Program Director of Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan at Webster Vienna

On Thursday, January 22, a group of about 60 people came to hear Dr. Tho Ha Vinh, the program director of the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Centre in Bhutan, give an overview of the concept of GNH, the implementation of this alternative paradigm for economic development in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the importance of taking happiness and well-being into account in any measurement of development.

The lecture can be watched at:

Dr. Ha Vinh, formerly Head of Training at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and founder with his wife, Lisi, of the Eurasia Foundation and Association, has spent most of his professional life in education with a special focus on meeting the needs of people with disabilities, addressing ways as well of creating communities with and for these groups who are so often marginalized in our society. He explained at the beginning of his talk that he came to study happiness through encountering the great suffering caused by war and natural disasters in his work for the ICRC.

It was, as hoped, a very diverse audience, including students, faculty, alumni, journalists, prospective students and faculty, some of our new neighbors in Vienna’s second district, and others who had read about the talk in one of the daily newspapers or heard about it on Austrian radio.

Originally conceived by alumna and adjunct faculty member, Elisabeth Cassels-Brown, the idea was very quickly taken on board and implemented by Academic Director Regina Kecht, Department Head for General Education Dorothy Kopel, Webster Vienna Director Arthur Hirsh, and Special Assistant to the Director Allison Snowden, who deserve thanks also for the quick turnaround as well as the attention to detail that made this event an enriching one for all involved.