International Day of Happiness, 20th March 2015 observed at Rangsit University
The Rangsit university in collaboration with UN organizations in Bangkok, International Research Associates for Happy Societies (IRAH) and Royal Bhutanese Embassy, Bangkok organized one day International Forum on “Sustainable Development and Sustainable Happiness”. The forum was organized to observe the International Day of Happiness and to initiate a discourse on how happiness can be adapted in Sustainable Development Goals. The Bhutanese ambassador to Thailand accompanied by Minister and Minister Counselor attended the forum. The vice president of Rangsit University Dr. Chitriya Pinthong presided over the opening session.
The Bhutanese ambassador with the aid of visual graphic characters made a presentation on GNH elaborating on how the development philosophy of GNH was coined and its implementation in Bhutan and discussion in the outside world. He clarified that Bhutan doesn’t claim to be a land of happiness but rather Bhutan is aspiring for happiness. He also touched on how, when, who and why GNH and Happiness was important for Bhutan and the world at large.
Mr. Bishwanath Tiwari, UNDP Regional Office Bangkok, Dr. Nima Asgari, Public Health Administrator, WHO Bangkok and Mr. Witaya Pintong, Senior Adviser of the Office of National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) of Thailand also spoke on the occasion.
In the afternoon session, two papers on GNH were presented by Dr. Sauwalak Kittiprapas, Director, Faculty of Economics, Rangsit University and Prof. Dr. Vijay Kumar Shrotryia, North-Eastern Hill University, Shilong, Meghalaya, India. A third paper on the Local Conception of Wellbeing in Lao PDR was presented by Dr. Thantavanh Manolom, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR.
Dr. Kittiprapas said that the current SDGs which are discussed globally do not include human happiness. She touched on the sufficiency economy model of Thailand based on the three principles of moderation, reasonableness, and self immunity and the GNH philosophy of Bhutan. She emphasized that although time is very limited for happiness to be included in the SDGs, perhaps the next global development agenda after SDGs could be HDGs (Happiness Development Goals).
The forum was attended by members of diplomatic corps, academics, social researchers and Bhutanese students studying in Rangsit. There were genuine appreciation for GNH and goodwill for Bhutan among the participants.