Archive for Government

DATE CHANGE! – Partner with Expedition Bhutan

June 8, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Government, Logistics

While in the process of finalizing our route and itinerary we’ve been informed that in mid October—at exactly the time we had planned the start of our Expedition—the King of Bhutan will wed Jetsun Pema. Due to this significant occasion and the 2-week celebration that will ensue, we have pushed our Expedition start date out to November 1.

To partner with our expedition—see info below including new start dates for joining our Team in Bhutan. For more information on Expedition Bhutan go to and join us on Facebook.


You’re invited! Support Expedition  Bhutan and  Join  our  Team  on  an  Unprecedented  Journey…

There has never been and likely will never again be, a journey like Expedition Bhutan. As we adventure on foot, mountain bike and raft, through the heart and soul of this unique country of Bhutan, we’ll reflect light on their concept of Gross National Happiness via the following questions:

  • What is it?
  • What are its implications for the people of Bhutan?
  • What, if any, are its implications for the rest of us at a time when the world so desperately seeks peace, satisfaction and Happiness?

As a small 4-person expedition team we hope to serve as stewards of Bhutan, its people, culture, and concepts. And as a launching point to our ultimate film of this project, we’re excited to start the “sharing” with a few special others like yourself.  If you not only get what we are up to, but would like to be a special part of the vision of this extra-ordinary project we hope you’ll partner with us by supporting or joining our team for a novel discovery of something much larger than ourselves.

Peruse our partner support page with options and details to support and join our Team in Bhutan. Please contact Terri at if you have any further questions on joining the expedition.


Does Gross National Happiness Thrive in the Face of GDP?

March 18, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, GNH, Government

As I mentioned in my last post, during the reign of the 4th King laws and policy were developed that were consistent with this concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). King Jigme Singye Wangchuck believed that legitimate public deliberation, discussion and opinion should be used to define any goal and should filter through a democracy based on a GNH Index. This would then support enlightened citizenship. Today the new King Khesar is on board with his father, and GNH in Bhutan lives on.

This 5th King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck proclaimed at his 2008 coronation that continuing to fulfill the vision of the Gross National Happiness Index will be one of his main responsibilities. King Khesar underscored that implementing GNH is an investment in an “enlightened society in which the happiness and well-being of all people and sentient beings is the ultimate purpose of governance”. But to understand even the essence of the GNH Index one must first glance at several aspects of the dominate Gross Domestic Product.

For example, across the world conventional indicators related to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reflect the tangible output of a society— consumption and production. It can easily be argued, and it is readily pointed out by the Bhutanese, that GDP is biased against conservation. If GDP indicators measure progress based on rapid material growth, then GDP is prioritized at the expense of environmental preservation, and the Bhutanese believe, at the expense of cultures and community cohesion as well.

Because even that one reflection of GDP vs. GNH is an elephant sized bite to chew on (as is the document in which GNH lives), we’ll be dipping into the Gross National Happiness Index bit by bit to gain an understanding of its meaning and subsequent metric as a reflection of GDP.

In the meantime enjoy the below video created by The Simple Show explaining GNH… simply.

Join our Facebook page to continue exploring Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, while sharing the prep for our expedition. Upcoming posts will include work on our expedition route, as well as interviews with an American who does business in Bhutan and an interview with the head of the Bhutan Olympic Committee. Join our and invite your friends! We’d love to hear from you.

Back at you soon, Terri

Gross National Happiness

The Fourth Dragon King Abdicates His Throne and its Power

March 8, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Government

During an(other) era of—rule-at-all-cost-even-if-your-people-are-really-pissed-off-at-you—the fourth Dragon King of Bhutan not only abdicated his throne to his eldest son in 2006, but he declared that his country would hold its first democratic elections. During the last of 30 years of ruling his nation under the premise of Gross National Happiness and traditional Buddhist beliefs, Jigme Singye Wangchuck at age 50, gave up his throne while sending every household a new draft constitution. In 2008 he gave up power to offer his people more.

Including signifying impeachment options to the people, the Constitution of Bhutan “is based on Buddhist philosophy, international Conventions on Human Rights, comparative analysis of 20 other modern constitutions, public opinion, and existing laws, authorities, and precedents.”

Their government is now considered a Constitutional Democratic Monarchy in which a monarch acts as head of state and rules within the parameters of a constitution. In contrast to an absolute monarchy where the monarch rules, or an absolute democracy where the people ‘rule’, this new constitution takes away one-person dominance while offering the country a power-hybrid. In an unprecedented move while in the shadow of a power-hungry world, King Wangchuck volunteered this new regime.

Pico Iyer calls this a ‘quiet revolution’ when stating in an April, 2006 issue of Time Magazine, “If most politicians are inherently suspect because they seem so eager to grab power and so reluctant to surrender it, what does one make of a leader who voluntarily gives up his position, as if placing his people's needs before his own?” We’d like to find out. Have you had any experience or opinions on this new government in Bhutan? Let us know!

Join our expedition in exploring Gross National Happiness in Bhutan. Join our Facebook page and invite your friends. We’d love to hear from you.

Back at you soon,


The Coronation of ‘Gross National Happiness’

February 25, 2011 |  by  |  Dispatches, Government

In 1972 the new King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck stated to the world that a nations success should not lie in its Gross National Product (GNP) but rather, ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH). At 17 years old and well before the west started examining the concept of ‘positive psychology’, this was a bold yet comfortable declaration for the youngest ruler in the world at the time. He recognized that the rich are not always happy and often those who are poor and happy tend to declare themselves quite rich. The King’s statement signaled his commitment to building a modern yet unique culture based on Buddhist values—the ideal of Gross National Happiness reigned.

GNH was developed and expanded by Bhutan to measure quality of life or social progress in more psychological (or intangible) terms than GNP. Buddhist teachings state that we live in a mentally conditioned universe. What primarily shapes our experiences is of the mind; what we think, how we feel, what we cultivate in our heads. So if one’s primary focus is to generate well being in life, wouldn’t it make sense to start with our essence—with our mental well being?

Wangchuck remained steadfast in generating decisions and changes for his country based on a means developed to measure GNH. He went on to rule for 30 years with GNH as his countries underlying essence (before he recently abdicated the throne for unique reasons). But the essence of a concept in action is only as solid as subsequent results. The tiny country of Bhutan has generated enough tangibles to gain attention in over 40 countries who have embraced GNH, as well as the US who named Wangchuck to, ‘Time magazine's 100 People Who Shape Our World in 2006’.

This post just barely puts to throne such a vast and fascinating topic! In upcoming posts we’ll discuss how Bhutan has developed a means to measure GNH, as well as how Wangchuck ruled his country with GNH as its foundation. Stay tuned!

In the meantime we want to hear from you; Have you lived or experienced a country who promotes a measurement system for GNH? Do you have any ideas on how you could measure Gross National Happiness in your daily life?

Join our Facebook page and invite your friends. We’d love to hear from you!

Back at you soon,