The 3rd International Conference on Gross National Happiness Conference 2007, Nongkhai & Bangkok, Thailand
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Home : Pre and Post Conference Activities : Preparatory Meetings in the Mekong region

Two Preparatory Meetings in the Mekong region have been organised this year: in Laos and in Cambodia. The third meeting will take place in Vietnam. The purpose of this series of meetings is to introduce the concept of Gross National Happiness to interested groups in the Mekong region, spanning from the Tibetan plateau to Vietnam. Several of the Mekong region countries sare so-called 'Least Developed Country' status with Bhutan. This implies that choices can still be made at a point before no-return from extreme modernization.

The host of the first Regional Preparaory Meeting was Sombath Somphone, Founder of PADETC, Vientiane, Laos. His model of holistic development gives direction to the PADETC network and it resonates remarkably with the basic principles of Gross National Happiness.
Dasho Karma Ura spoke to an enthusiastic audience of, mainly young, Laotian practitioners and he isnpired towards comparitive research and cross-cultural cooperation with the Mekong countries.


Photo: Sombath Somphone (foreground) and Dasho Karma Ura.

The meeting in Cambodia, July 2007, was organized by the Cambodian Sokhadomromanea Team, the equivalent of Gross National Happiness in Khmer language.

The preparatory meetings were preceded by a panel presentation on Social Issues on Cambodia, an exposure visit to rural and urban communities in need and presentations of Youth groups and community development organizations assocatiated in the Cambodian GNH Team.

The preparations resulted in a diversity of initiatives for issue-based workshops and for the Youth program.

After the preparations the participants visited the National Museum and the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum.

One of the workshops in the second part of the conference, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, to be conducted by Long Khet, one of the GNH pioneers in Cambodia will focus on Peace Building with reference to recent conflict and suffering in Cambodia.

Photo: Ms. Chea Vannath, leading resource person of the panel presentations on Social Issues in Cambodia.


The third Regional Preparatory Meeting will be hosted by Dr. Bui Quang Toan of VietDHRRA. Before the preparatory meeting an exposure visit to indigenous communities in North Vietnam will be offered. The meeting will focus on GNH as a pathway towards poverty reduction.

Photo: Dr. Bui Quang Toan.

Click to enlargeDasho Karma Ura explains Gross National Happiness to the audience in PADETC, Laos. Left: Sombath Somphone.

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Young people in particular show interest; PADETC, Laos.

Click to enlargeLong Khet, Youth For Peace, welcomes participants of the Preparatory meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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Ham Kimkong, Cambodian Volunteers for Society, presents the results of discussion groups.

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The seminar room of the Youth Resource Development Program, Phnom Penh, was overcrowded.

Click to enlargeKarma Wangdi, Center for Bhutan Studies, gives a presentation of preliminary GNH research results in Bhutan.  

Click to enlargeTranslation in small groups.