On 11 November 2021, the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law (JSW Law), which prepares exceptional Bhutanese students to become future leaders of the country, announced a special Fund to support the law school’s operations during challenging times.
Dean Sangay Dorgee launched The JSW Law Sustainability Fund at a special virtual event featuring Bhutan’s Health Minister, The Honorable Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, and Chair of global law firm White & Case LLP, Mr. Hugh Verrier. Mr. Eric Lemelson, President of the Karuna Foundation, sent a special video greeting from the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland. With a goal of raising US$500,000, the Fund will support the law school’s transition to a new campus and the roll-out of new programs for students and staff.
Lyonpo Dechen gave the keynote address, which focused on Bhutan’s world-acclaimed response to Covid-19. She thanked His Majesty the King as well as Bhutan’s many well-wishers from around the world for enabling the country to avert a major public health crisis. Lynopo Dechen looked back on key factors for Bhutan’s success, which she summarized as Solidarity, a whole of society approach, and Science, with mask wearing being seen as a civic responsibility, for example. She then presented the way forward and noted the key role of institutions such as JSW Law in producing the capable and confident global citizens that the country needs to achieve security and “build back a better Bhutan for tomorrow.”
Following questions from members of the audience, moderated by JSW Law lecturer Kesang Wangmo, Dean Sangay thanked the donors to JSW Law and introduced Mr. Hugh Verrier, one of the law school’s earliest and most fervent supporters. Mr. Verrier explained why he feels the preparation of trained lawyers is essential for Bhutan’s development, and, inspired by JSW Law’s progress, announced an exciting opportunity: he and Mr. Lemelson have issued a challenge grant to jump-start the Sustainability Fund. They will match every gift, dollar for dollar, up to a total of US$40,000. “We believe more than ever in the mission of JSW Law,” he said. “Please do join us on this very special journey.”
Fifth year student Kuenley Lhaden Gyaltshen explained how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted students, and expressed appreciation to the JSW Law leadership and administration for their thoughtful care during these difficult times. She especially thanked Mr. Verrier for his early and unstinting support, noting that JSW School of Law simply would not exist without him.
Dean Sangay closed the event by playing a video greeting sent by Mr. Lemelson from the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland. Mr. Lemelson explained Bhutan’s unique role in forging a path away from the division and populism affecting our world today, including the important role of JSW Law in advancing sustainable development and conflict resolution. “I am supporting JSW Law in its campaign,” he said. “I would greatly appreciate your support in helping JSW Law continue its work and continue finding Bhutan’s unique pathway to leadership — small but mighty — and important policy approaches that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Dean Sangay thanked Mr. Lemelson and announced the JSW Law Sustainability Webinar Series, with virtual events taking place over the next few months on subjects ranging from entrepreneurship to environmental protection to cultural preservation. Please see the JSW Law Sustainability Fund website for the schedule of upcoming events and for information about how to give to the Fund.