The Centre's purpose is to manifest in living practice of Bhutan's unique, balanced development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which seeks to integrate equitable and sustainable socio-economic development with environmental conservation, cultural promotion, and good governance.
We all know that the world is crumbling under the devastating impacts of climate change – it is felt everywhere with earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, pollution, species extinction, inequalities, terror, financial insecurity, entrenched poverty – a world not getting happier despite ever rising levels of material consumption fuelled by rampant resource degradation. The world is getting poorer by the day, half of Bhutan's population size is poor in Denmark and America reports that it has reached highest level of poverty.
Greatly pained by such changes, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, our GNH teacher, holds deepest and longest dream to build a GNH Centre in Bhutan – a light to consciousness for a sustainable living. It may not rank high in the conventional policy priorities, he regards realisation of this would be central to our survival and greater benefit to the world. And this is where he is seeking help from all of you to join hands to build a safer and happier world. As a small token, he wants to create a GNH Centre that fully embodies and models the principles of GNH in every aspect of its design, functioning, activity, and human interaction, manifesting simple and sustainable living in harmony with nature and other beings, and teaching and demonstrating both to our own citizens and to international visitors how to bring GNH values and practices fully into their daily work, life, community, country, and world. It will be a beacon to our nation and hopefully far beyond Bhutan's borders. Until we bring GNH demonstrably, completely, and convincingly into the very fabric of our society, behaviour, policy, and activity, our high-sounding words and principles will ring hollow. We need to launch that ambitious endeavour by creating a place that, in every aspect of its living practice, demonstrates "The GNH!"
We have a beautiful piece of land in Bumthang, central Bhutan - Bhutan's spiritual heartland – a hidden land of bliss. We have a dedicated task force, including a few design and architectural experts, and we have a draft design plan. And we want the GNH Centre to be fully up and running by the summer of 2013, offering a full range of GNH-based educational, leadership, intercultural, contemplative, ecological, work and training programs, and demonstrating in living action how we can build a better, saner, more humane world for the benefit of all beings. In every respect, we are ready to go!
In sum, the GNH Centre will be a place where individuals leave refreshed, invigorated, and empowered with new inspiration and understanding of how to bring GNH principles, values, and practices fully and meaningfully into their daily lives and work. Going back to their own communities, they will know more about how to serve their families, neighbours, country, and world with genuine purpose, compassion and effectiveness.