September 20th – 21st, 2019
Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS)
We are pleased to announce that our 21st International Economics of Happiness Conference will take place in Ladakh, India.
For the past eight years, we have been running an International Economics of Happiness Conference Series, aimed at critically examining the global economy and exploring systemic strategies for change that work for people and planet. Now, we are coming full circle by bringing our international flagship series to Ladakh – a place where Local Futures has deep roots.
The foundation for our international work and our global-to-local perspective was laid in Ladakh in 1978, when Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page started the Ladakh Project – the organization that would eventually grow to become Local Futures.
Helena and John started the Ladakh Project in response to the western-style development that the Indian government was blindly imposing on the region. After the construction of a road across the Himalayas connecting Ladakh to the rest of India, the “modern world” was suddenly brought to Ladakh’s doorsteps. The aim of the Project was to provide a much-needed counterbalance to the one-sided, romanticized picture of “western life” being spread by the media, advertising and tourism. The Project also shared news about alternative types of development and introduced a number of appropriate-scale renewable energy technologies to raise living standards without creating dependence on fossil fuels and the volatile global economy.
Over the years our work steadily expanded and became more international, but we have always maintained a foot in Ladakh. In the process, we and the many people that have benefited from our programs in Ladakh continue to be inspired by the region’s traditional culture of sustainability, cooperation and sharing. Likewise, Ladakh’s experience with globalization has led many people to rethink their conceptions of what ‘progress’ and development should look like.
The two-day conference will look at different notions of ‘progress’, and discuss and explore the need for compassionate economics – an ‘economics of happiness’ – and what we can do to achieve it. We will draw on the many heartwarming examples of people working to build vibrant local economies – both around the world and in Ladakh itself. We will also explore different strategies to counter the onslaught of the corporate-led global economy in India and abroad. The event will provide a big-picture framework that unites political/economic action with inner/spiritual change.
There will be a strong focus on pinpointing strategies that can strengthen and renew Ladakh´s local economy and food systems, while addressing some of Ladakh´s imminent problems, including:
- the mountains of waste caused by the exponential growth of tourism and the spread of consumer culture;
- climate change;
- new “modern” health problems and cultural self-depreciation;
- the threats to traditional Ladakhi farming systems;
- the increased dependence on imported industrial foods.
The program will include a mixture of activities: plenary talks, panels, workshops, world café-style and open-space discussions, creative spaces, music and celebration.
Happiness Pilgrimage to Ladakh
Happy Spaces in Australia is organizing a two-week journey in Ladakh. The Economics of Happiness conference will be the starting point and the prevailing context for the pilgrimage, grounding participants in the need for locally based, community-minded economies and the impact of this vision.
For more information: https://happyspaces.com.au/space/economics-of-happiness-pilgrimage/
Julay Ladakh is a Japanese/Ladakhi NGO, founded in 2004 by the current Director Skarma Gurmet to actively engage in sustainable development in Ladakh through international exchange and cooperation between Ladakh and Japan.
In Japan, Julay Ladakh works to promote Ladakh, Ladakhi culture and sustainable development with various universities, NGOs and community groups. In Ladakh, the organization promotes renewable energy, socio-environmental education, sustainable agriculture and economy in both rural villages and the urban center of Leh.
Julay Ladakh has conducted more than 50 study programs between Japan and Ladakh in the past 10 years focusing on various issues like local food, local economy, happiness, and balanced and sustainable development. These cross-cultural exchanges have provided both Ladakhis and foreigners (mostly Japanese) with valuable opportunities for mutual learning and deeper understanding of these issues.
Julay Ladakh is has been involved in the organization of two Economics of Happiness conferences in Japan – 2017 and 2018 – to date. It was Julay Ladakh that proposed the idea to hold an Economics of Happiness conference in Ladakh as well.
The Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS), formerly known as the School of Buddhist Philosophy, was founded in 1959 by H.E. Skyabje Ling Rinpoche – the senior tutor of H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama. It is a leading educational institution in Ladakh and a unique institution in India that teaches Buddhist philosophy, literature and arts, as well as numerous languages, including Sanskrit, English, Hindi, Tibetan and Pali. Additionally, CIBS offers subjects such as Indian history, comparative philosophy, political science, economics, mathematics, and general science.
The Institute conducts research on different aspects of Buddhist philosophy, history, art and Himalayan culture, and collects and conserves rare manuscripts and archaeological objects from the region. CIBS also offers training in Sowa Rigpa (medicinal plant-based Bhot medical science), sculpture, Thanka painting, traditional wood block carving and architecture of the Himalayan heritage. CIBS runs courses for higher secondary levels, and offers bachelors, masters and PhD degrees.