BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Newey is the head of Thailand's Youth Venture program, located in Bangkok.
"I spent last week at the Third International Conference on Gross National Happiness (GNH) which was held in Nongkhai, a province in northeastern Thailand."
Youth Venture, a global organization and partner of Ashoka, is dedicated to supporting and encouraging Ventures that benefit society, proposed and run by young people across Thailand. The vision behind the program is that everyone can take initiative and address social needs. Young people form the basis for this.
Newey will be continuing her work with the program to further the impact it is having on Bangkok society. Follow her efforts in her blogs and video diaries.
December 3, 2007
I spent last week at the Third International Conference on Gross National Happiness (GNH) which was held in Nongkhai, a province in northeastern Thailand.
I had heard about GNH years back and wondered about Bhutan's aim of "happiness" as a goal for the country. This international conference was first organized in Bhutan, then in Canada, now here in Thailand.
I learned from the Bhutanese about how they created public policy to emphasize culture and environmental preservation alongside economic development. I have no doubt about GNH and Bhutan's direction after I saw how happy Bhutanese are that I have met throughout my work in the past 5 years.
Anyway, I can't imagine how we can adapt their strategies toward GNH, which fits a country population of 500,000, compared to 66 million people in Thailand.
There were participants from 15 countries, some of them were youth from Canada, Indonesia and China who came to brainstorm and share their ideas. I met Chou, a graduate student from Beijing University, who was a part-time consultant for business in China.
We shared lots of ideas on how to utilize the corporate social responsibility trend to benefit social development. We agreed that business should be encouraged to be initially responsible for the welfare of their employees and taking care of the environment more than charities.
When I got back from the conference, Bangkok greeted me with its cool and dry breeze replacing the sunny, humid weather that I was used to.
Today will be my last day in Thailand before leaving for the U.S. to attend a Youth Venture global team meeting and several trips that will give me insight into the U.S. Youth Venture program. I have no worries about leaving the Youth Venture program here for the rest of the team to take care of, since I know it will be in good hands.
The prospect of setting myself on a journey again excites me -- the people I will meet and learn from -- and there will be time for me to review what has happened in my life and how to proceed