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From Bathurst to Bhutan and beyond: meet Andrew Denton and Kinley Dorji

The incredible impacts of two journalists from very different worlds

Andrew Denton and Dasho Kinley Dorji studied journalism together at Bathurst in NSW in the 1980s and have since made enormous contributions to the media and democracy landscapes in Australia and Dorji's home country of Bhutan. Hear them swap remarkable stories at this special Sydney Ideas event.

Event details
Date and time:
 Thursday 7 November, 6 – 7.30pm
Venue: Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium
The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential

In the 1980s two fresh-faced, intellectually curious young men from vastly different worlds met at journalism college in Bathurst. One was Andrew Denton, the other, Kinley Dorji. Dorji was one of a handful of young men sent around the world by Bhutan's Fourth King to learn specific skills that would eventually lead to the country’s peaceful transition to a democracy.

Denton went on to become a celebrated comedian, and one of Australia’s most admired interviewers. Dorji returned to Bhutan, a closed country of about 700,000 people, where yogis lived in caves and Gross National Happiness was the measure of success. He started a newspaper, Kuensel, which was pivotal to Bhutan’s move into the Information Age.

Dorji helped this oral culture – where word of mouth was the primary form of communication – to evolve into a digitally connected democracy, where its people enjoy robust discourse in a thoroughly modern media landscape, fed by newspapers, television, Facebook, WeChat and Twitter.

He is in Australia to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney. In this very special Sydney Ideas event Denton will interview Dorji about Bhutan’s unique media landscape, the role of journalism in democracy, social media, Gross National Happiness and whatever else comes up when these two old classmates catch up after 30 years.

The speakers

Kinley Dorji was Bhutan’s first trained journalist, the former managing director and editor-in-chief of Kuensel newspaper, and a former secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications in the Royal Government of Bhutan. He completed a Master of Journalism at Columbia University and was chosen as one of eight “outstanding individuals” worldwide to be awarded a John S Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. 

He is a strong believer in Bhutan’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness and follows "Crazy Wisdom" as a spiritual practice.

Andrew Denton has worked extensively in every medium except crayon, most notably as a comedian, Australian TV presenter, producer and interviewer and radio host. He describes himself as "too pretty for television and too ugly for radio" and lists his occupation on visa forms as “personality”. He counts Rupert Murdoch, Paul Keating and Germaine Greer amongst his favourite detractors.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 15 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides infrared hearing system. You can take the lift down to Level B1 to reach the Auditorium Foyer. There are wheelchair spaces available for seating.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email sydney.ideas@sydney.edu.au with 'Access | Nov 7 - Bhutan' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium is on Level 1 of the building opposite Charles Perkins Centre Hub on John Hopkins Drive (next to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), off Missenden Road.

You can also enter via the Ross Street entrance: the venue is next to the ovals.

Public transport

The closest bus stop is the University of Sydney Ross Street Gate, Parramatta Road (Opposite Glebe Officeworks). It is a five-minute walk to the venue. Use the University Campus Map tool to locate the bus stop. You can take the bus from Central Station (routes 412, 413, 436, 438, 440, 461, 480).

The venue is roughly a 30 minute walk from Redfern station.

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Charles Perkins Centre'. 

Event image: Photo by Siriwan Srisuwan on Unsplash

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