Jigmi Y. Thinley

Jigmi Y. Thinley became prime minister (lyonchhen) of Bhutan after leading his party, the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party or Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, to victory in Bhutan’s first national election in March 2008. Before the introduction of democracy in Bhutan, he served the previous government in various capacities, including as minister for foreign affairs and minister for home and cultural affairs. He also served as prime minister from 1998 to 1999 and again from 2003 to 2004, when cabinet ministers held the post on an annual rotational basis.

Born in Bhutan in 1952, Jigmi Y. Thinley graduated with honors from St. Stephen’s College of Delhi University and went on to obtain a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University in 1976.

Prime Minister Thinley has published many essays and papers on a wide range of topics. He has spoken at many conferences, meetings, and seminars, including numerous sessions at the United Nations General Assembly. He currently serves as chairman of his country’s National Environment Commission and of the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment. He is an international counselor for the Asia Society, New York; member of the international advisory board of the Netherland Development Organization; and president of the Maha Bodhi Society of India.

In 2009, His Majesty the Fifth King of Bhutan awarded Thinley the Druk Wangyel Medal, the highest civilian decoration. That same year, Penn State presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the university confers on an outstanding alumnus. In February of this year, Thinley received the HR Strategic and Iconic Leader Award at the World HRD Congress 2010 in Mumbai, an international initiative dedicated to shaping the future of organizations through talent management and development.

Prime Minister Thinley is married to Aum Rinsy Dem; they have three children and two grandchildren.

Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010