Bhutan FAB23 Bhutan

April Press Release

Published on April 13th, 2023

This summer, the 19th edition of the Fab Lab Conference—the largest and most strategic digital fabrication event in the world—comes to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

The Fab Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the growth of digital fabrication around the world. In collaboration with MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, Druk Holding and Investments, and the Fab City Global Initiative, the Foundation is hosting FAB23 Bhutan from July 16 to July 28, 2023 in Thimphu, Bhutan.

The event brings together an international and local group of makers, innovators, and community leaders to explore and celebrate the transformative power of digital fabrication and innovation.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge workshops, panel discussions, and keynote speeches, all aimed at inspiring and empowering them to create positive change in their communities, working toward a sustainable future. Digital fabrication offers an unprecedented opportunity for the creation of groundbreaking products and services that can transform industries and improve people's lives. This event may serve as a launchpad for novel ideas and innovations.

This is the first of the annual Fab events to be hosted in Bhutan. With a thematic focus on "Designing Resilient Futures," the event will explore how digital fabrication can be harnessed to boost the transformation of the Kingdom's economy through the hybridization of local and global knowledge. The conference will embrace Bhutan’s future with digital manufacturing solutions, centering resilience and adaptability as the core elements of solution development.

Participants will learn about designing future economies from visionaries and thought leaders representing digital fabrication businesses, entrepreneurial endeavors, research institutions, and more. The event will emphasize the importance of trending technology fields such as advanced manufacturing/3D printing, CAD design, robotics, laser machining, electronics design, and computation, while also highlighting the need for collaboration across international borders and the role of the global creative community in advancing complex and impactful projects.

“This is my favorite annual event; it spans every kind of diversity, around the shared joy in making the world a better place. The collaborations that happen throughout this event anchor global activities over the coming year.
Bhutan is at the end of long supply chains for its physical needs. The growing network of Fab Labs in Bhutan provides the means to think globally while sustainably fabricating locally. Early applications have included projects in energy, healthcare, logistics, and the environment.”
—Neil Gershenfeld, Director of the Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT

“We want to ensure that the activities we are designing are relevant to what's happening in Bhutan and provide an impetus to the innovation and startup economy that we are trying to create. Our hope is that FAB23 supports Bhutan's academic, industry, government, and social transformation—all of which forms a fundamental part of creating an innovation ecosystem in the country.”
—Ujjwal Deep Dahal, CEO, Druk Holding and Investments

“We want to grow global and local—or ‘glocal’—collaborations around local community-posed challenges. The Bhutan team wants the conference to be a catalyst for building resilience and shaping the nation’s future, through connections to—and eventual partnerships between—the global Fab Lab network, local industry and grassroots initiatives, and Bhutan’s many communities. There is so much positive energy and momentum in Bhutan around inventing its bright future, a future that builds and uses the nation’s capabilities, resources, and values.
One important aspiration of both the conference and our continuing work with the Royal Government of Bhutan is to stimulate new industry, new economic opportunity for the Kingdom. To that end, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms and Fab Foundation have been collaborating with the Royal Government’s commercial and investment arm, Druk Holding and Investments, which is making extraordinary progress in realizing a new economic vision through the adoption and innovation of advanced technologies and research. Bringing the global Fab Lab network to Bhutan is designed to stimulate new ideas and partnerships that will help achieve that vision.”
—Sherry Lassiter, President and CEO, The Fab Foundation

FAB23 Bhutan is open to all, attracting a diverse range of innovators, entrepreneurs, techies, specialists, and generalists. Participants are invited to attend the full array of programs over the course of 14 days and encouraged to explore the beautiful and culturally rich Kingdom of Bhutan while they are there.

The Fab Foundation, which emerged from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms Fab Lab Program, is a non-profit organization that supports and promotes digital fabrication around the world. The foundation operates a global network of Fab Labs, which are community-based workshops that provide access to digital fabrication tools and technologies. The Fab Foundation organizes the annual Fab event, bringing together makers, innovators, educators, and community leaders from around the world to explore and celebrate the transformative power of digital fabrication.

MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) is an interdisciplinary initiative exploring the boundary between computer science and physical science. Launched by a National Science Foundation award in 2001, CBA studies how to turn data into things, and things into data. It manages facilities, runs research programs, supervises students, works with sponsors, creates startups, and does public outreach.

Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), the commercial arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan, was established in 2007 upon issuance of a Royal Charter "to hold and manage the existing and future investments of the Royal Government for the long term benefit of the people of Bhutan." DHI, the largest and only government-owned holding company in Bhutan, has shares in 21 different companies operating in the manufacturing, energy, natural resources, financial, communication, aviation, trading, and real estate sectors.

The Fab City Global Initiative facilitates the connection between the maker movement and policymakers in order to build critical momentum toward the development of a new production paradigm—where food, energy, and products are made using local infrastructure and materials. The knowledge and open source prototypes created for this local production are then shared globally, thanks to the power of the internet.

Norella Coronell - Program Manager, Community Relations and Outreach |

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