Educating for Gross National Happiness
In 2009, Richard Brown, founder of and teacher in Naropa University's Contemplative Education Department, was invited to assist Bhutan in an overhaul of the country's education system. Operating for many years under the British style system so prevalent in South Asia, this small Buddhist country in the Himalayas wished for an educational system more in tune with their values of Gross National Happiness. Bhutan sought the expertise of scholars in Contemplative Education to bring more contemplative and holistic practices into their schools. In all, twenty-five experts from eighteen different countries were asked to participate. Richard, heading a small group of Naropa University faculty, joined the other invited experts along with Bhutanese students, educators, and officials for a week-long workshop that laid the foundation for Bhutan's educational reform.
For more information about this unprecedented undertaking, listen to an interview with Richard and Judith Simmer-Brown conducted by the Shambhala Times, or read Educating for Gross National Happiness, an article published in Naropa Magazine's Spring 2010 issue.