Teaching Happiness: Cultivate Compassion, Wisdom, and Awareness

In March 2008, after a century of absolute monarchy, Bhutan, a small, Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, held its first democratic elections. Bhutan’s transition to a constitutional monarchy (i.e., the king is still the head of state, but the executive and legislative bodies are now democratically elected) has aggravated citizens’ concerns about how globalization and modernization might affect Bhutan’s traditional values. The country has long worked to preserve its isolation —it was one of the last nations to introduce television, lifting a ban on the Internet and TV in 1999. The royal government’s response to these concerns has been Gross National Happiness, or GNH, the guiding development philosophy in Bhutan for the last quarter century. GNH attempts to balance economic development, environmental conservation, good governance, and cultural promotion. Bhutan’s first prime minister, Lyonchoen Jigme Y. Thinley, is now working to radically transform Bhutan’s national education system to reflect GNH values, which he defines as “sacredness, reverence, honour, and respect.”

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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