UVic formalizes relations with Bhutan's first law school as part of CAPI-led "Regulating Globalisation in Asia" project


The University of Victoria (UVic), under the leadership of CAPI Director Victor V. Ramraj and UVic Law Dean Susan Breau, has formalized relations with Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law (JSW Law), the first law school in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan. The school was inaugurated in 2017. Dean Breau and her JSW Law counterpart Dean Sangay Dorjee signed the memorandum of understanding at the launch of a three-day joint conference titled “Public Law, Legal Orders & Governance: Regulating Globalisation in Asia” at Terma Linca resort on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Thimphu, in July 2019. The opening ceremony was overseen by a number of Bhutanese dignitaries, including Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, the Leader of the Opposition Pema Gyamtsho, Chief Justice Dasho Tshering Wangchuk, and Chairperson of the National Council Tashi Dorji.

Photo gallery: opening ceremony

In her opening remarks, Her Royal Highness highlighted the common interests of JSW Law and UVic in building resilient human and natural environments through the pursuits of legal discourse, research, and education. Speaking to the significance of the conference theme, she noted some of the challenges that her once-reculsive country (the last to adopt television, in 1999) faces in modern times:

At home, we face unchecked rural-urban migration, a growing number of imported cars, rising demand for fuel wood, and increasing development . . . and problems such as climate change threaten our nation. Our economic development is highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, including agriculture, hydro-power, forestry, and tourism.

The conference proper featured a stable of speakers from both UVic and JSW Law, in addition to an international collection of experts hailing from countries across the globe, including New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Europe, with research interests ranging from Bhuddist Law to environmental governance (view the conference program).

The group was assembled as part of a larger capacity-building project initiated by Ramraj with the aim of developing innovative governance and justice strategies to mitigate the darker side of economic globalization in South and Southeast Asia, such as detrimental effects on public health, community cohesion, individual livelihoods, and the environment. The project is supported by the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) Scholarships program. Additional conference funding came from the Royal Government of Bhutan and UVic's Offices of Research Services and Global Engagement.

A follow-up conference is planned for spring 2020 at UVic with publication of an edited volume of the conference papers to follow.

Photo gallery: day 1 conference proceedings

Photo gallery: day 2

Photo gallery: day 3