Bhutan: A Kingdom of Happiness more than a documentary film, a dialogue Wed, 01 Feb 2017 20:51:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Educational Clips Wed, 25 May 2011 23:36:14 +0000 Chris Droukas We created a thirty-minute educational version of our film for the D.C. Environmental Film Festival in 2010. Since then, we’ve been showing this version to various film festivals around the world and getting a very positive response.

So, we’re in the process of refining this educational version for distribution to schools while raising funds for our broader documentary.

Take a look at some clips from the educational version. Please contact us if you want to learn more.

The Bhutan: A Kingdom of Happiness Team

Bhutan’s Message of Gross National Happiness

Bhutan Moves to Democracy

Bhutan and the Environment

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May Updates Fri, 20 May 2011 22:32:51 +0000 Chris Droukas The educational version of our film has been screened at film festivals in Washington, DC., Mexico and California.

We’re now in the process of applying for grants to expand the documentary.

You can support the film with a tax-deductible donation.

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DC Environmental Film Festival Screening Sat, 13 Mar 2010 01:28:08 +0000 Chris Droukas Please join us on March 28th at 4:30 pm for a special in-progress screening of Bhutan: A Kingdom of Happiness, as part of the DC Environmental Film Festival.

After the screening, discuss many of the concepts raised in the film with a distinguished panel to include the filmmakers as well as Sonam Tobgay of the United Nations, Mark LaPrarie of the World Bank, Bruce Bunting and Pem Lama of the Bhutan Foundation and Erich E. Veitenheimer, Partner at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP.

Admission is free.

Thank you for your continued support and generosity.

4:30 PM, Sunday, March 28, 2010
Carnegie Institution for Science – Elihu Root Auditorium
1530 P St., NW (Map)

For more information visit our EFF profile.

Panelist Profiles

Ms. Dara Padwo-Audick is an award-winning writer, producer and director with over twenty years of experience with cable and network broadcast programs and series. Dara served as an Executive Producer for Discovery Channel and Discovery HD Theater National Park related programming from 2005-2007. Her repertoire includes both one-offs and series for Animal Planet, CBS, Discovery Channel, Discovery Kids, Discovery Health, Discovery Science Channel, ESPN and ESPN 2, HGTV, Lifetime Television, NBC, National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Television, Outdoor Life Network, and PBS. Dara’s work encompasses a variety of history, medicine, military, natural history, sports and adventure topics and includes such titles as Grand Teton National Park: Life on the Edge, The Discovery Young Scientists Challenge, National Geographic: Crittercam for Fox, National Geographic Explorer and Women Behind the Wheel with host, Geena Davis. In addition to being a film and television professional, Dara is an adjunct professor at the School of Communications at American University in Washington, D.C., where she teaches courses in Film and Journalism.

Carol Graham is Senior Fellow and Charles Robinson Chair at the Brookings Institution. She is also College Park Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany.

She is the author of Happiness around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires (Oxford University Press, forthcoming); Happiness and Hardship: Opportunity and Insecurity in New Market Economies (with Stefano Pettinato, Brookings, 2002); Private Markets for Public Goods: Raising the Stakes in Economic Reform (Brookings, 1998); Safety Nets, Politics and the Poor: Transitions to Market Economies (Brookings, 1994); Peru’s APRA (Lynne Rienner, 1992); Improving the Odds: Political Strategies for Institutional Reform in Latin America, with Merilee Grindle, Eduardo Lora, and Jessica Seddon (IDB, 1999); and A Half Penny on the Dollar: The Future of Development Aid, with Michael O’Hanlon (Brookings, 1997). She is the editor, with Eduardo Lora, of Paradox and Perceptions: Quality of Life in Latin America (Brookings, 2009); with Susan Collins, of the Brookings Trade Forum 2004: Globalization, Poverty, and Inequality (Brookings, 2005); and, with Nancy Birdsall, of New Markets, New Opportunities? Economic and Social Mobility in a Changing World (Brookings/Carnegie, 1999), and Beyond Trade-Offs: Market Reforms and Equitable Growth in Latin America (Brookings/IDB, 1988). She is also the author of articles in journals including the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the World Bank Research Observer, Health Affairs, the Journal of Socio-Economics, World Economics, Foreign Affairs, the Journal of Development Studies, the Journal of Latin American Studies, World Development, the Journal of Happiness Studies, and of numerous chapters in edited volumes, including, most recently, in the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. She also serves an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and on the editorial board of several other academic journals.

Graham served as Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at Brookings from 2002-2004. She has also served as a Special Advisor to the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. She has also been a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, United Nations Development Program, and the Harvard Institute for International Development, helping to design safety net programs in Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. She has testified in Congress several times on the economic situation in Latin America, and has discussed related topics on NBC News, National Public Radio, the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and CNN among others. Graham has also written in the Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times and the Washington Post.

Her research has received support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Tinker and Hewlett Foundations. She was awarded a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship for 1997-98, during which time she served as Special Adviser to the Executive Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank. Graham, born in Lima, Peru, has an A.B. from Princeton University, an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. She is the mother of three children.

Mr. Darin Olien was contacted in 2007, by the Government of Bhutan’s Trade Ministry and the World Bank to explore Bhutan’s medicinal plants and other products. Darin is a western ‘herbal hunter’ who ventured to this ecologically diverse medicinal kingdom in the Himalayas. He began to actually import authentic Cordyceps mushroom (C. sinensis) to the US from this region in 2008. He continues his efforts with the Institute of Traditional Medicine. Upon traveling to this Himalayan medicinal fortress in 2007, Darin brought a film crew and filmed the entire adventure. That footage is part of a mini-documentary on the country of Bhutan winning numerous awards in film festivals around the globe.

Dr. Bruce W. Bunting is President of the Bhutan Foundation in Washington, DC. Dr. Bunting was the managing director and vice president of World Wildlife Fund’s Special Programs and Strategic Partnerships .He first visited Bhutan in 1986 and has been a long time advisor to the Bhutanese government on a variety of issues including the establishment of Bhutan national park system, the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation, the world’s first such trust fund, and the Bhutan Health Trust Fund. He has authored several articles, including Bhutan, Kingdom in the Clouds for National Geographic Magazine. He received a B.S. in zoology and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University.

Ms. Pem Lama is a Program Associate at the Bhutan Foundation in Washington, DC. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in International Relations and Economics from Tufts University in May 2009. While at Tufts, she was chosen as one of the Tisch Active Citizenship Summer Scholars to intern at Tarayana Foundation in Bhutan. During her internship with Tarayana, Ms. Lama was involved in setting up a small candle-manufacturing unit in Endochholing village in Trongsa, Bhutan. She also studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London for a year. Before attending Tufts University, she got her high school diploma from the United World College-USA. She received the scholarship to attend UWC-USA through Bhutan Youth Development Fund. Ms. Lama is interested in health and economics, particularly in developing countries and hopes to pursue a Masters degree in a related field.

Mr. Mark LaPrairie, World Bank Representative to Bhutan, first went to Bhutan in 1988 under a Canadian volunteer program for a three-year assignment as a teacher in rural primary schools. He returned to Bhutan in 1997 as Education Officer for UNICEF. He joined the Bank in 1999 as an Education Specialist in South Asia. His prior work experience also includes field positions with CARE (Canada) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Africa. For the past eight years, he has served as Task Team Leader for Bank-financed education projects in Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Prior to his appointment as Representative to Bhutan, Mark served as Country Operations Officer for Bhutan and head-of-office in Maldives. Mark is currently pursuing a doctorate of education degree at the University of London, examining the use of children’s stories in primary schools and hip-hop in high schools for Buddhism-based values education in Bhutan.

Mr. Sonam Tobgay currently serves as the Minister-Counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations in New York. Prior to arrival in New York, he was the Chief, Policy Planning Division; and Chief, International Organizations Division, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu. He has also served as Charge d’Affaires a.i. at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Kuwait and as Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan in Geneva from 1998 – 2002. He received his MA in Diplomacy and MA in Public Policy (International Policy) from the Australian National University in Canberra, and his BA (Economics and History) from the University of Delhi.

Dr. Erich E. Veitenheimer, III is a Partner in the Patent Counseling & Prosecution practice group and a member of the firm’s Litigation Department. He joined the firm in 2005 and is a resident in the Washington DC office. Dr. Veitenheimer specializes in developing and implementing strategies to enable life science and biotech companies, universities and non-profit research organizations to procure worldwide protection for their inventions and/or to provide them with the necessary freedom to operate.

In addition to integrated and focused patent portfolio management, Dr. Veitenheimer provides counseling to national and international clients for a wide variety of intellectual property matters. He speaks frequently at international forums on a wide variety of intellectual property rights issues ranging from evaluating the various forms of protections available for novel non-human organisms to understanding the relevant rights of indigenous populations.

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People of Bhutan Sat, 21 Nov 2009 02:00:41 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Kids on curbOur documentary is the story of the people of Bhutan, from the ordinary to extraordinary, from young to old, from hardworking farmers to the royal family. Every one of them has hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, and knows the real problems that come with modernization. We’ll use this space to tell you about them.

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His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Sat, 21 Nov 2009 01:00:31 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WangchuckThe Fifth Dragon King of Bhutan — affectionately known as “K Five” — His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is head of the Wangchuck dynasty and the world’s youngest head of state. After completing his basic education in Bhutan, he studied at Phillips Academy (Andover), the Cushing Academy and Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and at Oxford University, where he completed the Foreign Service Program and an MPhil in Politics. The task facing him, now that Democracy has been formally adopted in his country, is unique and daunting. His Majesty has stated that the responsibility of his generation, the youth of Bhutan, is to ensure the success of democracy without sacrificing tradition and culture. Is this possible? Our HD footage of his coronation on the auspicious day of November 6th, his genuine interactions with his people and his compelling speech to his country are riveting.

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Traditional Farmer Sat, 21 Nov 2009 00:00:34 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Ugyen has traveled from his farm in Paro by bus to attend the coronation in Thimphu. He knows that things are changing in Bhutan, including the way that he tends to his land. Still, Ugyen seems optimistic about the future. He believes in his new King.

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His Majesty, the Fourth King Fri, 20 Nov 2009 23:00:32 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick His Majesty, the fourth King, Jigme Singye WangchuckHis Majesty, the fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck appeared in the May 8, 2006 issue of Time and was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 People Who Shape Our World in 2006. His reign is marked by phenomenal development. Roads and bridges, schools and hospitals, basic services in agriculture and livestock now reach deep into the remote corners of the country. Bhutan has also made tremendous progress in the field of communications, hydroelectric power development, financial sector, environmental protection, and industrial and infrastructural development during the king’s reign. His ‘revolutionary’ Buddhist views help us to understand the bridge between the medieval past and the future.

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High School Fri, 20 Nov 2009 22:00:40 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Lhazin is a high school student living in Thimphu. Like many Bhutanese adolescents, Lhazin plans to attend college. While she is excited about the upcoming coronation, she is even more thrilled about the prospect of attending university overseas. She knows that Bhutan’s future is dependent upon the contributions of her generation.

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Dasho Paljor Dorji Fri, 20 Nov 2009 21:00:47 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Dasho Paljor DorjiThe fourth king’s cousin, Dasho Paljor Dorji (or Benji, as he likes to be called) was instrumental in forming the first Bhutanese NGO—the “Royal Society for the Protection of Nature”. He candidly shares with us how he contributed to the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness and helped guide the devolution of power from absolute Monarchy to a constitutional Monarchy. He provides a compelling perspective as to why the Fourth King made such visionary decisions for his country and what challenges now face His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

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Om Bar Fri, 20 Nov 2009 20:00:22 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Om Bar in Thimphu is adjacent to a disco and karaoke pool hall. Western influence has penetrated the nightlife in Thimphu. Unlike their parents who grew up in isolation from the outside world, the youth are connected to the world through technology. Media cannot be avoided and its impact is visible.

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Dorji Wangchuck, Entertainment Director Fri, 20 Nov 2009 19:00:51 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick As the Entertainment Director for Centenary Celebrations, Dorji Wangchuck supervised most of the festivals and activities that preceded and follow the coronation. A childhood friend to His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Dorji has an entrepreneurial view about Bhutan’s future and the important role that his King must play to ensure balance between the old and the new.

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Bhutanese Broadcasting Service Fri, 20 Nov 2009 18:00:27 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick The BBS broadcast the coronation to more than sixty thousand households that have a television set. Television was not introduced to Bhutan until 1999 and is still a government-controlled novelty. Our cameras followed Bhutanese Broadcasting Service crews and two producers throughout the Coronation ceremonies, to eavesdrop on their interviews and coverage.

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Lopon Yanka, Astrologer Fri, 20 Nov 2009 17:00:53 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Astrology plays a major role in all Bhutanese affairs. Days are deemed to be ‘auspicious’ or ‘inauspicious’ and the Bhutanese Observer prints detailed guidance, based upon the reader’s astrological sign and the portents of the day. The date and time of the King’s Coronation was divinely determined. Lopon Yanka is an Astrologer and head Professor at The Royal Astrology Institute. Through his eyes and insights, we begin to understand the great importance of astrology in the every day life of all Bhutanese citizens.

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Jichen Thinley of DrukNet Fri, 20 Nov 2009 16:00:59 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Bhutan Telecom is on the cutting edge of the cyber technology that will allow Bhutan to connect to the global community. Jichen Thinley is certain that the Internet will enhance Bhutan’s policy of Gross National Happiness. The Internet has become big business in Bhutan.

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Lyonchen Jigme Yoser Thinley Fri, 20 Nov 2009 15:00:53 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Lyonchen Jigme Yoeser ThinleyPrime Minister Yoser said Bhutan has pursued a unique development path guided by the former King’s philosophy of Gross National Happiness since the early 1970s. Gross National Happiness emphasized a balanced life that matched the material needs of the body, with the spiritual, psychological and emotional needs of the mind. The Royal Government structured its development program on four broad themes: sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, not growth; environmental conservation; promotion of culture; and good governance. Despite growing problems like alcoholism and drug abuse, Prime Minister Yoser is hopeful about Bhutan’s future.

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Consul Michael Rutland Fri, 20 Nov 2009 14:00:51 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick The Honorary Consul of Bhutan to the United Kingdom and a former tutor to the Fourth King, Mr. Rutland believes that while Bhutan is indeed changing and confronting genuine issues, the optimism that prevails among the people will see the country through in the end.

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Chef Kelzang Fri, 20 Nov 2009 13:00:35 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Chef KelzangOur cameras followed Chef Kelzang, Caterer, into the Royal Palace to partake in the makings of a coronation luncheon that will feed over 500 guests. Traditional Bhutanese fare of hot chili peppers and rice is combined with exotic treats from Thailand and India. The palace is bustling with preparation activities. Kelzang is responsible for every detail… and the decorations are even more elaborate than the food.

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Gross National Happiness Educational Conference Thu, 19 Nov 2009 02:00:44 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Our team has been invited to film the first-ever gathering of international scholars and great thinkers to examine the meaning of Gross National Happiness as it relates to education.

In December, 2009, The GNH Educational Conference will launch an unprecedented effort—the first in the world—to transform an entire national educational system along holistic lines.

Bhutan intends its new educational system to reflect fully and in every respect the principles, values, and approaches of its core ‘Gross National Happiness’ development philosophy, which seeks to integrate sustainable economic development with true environmental conservation, the wisdom and practices of its profound ancient culture, and good governance.

The country’s leaders want its youth to grow up as good citizens with a deep, abiding, and genuine care for the natural world and for others, and with the ability to see the nature of reality clearly and to cut through the dominant consumerist and materialist messaging to which they are exposed on television and elsewhere. The new education system is intended to integrate genuinely mind, heart, and action.

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message from the producer/director Fri, 13 Nov 2009 19:48:24 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick Dara In Thimphu

Dara In Thimphu

In 1997, when National Geographic Television sent me on a location scout to pre-interview Sherpas in Nepal who had climbed Mount Everest, I found the people and the beauty of the Himalayas astounding. As a westerner, living for a short time with a Sherpa family forever changed my life. Watching their gentle, peaceful interactions and their accepting open demeanor opened my eyes to Buddhism and the ways in which all life is interdependent.

It’s not surprising then, that I would ultimately be drawn to Bhutan and the country’s philosophy of Gross National Happiness, an idea rooted in a simple Buddhist message, that happiness lies in the middle path.

After years of trying and failing to both visit and film in Bhutan, I finally made it there in 2008. I felt privileged to be able to film the Grand Coronation of the 5th King, but more importantly, I felt that I was given an honor that I might share Bhutan’s perspective with a world that needs to hear its message that happiness is indeed possible.

Bhutan is a model for us. Now, more than ever, in these times of global economic turmoil and re-evaluation of social and financial values, Bhutan has much to share and say about the ways in which we can be happy.

My hope is that viewers will be inspired by Bhutan’s courage and, as I was in 1997, somehow transformed.

Dara Padwo-Audick
Enlightened Media LLC

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new web site Thu, 05 Nov 2009 02:25:38 +0000 Dara Padwo-Audick You’re reading the new web site for the film Bhutan: A Kingdom of Happiness.  Subscribe to our feed to receive periodic updates about this documentary.  There’s a lot going on, and we’ll be telling you more about it, right here.

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