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A University of Canterbury (UC) graduate, who is assistant to the King of Bhutan, has been selected as a 2013 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Nima Tshering, who graduated from UC with a Master of Engineering Management degree, said he was honoured to be named a Young Global Leader by the forum.
About 200 people from 70 countries have been named young global leaders this year including an Academy award winner and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
``I find it simply unbelievable to be listed among these people as a global leader,’’ Tshering said from Bhutan today.
Tshering is a professional assistant to the King of Bhutan. He was a Dean’s Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University last year.
``I have been working as an assistant to the King for some time but I have decided to even venture into higher responsibility of serving the people of Bhutan and helping the King strengthen Bhutan's young democracy by running as a MP candidate in this year’s elections.
``Bhutan became a democracy in 2008 in a peaceful transition from monarchy to democracy without revolution and without bloodshed when the King voluntarily gifted the democracy to the people.
``I was part of the King's team to help the country transition into democracy smoothly and peacefully. That was one of my biggest assignments after graduating from UC.
``From learning engineering management at UC to managing the engineering of the country into democracy in Bhutan is staggering, but it really happened.
``I was appointed directly by the King from among thousands of civil servants of Bhutan based on the trust, confidence and commitment to serve the people, the King and the country. It's a very prestigious appointment.
``However, my decision to leave such a very high level and high honour job to come down at the grassroots level to serve the people through elected office shocked many people. Some thought I am crazy to leave such a significant job but many are inspired by my unusual decision.’’
Tshering has been implementing a welfare programme to serve the poorest of the poor at their doorsteps. He travelled on foot to the remote villages of Bhutan for three years covering 300 mountain villages hidden in the Himalayas.
``There, I lived with the poor, not as their guest but as one of them, to understand their problems through their own eyes. I met them in their homes and farms, and listened to their problems, their dreams, their hopes and their fears.
``I then took their stories to the King or brought the King to their villages and homes to improve their wellbeing which is a targeted intervention with a personal touch.
``I really enjoyed my time at UC. My experiences there made me one among the chosen few when I returned to Bhutan, with the confidence to lead and the knowledge to make this world a better place.
``The engineering management course not only taught me the skills to do well in life but also taught me a bit of life itself. It taught me that our life and the world around us are neither a linear graph nor a predictable system.’’
UC management lecturer Piet Beukman said Tshering was by far the most outstanding and humble student he had taught in his 36 years of teaching.