From: 101 East

Bhutan’s prime minister

Jigme Thinley talks about the challenges facing the world’s youngest democracy.

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has long been known as a Shangri-La of happiness.

This devoutly Buddhist nation is fiercely proud of its culture and traditions.

But after decades of self-imposed isolation, Bhutan is slowly opening up.

It became the youngest democracy in the world when, at the insistence of the king, it moved from an absolute monarchy two years ago and held its first democratic elections.

But with the introduction of television and the internet, and more foreign investments, many worry that this mountain paradise may soon be lost.

This week on 101 East, we speak exclusively with Jigme Thinley, Bhutan’s prime minister, about the impact of globalisation on Bhutan.

This episode of 101 East airs from Thursday, July 8, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230; Friday: 0300; Saturday: 0530, 1730; Sunday: 1130; Monday: 0030; Tuesday: 0600, 1430; Wednesday: 0830; Thusday: 0630.