Gross National Happiness can be described as the convergence of concepts and policies adopted to construct and preserve a natural and social environment, where citizens can express and develop themselves and their sense of interdependence. Launched by Bhutans fourth king H.M. Jigme Singye Wanchuck, the vision of GNH has gradually found the premises for its operationalisation through the individuation of four major pillars - Good governance, Socio-economic Development, Cultural preservation and promotion, Environmental preservation and promotion. The concept is nowadays challenging the very idea of development as a mainly economic process far beyond the borders of the Himalayan nation, through a deep consideration of the importance of 9 key domain areas considered essential for achieving sustainable conditions for a common well-being. Psychological Well-being, Health, Time Use, Education, Cultural Diversity and Resilience, Good Governance, Community Vitality, Ecological Diversity and Resilience, Living Standards, are all concrete declinations of a vision that will undergo continue monitoring and evaluation by the very same people to whom it is addressed, with local and national consensus to be built around the perpetual negotiation of social, political and economical systems, and in respect of the countries traditional cultures, knowledge and institutions. The 3rd International Conference on Gross National Happiness is the result of the interaction of this vision with the similar views, concepts and policies developed in different countries, and aims at increasing awareness about alternative approaches to sustainable living and supporting mechanisms of cooperation and networking, creating bridges for sharing, understanding and implementing people-centered programs all around the world.
As already demonstrated by the growing interest and successful presence of young delegates in the first two international conferences in Bhutan (2004) and Canada (2005) as well as in the regular regional meetings taking place in the Mekong countries since 2006 - the involvement of youth in the GNH process is critical, and worlds change demands the participation of its future decision-makers in planning policy and activities aiming to promote visions of sustainable living and well-being. Nevertheless, the evaluation of the different activities leading to the 3rd International Conference made by the young participants themselves underlined how Youth is often expected to play only a secondary role in such high-profile meetings, and how difficult is to include the work of the young delegates and participants in the results and orientations of the main workshops and panel discussions.The Youth Program and Forum of the 3rd International Conference on Gross National Happiness will constitute a significant opportunity to really incorporate the Youth perspective in the discussion and implementation of future strategies, providing a space for institutional support to and active participation of the youth of the world, ready to take and accept responsibility for the construction of GNH understanding and targets. Building future wisdom on the fundaments of traditional cultures and knowledge, the young delegates attending the conference will therefore have the delicate task to represent the permanent change in continuity needed for GNH to address the challenges of social transformation: their presence and work will be a lively reminder of the defies and potential of youth participation and Future Wisdom Development, moving Gross National Happiness forward.