The future of Bhutan lies in the hands of Bhutanese youth. Does it? At a recent Druk Journal Conversation one participant argued that the future is decided by today’s leaders who make the decisions that determine this future. And youth have no say in these decisions.

However, the fact remains that today’s youth will be the active citizens of tomorrow’s Bhutan. How they will live, how society will function, and how Bhutan will grow depends a lot on how they are shaped by today’s socio-economic, cultural and political environment.

So how are Bhutanese youth being nurtured and brought up? What kind of education and other forms of learning are they being exposed to? What are the values that are being nurtured in today’s children? Who are their role models? How is the realm of social media affecting them?

For some, the word “youth” is synonymous with “problems”. Are we forgetting their dreams and aspirations? How about their successes? Are youth being given the opportunity to think critically and to express themselves? What can young people do and what they are doing? What do youth cost society and what do they contribute?

The fourth issue of the Druk Journal explores these questions so that Bhutanese society—leaders, thinkers, policy makers, civil society, media, youth themselves—get a deeper insight into the situation of today’s youth. On the premise that we do have youth “issues” that are of concern to us all, we need to understand the experience of Bhutanese youth in a rapidly changing society. And we need to know what all of us must do to ensure that we indeed leave Bhutan in the hands of a generation of productive and capable citizens.

The objective of this issue is to initiate and encourage a high level discourse that will provide Bhutanese decision makers, parents and teachers, youth, and society as a whole with a deeper understanding of the situation of Bhutanese youth. We look at this situation, analytically, from different angles, its causes and conditions, going beyond facts and figures and symptoms.

This is a mandate that has been expressed in a Royal Command of His Majesty the King to young Bhutanese:

Our nation’s vision can only be fulfilled if the scope of our dreams and aspirations are matched by the reality of our commitment to nurturing our future citizens… Therefore, I will not rest until I have given you inspiration, knowledge, and skills so that you will not only fulfill your own aspirations, but be of immense worth to the nation.