Bhutanese experts, a Bhutanese minister and I were among several present during the big celebration in the university's old ballroom in October. It was a great and rich anniversary program, and I was especially inspired by the conversation "Doing the Impossible" between presenter Nina Witoszek and Julia Kim who is a senior program consultant at the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan.
Gross national happiness. I think Bhutan and their idea of gross national happiness is exciting. I once encouraged then Minister of Development Heikki Holmås to enter into a binding cooperation between our two countries, with mutual learning.
In a chapter of the book Gold or green forests (2016) Eivind Hoff-Elimari speaks with both high and low during a stay in Bhutan. He clarifies myths and utopias, but with both respect, a watchful eye and sufficient intellectual distance. We understand that Bhutan is not at all a Shangri-la of happiness, but that we can still bring useful lessons from it.
New Zealand is working on a growth concept that includes financial, physical, social, human and natural capital.
The main problem with Bhutan is, of course, the forced relocation of the country's Nepalese minority. It gives a bad taste in the mouth and is a bit like another Buddhist country's handling of its own minority (Myanmar...