Date of Award


First Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain

Second Advisor

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Third Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer


Bhutan is known as the world’s happiest country. It has great natural beauty and a variety 8 of traditions and cultures. There are many different tribes of people living in Bhutan who practice different social and religious customs, and speak a variety of languages.

Only a few decades ago, the small kingdom of Bhutan opened itself to western influences. The 3rd King, Jigme Dorji Wanchuck, is considered the father of modern Bhutan. The Bhutanese development strategy focuses on the preservation of socioeconomic, ecological and cultural characteristics of the country, as well as on the wellbeing of the Bhutanese population through the policy of “ Gross National Happiness” or GNH. The Gross National Happiness theory is based on the “four pillars” that move our country towards “ Gross National Happiness.” The four pillars are good governance, preservation and promotion of the national and cultural heritage, protection of the environment and sustainability for future generations.

I have focused mainly on Merak because of my recent expedition. I have photos of Brokpa women, a six year old school boy, a few interviews and a two minutes long film on Merak. Some chapters focus on gender roles in tourism and Bhutanese society. My thesis covers some recent developments in Bhutan and the policies on which tourism there is based: " low volume, high value," sustainability and eco-friendliness, and the preservation of the culture and traditions of Bhutan.


Ask at the Alumni Library circulation desk for the companion piece that accompanies this thesis.

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