The Youngest Minister of Bhutan

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

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