This is a late blog update. I may not have been busier but probably I was lazier to write what has been happening in life and around in the environment. The last travel diary that I updated was Destination Europe IV where I shard some pictures from my visit to Spain and Portugal. The account shows that I have covered 11 cities then, the last being Lisbon. In this series I will update about the journeys that I undertook during the summer of 2017.
DAAD offers scholarship to over 5000 students from worldwide annually and they have this tradition of calling the scholars for an annual meet, which is exciting. This year DAAD has divided the scholars into five different categories and as such 5 different meets were organized. I being a student of natural science, our meet was scheduled from 7-9 July 2017, which unfortunately happened to be 3 days before our exams for the summer semester. However, I took the zeal to take part in the meet actively and the best option was to contest for students seminar, which was limited to only 10 slots. When abstracts were called, I submitted my share and waited impatiently but fortunately or unfortunately my abstract was selected, so giving me an opportunity to do a presentation to the fellow scholars.
Fortunate because it was such a wonderful privilege to share my thoughts to fellow scholars from around the world, but unfortunate because as soon as we return from the meeting, we have to write our exams so it is stressful to prepare both for exams and for the presentation. On 7th July, we were picked by the a bus arranged by DAAD and reached Magdeburg where 100s of other fellows have congregated. The moment was fun, talking with people from various part of the world but my presence was special for myself. As the Secretary General called on about the presence of scholars from various regions and continents of the world, she asked "Is there anybody from Bhutan?" It was a moment of pride for me to raise my hand being the lone DAAD scholar from Bhutan during that meet, though there are few more friends in Germany studying through DAAD funding.
On the 8th July, we had the sessions on talks by the students and I shared the platform with other speakers to talk on landscape connectivity and conservation in Bhutan being a landscape ecology student. Through my presentation, I got to share to the fellow scholars, about the conservation success stories of Bhutan championed by the farsighted Kings and guided by the principles of Gross National Happiness. It was a moment of pride to say how Bhutan is leading the world when it comes to conservation which is evident from various international recognition that were bestowed to Bhutan.
In 2005, His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the people of Bhutan were awarded the 1st Champion of Earth Award by by UNEP and the following year, he was again conferred the prestigious J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership by WWF. As a young democratic nation, our political leaders take the inspirations from our kings and pursue conservation policy further. Today Bhutan is often regarded as a only carbon negative country in the world and dedicated to remain carbon neutral for all times to come. We aim to achieve a just socio-economic development, preserving the natural environment and conserving resources so Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, the Prime Minister of Bhutan was conferred the German Sustainability award in 2016 sustainable approach to development.
It was also an opportunity for me to share the pressing challenges like losing habitat connectivity, which are indeed an opportunity for early career conservationists like me to tackle the issues. I shared my ideas and research needs to fill the gaps, which ultimately helped me develop my master thesis proposal on "Assessing structural connectivity of biological corridors for tiger movement between national parks in Bhutan."
Aside, the meet also gave us an opportunity to explore the city of Magdeburg, which have a deep history of falling caused by internal rifts and world wars but each time rising again. In earlier times, it was a city with her own kings and emperors. Today, Magdeburg the capital city of Saxony-Anhaltis is the site of two universities, the Otto-von-Guericke University and the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences. The city is modestly beautiful with a blend of classic architectural remains and modern infrastructural advances.
If not of the pressure caused by the semester exams, the trip Magdeburg was indeed a fulfilling and cherishing one.