Calling all emerging leaders in the non profit, social impact or social enterprise sector!
Small Giants, Humankind Enterprises and the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Bhutan have joined forces to create a deeply immersive experience within the foothills of the Himalayas. GNH is the guiding philosophy, development practise and ancient wisdom of Bhutan and it will serve as the backdrop of our experience and challenge us to embody and create the new economy in our home countries.
Our Impact Safari begins in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, journeys to the sacred mountains of Punakha and then ends in Paro with a spiritual hike to Tigers Nest Monastery. Our stay will include inspiring and thought provoking workshops and experiences, alongside hiking tours and immersive excursions to development organisations, monasteries and Bhutanese villages. Expect to be challenged intellectually and emotionally, to form deep connections to the other participants and to create a lasting connection to your personal legacy.
We will explore the power of stories, our philosophies of happiness, the power of solitude and listen to our leadership calling within the new development paradigm. We will also investigate the revolutionary and very tangible GNH framework as it applies to our work and life.
About the GNH Centre
The GNH Centre Bhutan (GNHCB) is a non-profit civil society organization under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness of Bhutan.
The GNHCB promotes the concept of GNH values nationally and internationally by facilitating transformational learning to achieve sustainable societal change. The GNHCB is passionate about creating a better world with true happiness and sees itself as a cultivator of compassionate GNH values. Under the people centric values of GNH, we work towards offering sustainable solutions for people and planet.
About the program facilitators
Lillian is a passionate social justice advocate, faciliator and mother of four. She was the inaugural Director of the Pathways to Politics Program for Women at Melbourne University and currently works with Small Giants and the Impact Investment Group. She was the former Development Director at Stand Up, a Jewish social justice organisation. Over the last 15 years Lillian has held roles in private legal practice, government and the arts. She has consulted widely in the areas of development and strategy within the for purpose sector. Lillian has Bachelor Degrees in law and business management as well as a Masters in Human Rights Law, from Monash University. She has lectured in the areas of communications law and Middle East conflict. Lillian is currently on the Board of the Castan Centre for Human Rights at Monash University, is an Advisory Board Member for the Susan Wakil Fellowship with AUJS, and Board Member of the Fouress Foundation.
Sophie Weldon is Founder and Director of Humankind Enterprises and Australian ambassador of Gross National Happiness (GNH). After a transformational trip to Bhutan in 2015, she became passionate about sharing the ideology and application of GNH. She has since returned there twice with leaders across different sectors to help them rethink their role in the new development paradigm. Her background and specialisation is strategic storytelling and community engagement for local government, business and the aged care industry. She is a passionate advocate for the power of human connection, values based development and intergenerational partnerships. In 2016 she was awarded ANZ / Nexus Innovator of the Year award and in 2015 was one of Australia’s Myer Innovation Fellows.
Dr. Julia Kim
Dr. Julia Kim is the Program Director of the GNH Centre Bhutan, which she joined in 2013, after serving on the International Expert Working Group for a New Development Paradigm (convened by the Royal Government of Bhutan) as well as the United Nations (UNDP and UNICEF) in New York. With the GNH Centre, she has designed and led a range of international GNH and leadership programs, including: the “Global Wellbeing and GNH Lab” (Global Leadership Academy/GIZ/BMZ/Presencing Institute) and the “GNH Masterclass” (Schumacher College, UK). Recent work in Thailand has begun to introduce GNH principles and practices into a large business conglomerate, as well as into vocational education (Office of the Vocational Education Commission). Dr. Kim has been an invited expert on the theme of GNH, Business and Sustainability for a range of initiatives including “Leadership Matters: Business and Politics as Drivers for Inclusive and Sustainable Development” (The German World Bank Group Forum); “Rethinking Growth, Development and Wellbeing: The Bhutanese Alternative” (International Centre for Development and Decent Work, South Africa); “Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future” (Bertelsmann Stiftung Symposium, Berlin); and the “Wisdom Together” conferences (Stockholm, Oslo). She has a research and policy background in international health and sustainable development and holds degrees from Cornell University, Tufts University, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Overview of Bhutan
Bhutan is well-known for its rugged, beautiful landscape. The country is landlocked, nestled in the Himalayan highlands, with India to the South and China to the North. Bhutan’s population is about 700,000. The country has enjoyed healthy economic growth and low inflation over the last twenty years due to “sound economic management, good governance, and judicious protection of its natural resources” according to the World Bank (2004).
Within its small boundaries the ecological diversity is amazing. Tropical jungles in the south with elephants, rhinoceros, and tigers, coniferous forest in the mid region with leopards, mountain goats, bears, and variety of bird life, and blue sheep and snow leopards in the high temperature zones. Through centuries of self-imposed isolation Bhutan has been able to preserve its spectacular environment and nurture its unique culture. Drawing inspiration from its neighbour, Tibet, Tantric Buddhism has flourished and influenced art, crafts, architecture for hundreds of years, and has shaped the Bhutanese way of life. The early 1960s saw Bhutan's first cautious opening to the outside world. Tourism began for the first time on June 2nd 1974, the coronation day of the nineteen year old King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth monarch.
Bhutan is typically not an easy or affordable place to travel to, due to the minimum daily fees that the government require to ensure standards and sustainability of their travel sector. However, group trips, like our Impact Safari, are creating a bridge for impact leaders to experience the majesty and inspiration of this unique country.
Earlier this year, Small Giants ran an Impact Safari to Bhutan for established impact leaders.
Humankind Enterprises has been running similar programs for emerging leaders for the last 2 years. One example is the Slow Change Experience that ran from 2015-2017.
This year we have joined forces to create an even better program that will bring to life our shared passion for connecting young impact leaders to a more hopeful, common narrative and support them to create inner and outer change in their lives.
Why Impact Safari for Next Gen Leaders
The world is changing, often for the better, but not always. This trip offers an opportunity to delve into the kind of leadership required for the next economy.
Young, emerging leaders are inheriting a world which is underpinned by vastly challenging social, political, environmental and spiritual crises. To create deep, lasting, cultural change we need a new collective narrative focused on innate wisdom and values, social connection, ancient knowledge, deep-listening and transformational leadership. We need to listen to and share better stories and learn from countries like Bhutan, so that we can transform the old narrative of endless growth, greed, individualism, short term problem solving and hierachical power structures. We need to leave behind the destructive and seperative mindset, honour and bring forward the good that has helped us arrive where we are now and weave it into the new economy as we design, create and build the communities, businesses and systems that we all want to be part of.
The next generation of impact leaders will need courage, wisdom, self-care, self-knowledge, community, ancient knowledge and inspiration to take them into this new era.
Impact Safari: Next Gen has been designed for this purpose alone.
The following video of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, speaks to young people's search for meaning and what's possible when we look at what's best in ourselves and our world.
Introduction to GNH
Overview of GNH, Bhutan's development philosophy
The concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) was initiated by the Fourth King of Bhutan in the early 1970s. When His Majesty spoke about GNH at the time, he questioned the prevailing measurement system that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone could deliver happiness and well-being to society. He was still a teenage monarch, and wise beyond his years. His Majesty firmly believed that happiness is an indicator, and a sign of progressive development for the Bhutanese people. He also believed in the legitimacy of public discussion in defining Bhutan’s development goals.
Bhutan’s ancient legal code of 1629 stated that, “if the government cannot create happiness for its people, then there is no purpose for government to exist”. The code stressed that Bhutanese laws must promote happiness for all sentient beings – as a Buddhist nation, it is clear that the cultivation of compassion stemmed from this ancient wisdom. That the focus was not just the economic progress of Bhutan, but of a flourishing human society living in harmony with nature. Today there is a lot of research that shows that wealth alone does not contribute to life satisfaction or happiness. GNH measures the quality of its development in a more holistic way and believes that the beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occurs side by side. Bhutan has been considered a living example by many for sparking the debate on what is real human development.
The GNH Index
The GNH index is a holistic approach to measure the happiness and wellbeing of the Bhutanese population. It is a measurement tool used for policy making to increase GNH. The GNH Index is also known as the GNH Happiness Survey. It includes the nine domains which are further supported by the 33 indicators. The Index makes the analysis of the nation’s wellbeing with each person’s achievements in each indicator. In addition to analyzing the happiness and wellbeing of the people, it also guides how policies may be designed to further create enabling conditions for the weaker scoring results of the survey.
Today, GNH is technically defined as a, “multi-dimensional development approach seeking to achieve a harmonious balance between material well-being and the spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of society.” The key words being harmonious balance - that may be achieved by balancing the needs of the body with those of the mind.
There is interest from nations all around the world to adopt GNH on a local level. Small Giants and Humankind Enterprises are currently working with the GNH Centre Bhutan to explore how this work can be adapted to our living and working environment in Australia.