NASA is in Texas and the University of Texas at El Paso has a Bhutan Center. Okay, I agree that that was probably not the link the Smithsonian used to bring them all together but I had to make it work somehow.
NASA as folklife is a stretch. Texas is all about folks. But the real interesting one is Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon, which is the world's youngest democracy. It is located between China and India.
Here's some interesting facts from their national promotional literature...
Population: Male: 364,482, Female: 307,943
Local time: Six hours ahead of GMT
State Religion: Mahayana Buddhism (Vajarayana form)
National Tree: Cypress
National Flower: Blue Poppy
National Bird: Raven
National Sport: Archery
National Animal: Takin (Goat-Antelope)
Official Language Dzongkha
Currency: Ngultrum (at par with the Indian Rupee)
Life expectancy: 66 years
Area: 38,394 sq. km
Forest coverage: 72.5%
Bhutan build this temple on the DC Mall as a gift to the American people and it was dedicated on June 25 by Buddhist Monks.
But here's what's really interesting. Their national values and the Gross National Happiness. According to Wikipedia, "The term was coined by Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972 in response to criticism that his economy was growing poorly."
GNH value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following measures:
Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses
Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.
How cool is that? I am totally inspired to research this country and visit.