Kent Schroeder was surprised and, yes, happy to receive an award for his research on Bhutan’s unique development strategy, Gross National Happiness.
Schroeder, program coordinator of The Business School’s International Development Degree, received the “certificate of appreciation” from the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, during a conference in the South Asian nation in November.
Schroeder was attending the 6th International Conference of Gross National Happiness: From GNH Philosophy to Praxis and Policy, when he was surprised to be called onstage to receive the award.
He is one of eight recipients from around the world who have contributed to GNH, a strategy based on sustainable socio-economic development, preserving cultural values, conserving the environment and fostering good governance.
Under the aegis of The Business School, Schroeder had been involved in the past in co-designing and delivering a management training project to the public sector in Bhutan.
“These experiences demonstrated to me that there was something interesting and different happening in Bhutan, and that was really the basis for my research project.”
Schroeder’s unique thesis “The Politics of Gross National Happiness” looked at the practical application of the concept on the ground, not just the theory of it — similar to The Business School’s approach to teaching applied, practical applications.
Schroeder’s thesis also led to a symposium, hosted by The Business School at Lakeshore Campus in the spring of 2015, for the NGO community.
“Beyond GDP: Development Alternatives to Growth” sold out quickly and proved to be a success that exceeded expectations. Speakers included Jigmi Y. Thinley, the former prime minister of Bhutan, as well as representatives from organizations including World Wildlife Fund, World Vision, UNICEF and the David Suzuki Foundation.
As for Schroeder, his work continues. “I hope to continue to focus on GNH research, particularly through developing partnerships for The Business School that look for ways to grow ideas and movements.”