Seminar: Development challenges in Bhutan – 9.10.2018

The Development Studies programs of the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Helsinki cordially invite you to:

“Joy, Agony and Silence in Bhutan”

A seminar based on the book Development Challenges in Bhutan: Perspectives on Inequality and Gross National Happiness (Springer, 2017).

9 October 2018, Tuesday, 12:00 – 14:00

Room 1014, Unioninkatu 37, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

Speaker and author:
Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt, associate professor at the Department of Political Science, Aalborg University and senior expert at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen.

Päivi Ahonen, education specialist and PhD candidate at the University of Oulu completing a dissertation on ‘Strategies of Bhutan in Implementing the Gross National Happiness Policies’.

Aili Pyhälä, lecturer at the University of Helsinki and chair of the Finnish Society for Development Research.

About the book:
The book provides essential insights into Bhutan’s developmental challenges. It analyzes and scrutinizes the sovereign state’s developmental approach, including the idea of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which has replaced Gross National Product (GNP) as a measurement of prosperity. The authors also explore and deconstruct ideational and cultural aspects of knowledge production and present a critical overall assessment of the political economy of education policy, health, ICT and migration in Bhutan. The book is divided into five parts all taking a critical approach towards inequality: Part one offers an assessment of Bhutan’s developmental trajectories; part two deals with GNH, equality and inclusion versus exclusion; part three is devoted to culture, legal issues and the politics of change; and part four to governance and integration; section five addresses health, food and disparities.

Hosts and organizers:
– Eija Ranta, University of Helsinki (
– Outi Hakkarainen, Kepa (
– Bonn Juego, University of Jyväskylä (


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