The Society of International Business Fellows goes to Bhutan.
Special Interest Group
"Individual commitment to a group effort—
that is what makes a team work, a company work,
a society work, a civilization work."
One of R. Crusoe’s greatest pleasures is doing our part to create a true once-in-a-lifetime journey for the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF), an exceptional nonprofit organization that works to advance global understanding and the competitiveness of its members through unique resources, educational experiences, and relationships.
What better way to learn about one of the world’s youngest democracies than to travel there and meet the country’s movers and shakers?
In May 2008, SIBF gathered 31 members to travel to Bhutan, where the king had recently ceded power and the first national elections had been held.
R. Crusoe worked with the talented SIBF Director of Programs Shannon Williams and other experts to develop a first-ever-of-its-kind program in Bhutan.
Alex Kerr, an American expat and pan-Asian culture specialist, was the first on board.
Next, came Dasho Benji, one of Bhutan’s most passionate environmental conservation advocates. He’s held positions of power in Bhutan for more than 30 years, from justice of the Thimphu High Court to minister of the Social Services Department, and beyond
The team members put their heads together to organize a journey that connected SIBF members to noteworthy citizens such as business leaders in Thimphu, the country’s capital; business students, who enthusiastically encouraged SIBF members to invest in their country; an entrepreneur in the central part of the country; Kunzang Choden, who focuses on women’s issues and folklore; and a leader in the arts, who presented a private music and dance event.
Dare we say the highlight was meeting former Prime Minister Jigme Thinley and congratulating him on his country’s peaceful inaugural elections?
Said SIBF member Bill Starnes: “Congratulations to R. Crusoe on putting together another fantastic journey for SIBF! Arranging for us to meet the first elected prime minister of the world’s newest democracy was a real coup. Your standards of excellence are now legendary in Bhutan.”
R. Crusoe is also delighted with the results of this collective effort. And we’re thankful for the insight SIBF members gained—no better described than by the brilliant and beautiful SIBF member, Jane Shivers, at the farewell dinner:
So what will the future of Bhutan be?
Hopefully no Starbucks, KFC, or Gucci.
The country will suffer growing pains.
Modernizing while assuring culture and beauty remain.
So back to U.S. for burgers (hold the peppers) and fries.
Hopefully we’re more compassionate and wise.
We wish the people of Bhutan the best.
May they truly achieve Gross National Happiness.