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The Refugees of Shangri-La

Author: Bryana DiFonzo

If you’ve heard of the small South Asian country of Bhutan, you’ve probably only heard of the “Gross National Happiness” concept pioneered by its king. The idea is to measure the country’s citizens’ satisfaction with their life along with traditional economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product.

What is never mentioned in the press is the fact that this laudable concept is a direct result of a government program intended to make all of their citizens follow the same religion, language, and customs. This has led to a host of human rights abuses towards the main ethnic minority in Bhutan, Lhotshampa, as the government attempts to rid itself of these people by any means necessary.

The award-winning documentary, “The Refugees of Shangri-La,” looks at this situation that has caused 1/6th of Bhutan’s population to become refugees. It highlights the experiences of Bhutanese Nepali refugees who resettle in the US, such as the few thousand who reside in Buffalo.

On Sunday October 4th, this documentary will be shown in Buffalo. This one-time screening is hosted by Journey’s End Refugee Services in partnership with the historic North Park Theatre. See trailer:

Journey’s End staff and members of the Bhutanese Nepali community will be available for discussion after the show or via email. A portion of the proceeds will go to Journey’s End programs, which assist refugees arriving in Buffalo from many countries around the world.

Details for the event are below. The event is open to the public and all are invited to attend. If you can’t make it to the event, you can also learn more about the situation (and its impact on Buffalo) by watching this 18-minute TEDxBuffalo 2013 talk:

Sunday October 4th, 11:30am – 1:00pm

North Park Theatre – 1428 Hertel Ave Buffalo, NY 14216

$9.50 per adult, $7.00 for senior citizens.

Tickets are available for purchase at the North Park Theatre box office.

Facebook event

Documentary website


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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