April 3rd, 2012 12:04 EST
Well Known Psychologist Dr Judy Kuriansky to Attend Bhutan Government Meetings on 'Happiness'
Happiness is the subject of the most popular course at Harvard University, a right in the U.S. Constitution and the topic of the much-talked-about Bhutan "Gross National Happiness Index." Today, the government of that small Himalayan Kingdom takes its initiative one step further: holding high-level meetings at the United Nations on "Happiness," with working groups continuing on April 3 and 4. Well-known clinical psychologist Dr Judy Kuriansky is among the invited guests, an impressive group of academicians, experts and government officials.
Kuriansky is a representative of an NGO at the United Nations (the International Association of Applied Psychology) and on the adjunct faculty of Columbia University Teachers College.
"We know that `money doesn`t buy you love` so it`s about time that governments measure the success of their society by measuring how people feel about themselves and their lives besides what they have in the bank," says Kuriansky. Active in humanitarian projects in Africa and Haiti, and well known for her advice on radio for over 22 years, Dr Judy has presented on a recent panel about "Well-being" at the recent United Nations Commission on Social Development and advocated at UN Commissions about the importance of measures of psychosocial well-being being included in nations` assessment of their overall development, in addition to current restricted measures of financial status.
The Bhutan government has long advocated to establish the measurement of "Gorss National Happiness" (G.N.H.) as an alternative to Gross National Product (G.N.P>) as a measure of nations` progress. The issue was put on the global agenda, when UN Resolution 65/309 titled "Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development" was passed unanimously in the UN General Assembly, inviting Member State governments to "pursue public policy steps that would better capture the importance of pursuing happiness and well-being in development." President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has long supported the Bhutanese initiative, claiming that the focus on GDP as the main measure of prosperity helped trigger the financial crisis, and calling on politicians to replace the GDP as a measure of national wealth with one that quantifies well-being alongside economics.
Speakers at the meeting include economist Jeffrey Sachs and Novel laureate Joseph Stiglitz who will speak on "Happiness Indicators."
Kuriansky herself is a very happy person, attributed to her satisfaction doing exactly what she wants every day, and doing good for the world through her humanitarian projects. The Girls Empowerment Programme she co-developed offers life skills and entrepreneurship training to girls in Africa and her Global Kids Connect Project connects kids in a caring circle who have suffered disaster, by exchanging messages of hope after the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami/earthquake in Japan (having just returned from doing workshops for kids in the trauma zone on the one year anniversary after 3/11 tragedy).
Hollywood is also recognizing the importance of happiness. A newly released documentary, "Happy" (www.TheHAPPYMovie.com), explores what makes for happiness, through personal stories of people from Louisiana swamps to Indian slums, interwoven with commentary from renowned experts. The producers are Academy Award nominated filmmakers of "Genghis Blues" and "Long Nights Journey into Day."
Judyth Piazza chats with Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Author and Host