TSU and Bhutan will together seek ways to improve the quality of life

Tomsk State University hosted a meeting of representatives of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Tomsk branch of the Russian Geographical Society, and the leadership of the university. The result was an agreement on joint research aimed at improving the quality of life of a society's citizens.

The meeting was attended by Dorji Penjore, director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research, Tshoki Zangmo, an expert on happiness, and Damco Rinzin, Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a measure of the quality of life that includes moral and psychological values. The meaning of this concept for Bhutan is the development of an economy that would correspond to the culture of the country based on Buddhist spiritual traditions. In accordance with this philosophy, progress in Bhutan develops, trying not to contradict national customs.

The GNH index includes more than 70 indicators, including the level of social development, the preservation of culture, the state of the environment, and the amount of free time for citizens. To study and develop the GNH in Bhutan, a special scientific centre was created that conducts anthropological, social and historical, and political research.

- We have been engaged in research on gross national happiness for about 12 years. During this time, we have signed several agreements with other countries, for example, with Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia. We are looking for ways to our own development and development of our partners, - said Dorji Penjore.

Representatives of Bhutan emphasized that they are interested in developing collaboration with Russia. Today their country is visited by about 400 Russian tourists per year, however, Bhutan is actively developing tourism. The Centre for Bhutan Studies is also interested in collaborative research aimed at studying the quality of human life. In this regard, Tomsk State University, Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research, the Ministry of Tourism of Bhutan, and the Tomsk Branch of the Russian Geographical Society signed a memorandum of understanding.

- In the strategy of Tomsk State University, the quality of life is a key reference point, to which we are directing all our scientific and technological efforts,- said Rector Eduard Galazhinsky. - We understand that the standard of living is one indicator, and the quality of life is another. This is confirmed by the fact that over the past 40 years the level of welfare in European countries has grown by dozens of times, but people there have not become happier. I would really like us to have originated this theme for collaborative research.