1/24: Intro to the Blog (First Chris Entry)

Tue 1/24/12:  10 hours before leaving

My farsighted colleague, Ari Kissiloff, made me do this blog.  I told Ari that I would not have the time, that I am training nearly every day, and that this was a Buddhist nation and I needed to limit my multitasking.  But Ari was persistent and smart, and the possibility of making this an international 2.0 experience hooked me.

I want this blog to be interactive, with my American friends, family, colleagues and students contributing along with my new friends and colleagues in Bhutan.  My plan is to post catalysts for conversation, brief notes on things about Bhutan that strike me as significant, and to ask questions that point to inspirations and challenges of democratic citizenship, mediated change, critical thinking and education for sustainability – that tie my Shangri Las of Bhutan and Ithaca.

If Ithaca New York is, as we says on some bumpers, “10 square miles surrounded by reality,” then Bhutan is an even more Gorgeous 14,824 square miles surrounded by an even harsher reality.  While I have been asked to teach teachers media literacy, my Velcro Buds are on hyper alert to learn what I can from this land of Gross National Happiness.

So I will share some stories from my observations and learning about Bhutan.  If you feel so moved please post a comment or a question of your own that may add a link to this ad hoc global village.

Bhutan is a land of stories that challenges the concepts of myth and reality.  So don’t hesitate to question my sourcing but also keep open to the possibilities that Bhutan may hold visions beyond our expectations.

Story #1, Making Choices
Like all developing nations, Bhutan seeks economic opportunities to address the material needs of the people.  One promising option was the development of a commercial silk industry.  But this would have required the dropping of living silk worms into boiling water.  Instead the Bhutanese wait till each silk worm crawls out of its cocoon before harvesting the silk, leading to a less commercially viable product.

What might this say about Bhutan?

Chris

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