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Promoting Peace & Reconciliation in Bhutan

Bhutan, acclaimed as the happiest place on earth, presents a contrasting reality for many forcibly displaced individuals. In New Hampshire, tens of thousands of these individuals have found a new home, enriching the state's cultural and economic landscape. Despite Bhutan's strategic location between India and China, with the latter claiming a significant portion of its land, awareness about the country's complexities remains limited.

The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, along with other organizations, hosted a free virtual discussion on Building Peace & Reconciliation in Bhutan. Community leaders Suraj Budathoki and Khara Timsina shared insights into restoring family ties, addressing past harms with the Bhutanese government, and navigating the challenges faced by the nation and its displaced populations in an increasingly challenging world. 

About the Speakers

Suraj Budathoki is a doctoral student at Saybrook University, California, exploring approaches to transform societies in conflict into harmonious and peaceful communities. He has a BA in Political Science from Southern New Hampshire University and MA in International Relations from Norwich University. In 2022, he co-founded the nonprofit Peace Initiative Bhutan, fostering positive peace and reconciliation in Bhutan and its diaspora. He aims to spend his life in peacebuilding work.

Mr. Khara Timsina is the Executive Director of the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP). He was born in Bhutan, lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for nearly two decades and came to the US in 2009. He cofounded BCAP in 2012. He served on Racial Equity Subcommittee on COVID Vaccination of Governor Tom Wolf’s Office of Advocacy & Reform and served as a Co-Chair of the Allegheny County’s DHS Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council for three years.

Mr. Timsina was one among the eight refugee leaders nationwide recognized by the Obama Administration at the White House in Washington DC in 2017 for his contribution on making US more welcoming by serving his fellow refugees in western Pennsylvania. He was awarded Advancing PA Forward Award by Governor Tom Wolf and Best Community Service Award by Global Bhutanese Organization in 2022. He also appeared on The Power of Diversity 2023: AAPI 100 List. This past January he was one among others to receive Righteous Among the Neighbors Award from The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and Light Education Initiative.

He actively engages with local municipalities in the Pittsburgh area advocating for and educating his community. Outside his regular work at the community organization, he co-runs Nepali Interpretation and Translation (NIT Inc) business catering to the translation and interpretation needs of the institution in Pittsburgh.

He lives with his wife and two children in Pittsburgh.

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