On October 3, a delegation of European parliamentarians, predominantly from Germany, converged in the picturesque capital of Bhutan, Thimphu, to celebrate German Unity Day. This occasion marks the historic reunification of Germany in 1990 when the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) came together as one nation. However, this celebration went beyond mere festivities; it served as a platform for dignitaries to engage in discussions spanning democracy, liberal values, and the freedom of the press.
Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, a Member of Parliament from Germany, delivered an inspiring address that resonated with the essence of unity and shared values. She emphasized the principles that bind nations together, transcending geographical boundaries, saying, “As we celebrate this day, we are reminded of the values that bind us as a nation—democracy, human rights, liberal values, and freedom of the press, among others.”
This sentiment encapsulated the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation between the two nations, emphasizing the importance of shared values. Aschenberg-Dugnus also noted Bhutan’s commitment to Gross National Happiness (GNH) and Germany’s dedication to unity and democracy. She called upon both nations to celebrate the unity of these shared values, with a hopeful tone, saying, “May our commitment to democracy, human rights, and the pursuit of a more just and equitable world continue to strengthen the bonds between our nations and inspire others to follow the path towards democracy and freedom.”
Moreover, Aschenberg-Dugnus underlined the potential for collaboration on pressing global issues, particularly climate change, which stands as a shared challenge for nations across the world. She emphasized that by pooling knowledge and embarking on joint initiatives, Bhutan and Germany can contribute significantly to the global fight against climate change, setting a powerful example of international collaboration.
The celebration of German Unity Day in the heart of the Himalayas not only commemorated a pivotal moment in history but also symbolized the enduring bonds of friendship and shared values between Bhutan and Germany.
As European parliamentarians engaged in meaningful discussions and celebrations alongside their Bhutanese counterparts, they reinforced their commitment to democracy, human rights, and the freedom of the press. Beyond these shared values, they recognized the potential for collaboration in addressing global challenges, notably climate change.
In an increasingly interconnected world, such exchanges serve as a testament to the power of international cooperation and the resilience of democratic values.
Before the grand celebration of German Unity Day, the visiting parliamentarians, alongside Bhutanese members of parliament and the media, participated in a significant event—the launch of The Thimphu Press Club (TPC). TPC, inaugurated by Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering and Dr. Carsten Klein, the Head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) South Asia, is poised to play a pivotal role in fostering dialogue and promoting responsible journalism in Bhutan. This endeavor aligns with the shared values of democracy, human rights, and freedom of the press, echoing the sentiments celebrated on German Unity Day.
The visit of the European parliamentarians to Bhutan was organized and facilitated by FNF in collaboration with the Bhutan Media Foundation, showcasing the potential for global cooperation rooted in shared values. It not only celebrated history but also illuminated the path forward for nations that hold dear the principles of democracy, human rights, and freedom.