A young leader of Bhutan emerged from Thrimshing, Trashigang at the age of 32. Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji is now considered to be the youngest minister of the country. He said, “It is a huge responsibility that I am shouldering at this age. I will give my best and strive to live up to the expectations of the people.” He said that he feels happy and privileged.
Lyonpo Ugeyn Dorji was born as a son of farmer in remote Thrimshing. He grew up herding cattle, walking barefoot and sleeping in cattle sheds. Nevertheless, on November 7, he achieved a huge milestone of his life by becoming the newly appointed minister of Labour and Human Resources. He said, “I feel it’s through grit, determination, and some amount of luck that I managed to rise above the circumstances of my birth.”
Lyonpo graduated from Sherubtse College with a Bachelor’s degree in Dzongkha and English. He also pursued Masters in public policy at Lee Kuan Yew School, Singapore. He served as a Desk Officer in SAARC and other regional organizations in foreign ministry. He worked as a research assistant at Institute of water policy and served as a reporter in Bhutan Today.
His primary schooling days started when the government opened a primary school in his village during the time when the nation prioritized education to its people. Such policies implemented by the government made him understand how important and effective they are, to improve the lives of the less fortunate people.
As a child, he wanted to be a hermit because he believed that he would fulfill his pursuit of happiness in being one amid his poverty and sufferings. However, with the establishment of democracy in 2008, “It gave me a new meaning – here was the alternative pathway to finding happiness for not only myself but also hundreds of thousands of people around me,” said the minister.
In 2011, he gave up being a reporter and joined politics to stand for the local government election. However, he lost to his uncle. He then pushed himself in the next couple of years and sat for the Royal Civil Service Examination. After topping the examination, he worked in foreign ministry until he resigned, giving up a good foreign posting to race for the new government election. He said, “I wanted to make a difference in our society. Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa approached me to join politics – that is how I got into politics.”
Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said “My plans are not different from my party’s plan.” Thereby, fulfilling the pledges made by the government is from where he will start working. The government has pledged to establish an employment and livelihood corporations with goals to strategically counter and achieve the reduction of the country’s unemployment issue. The ministry will support private sectors to create 5,000 jobs annually to achieve full employment and also increase the daily wage to Nu. 450. The government plans to reintroduce one year national service program for the graduates to gain experience, learn about the national issues and plan career.
Lyonpo likes to spend time reading, thinking and writing. He said that he is an optimist. He is quite resolute and committed in achieving his goals once he is convinced of its worthiness. He wishes happiness to the people of the country. He is a person who is devoted and faithful to the Tsa- Wa-Sum. He said, “I will serve with courage, determination and loyalty.”
By Kinley Wangchuk