Thinley receives distinguished award in Penn Sate

Published on Sep 18 2010 // Main News

September 18, 2010: A Pennsylvania State University has awarded Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley with the Distinguished Alumni Award on Thursday amidst the function.

This is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus. He received the award from Penn State President Graham Spanier at a ceremony at Old Main along with three Penn State professors, Judith S. Bond, Thomas Mallouk and Donald Hambrick.

Thinley graduated from Penn State’s Graduate School with a master’s degree in public administration in 1976. Thinley was the first Bhutanese student to be accepted at Penn State in 1974.

“If I were to look back at my academic growth and development and preparation for life, the most worthwhile experience has been the period that I spent here at Penn State,” Thinley told media after the function.

Thinley had his first experience with politics at Penn State when he was elected to the Graduate Student Council. Since then, he has served Bhutan as head of its education department, ambassador to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, joint secretary administrator of communications, minister of foreign affairs, minister of home and cultural affairs, and governor of Eastern Bhutan.

“While it is good to aspire for straight A’s, that is not all that matters. It is taking advantage of all the extracurricular activities and opportunities that this huge campus has to offer,” he said. “The wisdom with which you are able to divide your time between the classroom and outside in non-academic activities, I think is something one should not undermine.”

On Thursday, he also visited Columbia University where he delivered a speech on happiness, the most selling item for Bhutanese rulers for last few years.