The 2012-13 school year represented a sea change for THINK Global School, as for the first time in our school’s history the academic calendar included a two week mini-term. This intersession provided students and the accompanying staff and faculty with an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a concept unique to the small Himalayan country: Gross National Happiness.
The overarching theme of the trip regarded the innovative attempt of Bhutan’s government and populace to develop and implement the four pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in all aspects of local and national life. These pillars are:
1) Sustainable economic development
2) Environmental conservation
3) Cultural heritage and national identity
4) Good governance
Armed with their handy “media kits,” which included an iPhone, a notebook, and a pencil, students set off to investigate and understand this relatively hidden culture, dividing themselves into groups to study one of the four pillars more in depth.
A developing nation, Bhutan is dealing with the process of making the weighty decisions that present themselves over the course of industrialization. Unlike many of its neighbors, however, Bhutan shows great compassion in regards to its human and natural resources, opting not to engage in economic development at the expense of either the environment or its people. These conscious decisions are at the heart of Gross National Happiness.