I was greatly distressed when Rotarian Dawa Penjor from Gelephu called me up to inform me of the sad demise of a great educator and one of Bhutan’s most valuable friends in the US. I had met the distinguished lady twice. And I continued to be in her company – as a co-Council Member of the Bhutan Foundation’s Advisory Council.
It was due to this great lady that many of us Bhutanese parents could afford to send our children to one of US’s top ten universities - University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). My youngest son spent five years in this great institution of learning. Without her love and special consideration for Bhutan and the Bhutanese, I could not have afforded to educate my son in UTEP.
I was truly grateful for this lady for her special love for Bhutan. In fact I wrote to the erstwhile PDP government – on three separate occasions (last request was sent to the government on June 28, 2018) – requesting the government to invite the lady to Bhutan as a government guest – to show how grateful Bhutan is about her competent stewardship of the institution where preferential treatment is accorded to our children – in preference to all others. The PDP government wasn’t interested.
In desperation, I spoke to the Members of the Rotary Club of Thimphu – requesting them to allow me to invite her as our Club’s guest since the government was not interested. The Members agreed. Sadly by the time I was ready to send out the invitation, a decision had already been made by UTEP to fund the travel to Bhutan of the President Dr. Natalicio accompanied by Dr. Catie McCorry Andalis, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students. All travel arrangements had already been made and air tickets already purchased – at their own cost. A great opportunity to show gratitude was lost to Bhutan.
And now she is no more.
Dr. Natalicio’s last visit to Bhutan was in October of 2019.
I blogged about UTEP and Bhutan connection. Please read about it at the following:
UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio, far left, with the erstwhile Secretary of the Royal Civil Service Commission, Dasho Bap Kesang, far right, and Director General of the Cabinet Secretariat, Mr. Sonam Wangchuk (center), in Bhutan in March 20, 2007. An MoU was signed offering scholarships to Bhutanese students.
May her soul rest in peace.