The MA Contemplative Education program is very fortunate to host in an ongoing way two faculty from the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) as degree-seeking members of our student cohort. The participation by the RUB faculty in program courses continues to deeply enrich all those involved. The RUB faculty report a profound transformation in how they approach teaching their Bhutanese students. Their presence in the MA cohorts also provides meaningful diversity in cultural and learning experiences for our other MA students.
The Naropa scholarship for RUB faculty in the MA Contemplative Education program is one of the ongoing outcomes of the partnership between RUB and Naropa University. In 2009, Richard Brown, founder of and teacher in Naropa University's Contemplative Education Department, was invited to assist Bhutan in an overhaul of the country's education system. Operating for many years under the British style system so prevalent in South Asia, this small Buddhist country in the Himalayas wished for an educational system more in tune with their values of Gross National Happiness. Bhutan sought the expertise of scholars in Contemplative Education to bring more contemplative and holistic practices into their schools. In all, twenty-five experts from eighteen different countries were asked to participate. Richard, heading a small group of Naropa University faculty, joined the other invited world experts along with Bhutanese students, educators, and officials for a week-long workshop that has laid the foundation for Bhutan's educational reform.