The Bhutan Cultural Exchange (BCE) is an Oregon registered 501(c)3 organization. Headquarters are located in the rural community of Baker City, a high desert valley nestled between ranges of the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon. The seeds that grew the organization were planted in 2013 when Venerable Karma Namgyel Rinpoche, a Buddhist Lama from Bhutan was invited to the community to perform the traditional Chenrezig Buddha of Compassion Fire Ceremony. Karma Rinpoche returned to Baker City for three consecutive years. In 2015, a 7-day community-wide event was held including a fire ceremony, presentation and blessing of the 333 Buddha Sutras, creation of a sand mandala, ceremonial Lama dancing and numerous talks and blessings generously given to the community. See video for a colorful visual depiction.
Several members of the board visited Bhutan with Karma Rinpoche. They were inspired by the heartfelt quality of the Buddhist culture and traditions of Bhutan as well as the kindness and creative energy of the people. The enlightened leadership of the country of Bhutan is recognized internationally for subscribing to the ideals of gross national happiness compared to the western value of gross national product.
With a sincere desire to discover new possibilities through collaboration between Bhutan and the Pacific Northwest, the idea of the Bhutan Cultural Exchange was born.
Core Values of BCE:
Activities engaged in by the Bhutan Cultural Exchange will be guided by the core values of harmony, compassion, and loving kindness. These values underscore our actions, our programs, and our efforts.
Vision of BCE:
The Bhutan Cultural Exchange will act with honesty, integrity, transparency and efficiency in collaborations we undertake to build relationships between and within communities.
The beautiful faces of Bhutanese citizens wherever we went were both a magnet and a mirror. Such a rich tapestry of human expression; so open and genuine, there was nothing I could do but fall in love with these people and this place. Kathleen Kiefer