Contributed by Dominique Chirpaz

Our project, born in 2012 in Montpellier, has been a long and precarious adventure . . .

But finally, we don’t regret anything: the long months passed to prepare our common presentation, the stress linked to the various administrative problems to solve, as well as the financial support research!

This travel was a wonderful experience for the students and for ourselves, on each point of view:

Educational: it allowed the group of participants to complete a complex project requiring many skills to develop: command of two written and oral languages (French and English), science and digital technology, adaptability and flexibility, listening to others, initiative, spirit . . .

At the Ugencholing Museum with Kunzang Choden

Cultural: the week spent in the Bumthang Jakar high school allowed us to get closer to the lives of young Bhutanese and their teachers. A “city show” was given in our honor by the Bhutanese students, with traditional songs and dances. Further meetings were possible, particularly on a tourist day during which we met Kunzang Choden, a writer who translated into English and French: she told us about the history of her country during our visit in her family’s home, which became the Ugencholing Museum. She also signed various books for us.

We also visited the Jakar Dzong, White Bird Fortress, Jampa Lhamkhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan, Jampa Lhakhang Market, and were received by the Director of the Wangchuk Centennial Park. Not to mention a memorable picnic at the Wangchuk Centennial Park! Finally, the opening and closing ceremonies of the congress were an opportunity to approach other cultures too, through songs and dances presented.

Human: perhaps the image that we keep is the meeting with people with altruistic values . . .

We were very pleased that the ISE offered us the opportunity to present our work in the plenary session: the students were very proud!

From the students:

The students from Jakar and Jean Monnet high schools

The ISE congress of 2014 has been an incredible experience to me, as it was the first congress I’ve ever done. I did not think that there would be so many various subjects studied, but they actually were numerous.
This congress should be more recognized: the thing that people teach to people from other cultures would maybe be more applied. The subjects that those people are teaching are extremely useful in a sustainable development plan. This kind of congress is really interesting and should be an example of how to make the future better, starting from a melting-pot.


The 14th International Congress of Ethnobiology which took place in Bhutan was an amazing moment in my life. Indeed, it was an impressive scientific gathering. The work done by us was rewarded thanks to the listening of   others participants. This congress changed my way of thinking about biology, ethnology and about the environment.


Initially, an unimaginable project for us students, which turned out to be, after many hours of involvement, a memorable project both by its scientific content and its environmentally friendly framework and human relations.


My participation in this congress was for me a wonderful experience for my young age (17).
I’m actually in a scientific class in my high school and my work to participate in this congress helped me.
I will never forget this moment of international sharing and meeting. I think this project brought a lot to me: I have now Bhutanese teenager friends and that is very cool!


For my taste, the 14th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology was much more than a simple project in which we had the chance to participate. In fact, I think that it was a veritable human project which took place, organized with a real modesty, and I think too that nobody stayed indifferent. We made a scientific presentation on a topical subject, which concerns every of us: the preservation of environment.

With a purpose of blending ideas, of different points of view, and with a magnificent listening of all the participants. Nationality wasn’t a fence in spite of the fifty-six countries represented. On the contrary, it was the strength of the congress. All together for the same purpose, linked with a common language, English, with our different accents: it’s for me, the charm of the congress!

We learnt dances from all around the world, we ate traditional food at the congress and in Jakar High School, we spoke with the others members right from the start (in the airplane, in the bus…) … A real world opening, with veritable emotions, in a wonderful place! I think it was a real blessing to participate in this congress!

I’m more than grateful towards all the organization, and towards all the people who allowed us to participate in this fabulous project. It’s for me an experience which had a lot of meaning. I was at the same time fascinated by this human gathering, and truly moved by the country itself, the Bhutanese’s kindness. An irreplaceable country, with a unique culture arousing a lot of emotions. Furthermore, for our part, we were directly welcomed at Jakar High School, with an obvious curiosity. It was a real scenery, with, for sure, a real face to reality. An experience that obviously I will remember all my life!

So, I take advantage of the opportunity to thank another time all the people involved for the smooth proceeding of this memorable project!


Now we are in the process of organizing the arrival of Bhutanese in Montpellier, which really give full meaning to this exchange between young people of two countries so far away geographically and culturally.

They will come to France from January 23rd to February 3rd 2015: their joint presentation made at the congress will be extended to high school students, parents and teachers, but they will also present us traditional Bhutanese songs and dances.

Various activities will be organized to help them discover some particularities of our region: garrigue, Mediterranean Sea, history of the city of Montpellier,…

So, from each person in our group, thank you for having made possible this extraordinary experience.

In the hope that other young people will be involved in future congresses…

Members of the Jean Monnet high school group: Dominique Chirpaz, Cécile Raynal, Guillaume Bouguet, Marine Armangau, Elsa Fraysse, Julia Bertossi, Zoé Terrapon, Lola Werquin, Matthieu Armangau, Akim Pavageau.