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Exploring Bhutan and its concept of Gross National Happiness
  • 18
  • 10
  • 2022

Exploring Bhutan and its concept of Gross National Happiness

by David E Shaw

In 2006 I travelled to Bhutan to experience the special character of a country that has long remained quite isolated from the rest of world.  Our visit included a weeklong adventurous trek around sacred Mount Jomolhari which rises above beautiful forests and dramatic wild landscapes to an elevation of more than 24,000 feet .  We learned a great deal about Bhutan from guides, visits to monasteries and cultural institutions. A particularly special occasion was dinner with one of four sisters married to the king of Bhutan.  

 A notable feature of Bhutanese culture and governance is its focus on protecting and enhancing the happiness of its people.  This short video provides an overview of our adventure in Bhutan and our understanding of the country’s distinctive focus on happiness:

In October 2021 the World Economic Forum published an article on Bhutan’s promotion of happiness and what other countries can learn from that experience.

The Bhutanese focus on happiness has resulted in significant progress in environmental, social, economic and governance matters in the country over four decades.

It also captured the attention of many around the world.  In 2011 the United Nations unanimously adopted a General Assembly resolution, introduced by Bhutan with support from 68 member states, calling for a “holistic approach to development” aimed at promoting sustainable happiness and wellbeing.