Bhutan Law School Organizes Conference on Gross National Happiness

Bhutan’s prominent law school, Jigme Singye Wangchuck (JSW) School of Law recently organized a conference that brought together Bhutanese legal scholars and environmental experts from around the world to discuss Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness and how it might help address climate change.

The University of North Florida associate professor of political science, Dr. Josh Gellers, presented a paper entitled, “With Happiness and Justice for All? Gross National Happiness and the More-than-Human World,” which discussed how Gross National Happiness might include a theory of justice that includes species other than humans affected by climate change.

“I have taught about Bhutan’s novel approach to development in my politics of developing countries course, but I never thought I’d actually get the chance to go there,” said Gellers. “I was fortunate to be invited to participate in this terrific conference and learn directly from the Bhutanese people,’ he mentioned on University’s page.

While in Bhutan, Gellers spoke with students in JSW Law’s first graduating class and had dinner with Her Majesty Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, who is a Princess of Bhutan and President of the law school.

“International education at UNF is all about bringing students into the world and bringing the world back to them,” Gellers said. “I am so grateful I had the opportunity to share what I learned about the political and environmental philosophies of this small but important country with my students who are on the cusp of graduating. I hope it inspires them to keep learning about other cultures and think critically about their environmental impact,” the university website further mentioned.

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