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Posted on on April 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Happiness Initiative

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Susan Andrews is, as the Prime Minister of Bhutan says, the ambassador of Gross National Happiness in Brazil. Her life changed 20 years ago when the Prime Minister asked “Why is Bhutan the only country pursuing GrossNational Happiness whenhappiness is the ultimate goal of all people.”

She showed us her work in Brazil to bring to there communities of trust that focus on the goal of sustainable development.The mayor of a city near San Paulo is using GNH to engage and enhance his city. Compassion and wellbeing are part of the curricula schools. Children learn the art of clowning as “doctors of joy.” Children learn to bring joy and love to thier parents. The youth surveyed neighbors on the domains of happiness, then coordinated neighborhood town meetings to discuss the results and makechanges in their community. They were trained in conducting survey, and able to conduce a random sample with 5% accuracy. With professionals, they coordinate a town meeting based on the world cafe model. The community became aware of where there was need for basic healthcare, and took action. They saw where single mothers could use support, and gave it. Local government and businesses saw where they could work together to better serve people’s needs.Communities became stronger and kids disengaged from school got interested and involved. The kids got healthier, more idealistic and happier.

Susan finished by defining power: the ability to influence other – by a carrot or stick. But now, its changed. Its the ability to attract. Not whose army wins but whose story ends. With happiness, we have the best story – its not only a story of a new economy, of sustainability, but a story of the heart.
The above is from a blog – that covered the April 2012 Happiness events at the UN in  New York City.
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