“My country is not one big monastery populated with happy monks.”
That’s the first thing that Tshering Tobgay, the charismatic prime minister of the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan, wants you to know about his homeland.
People are forgiven for thinking otherwise. For its beautiful forests and mountains and ancient Buddhist architecture, Bhutan—a poor, isolated country sandwiched between India and China that famously measures Gross National Happiness as its main economic indicator—has been called the last Shangri-la. But the prime minister knows that perception works against Bhutan’s efforts to develop economically along a truly sustainable path that has eluded many other equally beautiful nations. In Bhutan, many people still live in poverty, youth unemployment is rising, and pressures on forests are increasing. Its total GDP, $2 billion, is half that of Springfield, Ohio. Continue reading How The Tiny, Poor Country Of Bhutan Became One Of The Most Sustainable Countries On Earth
Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation.
The King and Queen of Bhutan have released the first official picture of their baby son who was born last Friday.
In an image posted to Facebook, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 35, and Queen Jetsun Pema, 25, can be seen gazing adoringly at the new arrival who is swaddled in a vibrant yellow blanket as they sit in the grounds of Lingkana Palace in the Bhtanese capital Thimphu.
But it was the King’s father, who is known as His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, who was given the honour of holding the new baby as he was officially introduced to the world.
This will be the first time the royal couple have visited Bhutan
Country nestles high in the Himalayas between India and China
Kate and William, both 33, will visit King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
His pregnant wife Jetsun Pema, 25, is due to give birth in Spring
Bhutan is a Buddhist country that measures wealth on happiness
Prince Charles and Prince Andrew have both visited country previously
She is known as the Dragon Queen and the most glamorous woman in the Orient.
He has been dubbed The Prince Charming of the Himalayas, a ruler with the populist touch who is known to invite his subjects into his home for tea and a chat.
And this spring the young King and Queen of Bhutan, dubbed the ‘William and Kate of the Orient’, will host the real Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on an official visit on behalf of the British Government.
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON WELLBEING AND HAPPINESS: DEFINING A NEW ECONOMIC PARADIGM
Hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan, 2nd April 2012, Conference Room 1 (North Lawn Building), United Nations Headquarters, New York City
Saturday, 31st March & Sunday, 1st April 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Registration at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan, 343 East 43rd Street, New York
Monday, 2nd April 8 – 8.40 a.m. – Security Check at the UN Visitor’s Gate (First Avenue, 45 – 46 Street) and
Registration 8 – 8.40 a.m. – Registration at Conference Room 1 for delegates of Member States
8.50 a.m. – All participants to be seated in Conference Room 1
9 –10.00 a.m. – Inaugural Session Chair: H.E. Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme and the Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
9.00 – 9.03 a.m. – Welcome address by H.E. Helen Clark 9.03 – 9.09 a.m. – Address by H.E. Mr. Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan (On the mission and purpose of the meeting) 9.09 – 9.12 a.m. – Inaugural address by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations 9.12 – 9.15 a.m. – Address by H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly 9.15 – 9.18 a.m. – Address by H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec, President of the Economic and Social Council 9.18 – 9.28 a.m. – Keynote address by H.E. Ms. Laura Chinchilla, Honourable President of the Republic of Costa Rica (The Republic of Costa Rica is universally recognised for its outstanding achievements in environmental conservation and its exemplary sustainable development record) …For more refer www.2apr.gov.bt
The U.N. Happiness Project By TIMOTHY W. RYBACK* (NY Times)
March 28, 2012 : Next Monday, the United Nations will implement Resolution 65/309, adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011, placing “happiness” on the global agenda. “Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” and “recognizing that the gross domestic product […] does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people,” Resolution 65/309 empowers the Kingdom of Bhutan to convene a high-level meeting on happiness as part of next week’s 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. An impressive array of luminaries will be speaking for this remote Himalayan kingdom. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will open the meeting via a prerecorded video missive. The Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz will speak on “happiness indicators,” as will the economist Jeffrey Sachs. The Bhutanese prime minister will represent King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, the reigning Dragon King of the Bhutanese House of Wangchuck. (The kingdom became a constitutional monarchy in 2007.) For the 32-year-old Dragon King — Bhutan means “land of dragons” in the local Dzongkha language — U.N. Resolution 65/309 represents a global public relations triumph and the realization of a hereditary ambition, initiated by his grandfather 40 years ago, to establish Gross National Happiness (G.N.H.) as an alternate model to Gross National Product (G.N.P.) as a measure of national progress. Continue reading Bhutan to host the U.N. Happiness Conference April 2-5, 2012 in NYC
Bhutan. This little-known Himalayan kingdom, nestled between the giants of India and China, is the world’s last remaining Shangri-La. This is an extraordinary country, unlike any on Earth, where traffic lights do not exist, buying cigarettes is illegal, the wrestling channel and MTV are banned, as well as Western-style billboards and plastic bags, and Gross National Happiness has been deemed more important than Gross National Product. While neighboring countries have catapulted themselves into the modern world and embraced tourism with such ferocity that their cultures have been both compromised and neglected, Bhutan has recognized that the only way to move forward and ensure both its survival and sovereignty is to protect the unique culture and environment that makes the country so special.
Up until 1960, Bhutan had been visited by only a handful of early British explorers and during the decade that followed the few foreigners permitted into the country were guests of the royal family. It was not until the coronation of the fourth king in 1974 that a hotel was built and the first group of paying tourists arrived, organized and led by Lars Eric Lindbald (founder of Linbald Travel) who encouraged the government to limit tourism and to charge high fees. This set the standard by which tourism would evolve in Bhutan and small groups began to enter the country, permitted only to visit the dzongs and goempas in Paro and Thimpu. Continue reading Featured Web/Blog: Introduction to Bhutan – Unbelievable Photographs!
Martin Seligman now thinks so, which may seem like an odd position for the founder of the positive psychology movement. As president of the American Pyschological Association in the late 1990s, he criticized his colleagues for focusing relentlessly on mental illness and other problems. He prodded them to study life’s joys, and wrote a best seller in 2002 titled “Authentic Happiness.”
But now he regrets that title. As the investigation of happiness proceeded, Dr. Seligman began seeing certain limitations of the concept. Why did couples go on having children even though the data clearly showed that parents are less happy than childless couples? Why did billionaires desperately seek more money even when there was nothing they wanted to do with it?
What’s behind all those phallus pictures in this remote Himalayan land?
January 4, 2011 By Iva Skoch
Editor’s note: Wanderlust is a regular GlobalPost series on global sex and relationship issues written by Iva Skoch, who is now traveling the world writing a book on the subject.
THIMPHU, Bhutan — Most of the penises painted on houses or suspended from rooftops in Bhutan are larger than humans.
They come in various sizes, color schemes and embellishments. Some have ribbons tied around them like jovial holiday presents. Others are coiled by daunting dragons. A few even have eyes. They typically feature hairy testicles, from the neatly trimmed to full-on Yeti-style. And, of course, all are fully erect.
“Oh, golly,” said an elderly woman visiting from Seattle, when she stepped off the bus in the Punakha valley and found herself surrounded by an alarming concentration of penis imagery, set against a magnificent Himalayan backdrop.
She was one of just 30,000 “outsiders” in 2010 who visited this isolated country wedged between China and India. While Bhutan tops many travel wish lists — thanks to its almost utopic reputation as “the last Shangri La” and a place where the government measures success in “Gross National Happiness” instead of gross domestic product — only a fraction can afford such a trip. Continue reading Wanderlust travel: Penis worship in Bhutan
April 30, 2011; By JOHN TIERNEY: SOMERVILLE, Mass. — When they filled out the city’s census forms this spring, the people of Somerville got a new question. On a scale of 1 to 10, they were asked, “How happy do you feel right now?”
Officials here want this Boston suburb to become the first city in the United States to systematically track people’s happiness. Like leaders in Britain, France and a few other places, they want to move beyond the traditional measures of success — economic growth — to promote policies that produce more than just material well-being.
Monitoring the citizenry’s happiness has been advocated by prominent psychologists and economists, but not without debate over how to do it and whether happiness is even the right thing for politicians to be promoting. The pursuit of happiness may be an inalienable right, but that is not the same as reporting blissful feelings on a questionnaire. Continue reading How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know