroom sessions to this practical issue and propose a viable strategic plan. Other features of the program are policy debates on contentious issues and high quality lectures on Fridays and a 90 percent attendance will be required to avail the course certificate.

There are currently 23 mainly senior people from various government agencies taking the course. These are 2 Dzongdas, 2 Drangpons, 1 officers from each ministry, 2 members from Constitutional Bodies, 2 members from Autonomous agencies, 1 each from the RBA, RBG and RBP and two from government owned corporations.

In the future RIGSS will also aim to provide tailor made courses to Parliamentarians, media professionals, local leaders and etc.

The institute was established due to generous support from the Government of India.

The inaugural session was also attended by Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Ministers, Secretaries and Drangpons.

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