Ami Terachi

My Truth and Your Truth: Navigating Different Perspectives at READ Bhutan

In the small Himalayan country of Bhutan, I spent three months interning at an NGO called READ Bhutan (Rural Education and Development), which offered me a great educational experience. My responsibilities as a Program Development Intern ranged from assessing community needs, developing reading and writing programs for children, to conducting professional development workshops for READ staff. I will present the dilemmas and challenges I faced as I defined my role and values. How do we ethically respond when we disagree with the philosophy of an organization? How do we initiate constructive conversations without falling into the trap of accusation and blame? When does being “critical” become “judgmental” or “disrespectful,” and voicing a concern or recommendation become “culturally insensitive” or even “colonizing,” that is, an imposition of Western norms? These are the questions that I began to ask this summer and continue to reflect on.