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World’s First Color Your Own Stamp and Postcard Carries Message of Gratitude.

Bhutan’s Postal Service will feature its unique postage stamp history, including its newest release, the world’s first CD-ROM postage stamp with web portal and mini documentary at the upcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Wednesday, June 25, through Sunday, June 29 and Wednesday, July 2 through Sunday, July 6. Bhutan Post also will sponsor a children’s art activity, the Color-Your-Own postcard postage stamp and Exchange of Gratitude issue at the  Festival on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th streets in Washington DC, from 11a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Bhutan is the country responsible for the concept and the living of “Gross National Happiness.” The Color Your Own postcards carry the universal message “From Gratitude Springs Happiness.” The activity features the world’s first color-your-own postage stamps on four different postcards printed on recycled paper that also showcase photos of Bhutan. Each of the four stamps shows one auspicious Bhutanese symbol:  lotus flower, endless knot, conch shell or parasol.  In addition to coloring the stamp, children are invited to exchange thoughts about the question “What are you grateful for?” 

“Beyond the artistic expression of this activity, this project promotes cultural exchange,” said Frances Todd Stewart, president of Creative Products International (Pittsburgh, PA, USA), creator of the Color Your Own program. “Like a mini-goodwill ambassador, each postcard of gratitude will travel the world twice. The postcards are printed on SCG’s ‘Green’ Paper to emphasize a message of conservation to the youth who participate in the Exchange of Gratitude project.”

The Color Your Own Postcard Stamp/Exchange of Gratitude Program—How It Works

The Color Your Own Postcard Postage Stamp/Exchange of Gratitude is a family-friendly art activity in which children color the postcard stamp, write a message about what they are grateful for, address the postcard and leave it with the representative of Bhutan’s postal service. After the Folklife Festival, the postcards will be carried to Bhutan, where a Bhutanese child also will write a gratitude message, and each postcard will be hand cancelled and mailed back to the American child. Four different postcards, each featuring a different scene from Bhutan and printed on 100% recycled paper, will be sold at the Folklife Festival Marketplace Tent for $3 each, including postage. Sponsored by Creative Products International, USA, and SCG Paper and TBSC Printing, Thailand, at the Bhutan Hospitality Tent on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th Streets.  More information about the Folklife Festival is available at

The 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will feature three programs. In addition to “Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon,” the other programs are “NASA: 50 Years and Beyond” and “Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food and Wine.”  Admission is free. Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with such special evening events as concerts and dance parties beginning at 6 p.m. The Festival is co-sponsored by the National Park Service.

The Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors people from across the United States and around the world. With approximately 1 million visitors each year, the Festival unites presenters and performers in the nation’s capital to celebrate the diversity of cultural traditions. It is produced by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

More About Bhutan

Bhutan, a tiny country in the Himalayas that was only introduced to the world beginning in the 1960s, is world-renown for its innovative postage stamp issues including the world’s first CD-ROM postage stamps, each with a mini-documentary about this magnificent, well-preserved, mountainous kingdom. The stamps, available at the Folklife Festival, were developed by Creative Products International (Pittsburgh, PA, USA). Frances Todd Stewart, president of Creative Products International, also will be making in-person presentations at the Folklife Festival about Bhutan’s unusual stamps since the 1960s, many of which were created by her father, Burt Kerr Todd.

With Gratitude to Color Your Own Postcard Stamp Sponsors

Exchange of Gratitude sponsors include: SCG Paper (Bangkok, Thailand), Thai British Security Printers (Samutprakarn, Thailand), Bhutan Postal Corp., (Thimphu, Bhutan) and Creative Products International, (Pittsburgh, PA, USA).

SCG’s Green Series Paper is the utmost in environmentally friendly paper, made 100% from high quality fiber produced from consumed materials recycled through efficient processes of sourcing, managing and production. SCG Paper, of Bangkok, is the largest integrated producer of paper products in Thailand. Thai British Security Printing PLC, of Samutprakarn, is Thailand’s leading security printer. The company printed Bhutan’s first-ever commemorative stamp issue celebrating 100 years of monarchy and featuring the country’s five kings.

A Second Color Your Own Program/Exchange of Gratitude Between Thailand and Bhutan

In addition to the Color Your Own Program at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is an exchange between children from the US and Bhutan, a second Color Your Own Program will be conducted between children in Thailand and Bhutan. For the Thailand-Bhutan Exchange of Gratitude, the major Thai department store chain, CPN, is facilitating distribution and promotion. Thai Post also is a sponsor along with SCG Paper, TBSP Printing, Creative Products International and Bhutan Post.


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