Rich with words and ideas, centered on the theme Many Lives, Many Stories, the 10th edition of Mountain Echoes Festival of Arts, Literature and Culture seeks to explore the depth of human experiences through stories from distinguished speakers from Bhutan, India, and around the world.
The sessions will put a spotlight on tales from history to the stories of contemporary times. Conversations that take us deep into Shakespeare’s repertoire of plays, stories of cities and civilizations, rivers and oceans, and biographies of historical figures as well as the modern narratives of visual communicators and entrepreneurs.
Speakers will explore contemporary dialogues ranging from ecology to travel stories that resonate deeply with individuals, stories on spirituality from the perspective of spiritual education, and sessions illustrating the art of cinematic storytelling; this year’s programming will showcase engaging tales through narratives on food, fashion, wellness and business.
His Excellency Ambassador Major General V Namgyel comments on the journey of Mountain Echoes, “I am very happy to see the Mountain Echoes Literature Festival growing in popularity every year. It has been bringing writers from India and Bhutan together along with international participants also in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of the mountains of Bhutan. The Festival has promoted India-Bhutan friendship through intellectual and cultural interaction, adding an important dimension to the close and exemplary relations between our two countries. I wish the 10th Edition of Mountain Echoes this year great success.”
As a part of the ecology capsule powered by WWF Bhutan, in association with Bhutan Trust Fund and Royal Society for Protection of Nature, there will be conversations on the Ruddy Shelduck, where Dr. Sherub, researcher at Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment and Dechen Dorji, representative for the World Wildlife Fund program in Bhutan follow its winter visitor ruddy shelduck’s journey through some of the most breathtaking regions in the world. Dr Pema Choephyel and Dr Sangay will talk about the gentle Takin, Bhutan’s national animal, believed to have sprung to life when Drukpa Kunley fixed the head of a goat on the body of a cow. The panelists will discuss how technology and the reverence of the Bhutanese for the takin have shaped the country’s conservation efforts. Dr Kinley Tenzin and Jigme Tshering will discuss Water Habitats and ways to minimize the adverse impact on vulnerable species like white-bellied heron and black-necked crane and the environment, focusing on conservation, political action and education.
Stories of entrepreneurship will take centre stage through successful entrepreneurs like Kinley Will Wangchuk (Ganchu), Namgyel Dorji and Pema Choden Tenzin, who will discuss the challenges and joys of striking your own path and building businesses from the ground up. Panelists will also focus on globally relevant subjects like technology and its future. Toby Walsh, the rock star of Australia’s digital revolution, will break down the fear against AI, explaining the actual advances it has made, and discussing how education and regulation will be necessary for humans to keep up with evolving technologies.
Sessions will focus on larger conversations like spirituality by sharing diverse points of view from prominent speakers. Nandini Majumdar, Venerable Kabir Saxena and Sonam Wangmo Jhalani will discuss how enlightenment may not lie at the end of a pilgrimage, but the journey itself may give you a glimpse of a richer, more fulfilling world. Vanessa R Sasson a professor of religious studies in the Liberal Arts Department of Marianopolis College will discuss with Dr. Tashi Zangmo, Bhutanese activist, her novel in which she imagines and retells the story of the Buddha from Yashodhara’s perspective, who was married to him.
Literature, culture and cinema have always gone hand in hand and can be viewed as a mirror of the society. Looking at cinema through the contemporary phenomenon as it exists today, Richa Chadha and Abhishek Chaubey will discuss how content is being streamed and consumed in the digital era. In another session, panelists will discuss making films in an age of rapid technological changes. As art imitates life even as life imitates art, filmmakers reflect on what their films say about our turbulent world.
This year’s theme Many Lives, Many Stories lends to the dialogue of storytelling and its many forms. From storytelling in history, the definitions of pre-history, proto-history, history and our prejudice for the written word; to workshops by Jason Quinn on writing for a graphic novel, Aamir Wani on storytelling through visuals and Neelesh Misra on the thought process of creating a story; the festival will emphasize the power of storytelling through different mediums.
Sessions will also look at modern forms of visual storytelling and the lives of contemporary storytellers. Deki Wangmo, Bhutan’s Supermodel, Karma Lhari Wangchuk (@bhutanstreetfashion), internationally recognized first fashion blogger from Bhutan and Ugen Choden, first Program Director of the Bhutan Foundation will talk about how the Bhutan fashion industry while being open to the ideas from the outside world has also retained its unique identity. Photographer-filmmaker Aamir Wani, curator Jono Lineen and travel writer Shivya Nath will talk about viewing the world through their trusty cameras that never let them down. All avid travellers, they talk about how images are a universal way of telling stories and communicating with people, and about sharing their stories through Instagram.
Speaking about this year’s edition, Festival Co-Director Pramod KG said, “The tenth edition of ME is a testament to the staying power of independent platforms that privilege the written word, the spoken thought and the many tongues that articulate our stories.”
Bhutan being the scenic stage where the festival will come alive, Mountain Echoes will see prominent Bhutanese personalities from different spheres talking about its glorious past, vibrant present and promising future.
In a session on the legacy of the Wangchuck Dynasty, Lopen Lungtaen Gyatso, President of the College of Language and Culture Studies and the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Royal University of Bhutan and Dasho Yankee will engage in an insightful conversation with Dasho Karma Tshiteem on the contribution of the dynasty in shaping up Bhutan. By taking into account its citizens’ happiness and peace, Bhutan measures its progress in Gross National Happiness and not Gross Domestic Product. Speakers Tashi Pelyang and Vivi Tshering will talk about the DeSuups Integrated Training Progamme which is built upon the spirit of volunteerism and the positive influence of ethics and values of community service, integrity and civic responsibility.
Neil MacGregor and Dasho Tshering Tobgay will follow Shakespeare on his journey from 16th/17th-century England to 21st-century Bhutan. Timeless themes and the universal human emotions that inform the Bard’s works lend themselves to easy adaptation across the world. They will discuss the nuances of adapting Shakespeare’s works for our times and for different media, and talk about their favourite local interpretations of his plays.
MOUNTAIN ECHOES: Jaypee Group presents Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Festival of Arts, Literature and Culture, an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation, in association with Siyahi
- Dates: August 23-25, 2019
- Venues: Royal University of Bhutan, Hotel Taj Tashi, City Cinema, Clock Tower and Mojo Park
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For more information on speakers and how to book your tickets, visit: www.mountainechoes.org
About Mountain Echoes
Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Festival of Art, Literature and Culture, is an initiative of the India Bhutan Foundation, in association with Siyahi. The festival is presented by the Jaypee group.
The tenth edition of the Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Festival of Art, Literature and Culture is being held from August 23-25, 2019 with the inaugural on 22nd August in Thimphu, Bhutan. It brings together writers, biographers, historians, environmentalists, scholars, photographers, poets, musicians, artists, film-makers to engage in cultural dialogue, share stories, create memories and spend three blissful days in the mountains.
Mountain Echoes enjoys the patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
After several years of supporting her writer friends with her honest feedback, CEO Mita Kapur founded Siyahi in April 2007 to help new voices be heard. From being one of the very first literary agencies in India, Siyahi has grown to become the most trusted in the industry. Always on the lookout for gifted storytellers who can ruffle our beings with the power of their written words; Siyahi works with authors right from the beginning – from editing the manuscript to finding the right publisher and promoting the book after publication. Siyahi also organizes literary events – everything from intimate readings to international literary festivals.