x = independently organized TED event

Theme: When Happiness Does Not Make Us Happy

This event occurred on
February 18, 2015
2:30pm - 6:30pm +06
(UTC +6hrs)
Thimphu, Thimphu

In recent years the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness has gained international recognition and generated debate that questions the fundamentals of traditional economic growth and prosperity. However, as the debate on the need to re-examine traditional economic growth continues, the daily lives of ordinary people from different societies and cultures continue to reflect microcosms of change and existence and the need to really evaluate what affects the individual by moving away from the global debate about Happiness.

Le Meridian
Chorten Lam
Thimphu, Thimphu, 11001
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ashi Kunzang Choden

Ashi Kunzang Choden received her education in India and the United States. She is an acclaimed writer and the first female novelist in Bhutan. A public figure involved in many social and charitable projects. The museum of Ogyen Choling, her original home, is the result of her vision and work.

Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen

Dasho is an author, a highly decorated and knighted citizen and is one of the most senior government officials who held numerous portfolios of national importance. Dasho is devoting his retirement years to the study of Buddhist philosophy. Dasho is a lead author on “mindfulness” and advocates leadership is about leading by example and that everyone around us is a reflection of ourselves; and self improvement leads to improvement of everyone else”.

Dr.Dominique Dock

Dr. Dominique Dock, M.D., General Practitioner is the Medical Director for Sober Services, helping clients to overcome addictions, to alcohol, smoking and other drugs. In his sporting career, Dominique has won two French cross-country skiing trophies and participated in marathons and long-distance skiing events in Europe. He climbed Mont-Blanc (4810m) Kilimanjaro (5895m) and the Gasherbrum II (8035m) over the years. He now runs wellness retreats and treks for people who suffer from stress related conditions, combining his skills as a medical practitioner with those of a mountain-guide.

Gilah Yelin Hirsch

Hirsch’s work spans the realms of art, architecture, film, theology, philosophy, cross‐cultural medicine and psychiatry, psychoneuroimmunology, anthropology of consciousness, science of consciousness and world culture. She has received numerous grants and awards including the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship, and the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine’s Elmer and Alyce Green award for her “innovative blending of science and art revealing existing relation-ships between forms in nature, in human psychology, and those present universally in all alphabets.” While Hirsch resides in Venice, California and holds the position of Professor of Art at CSUDH (Los Angeles), her work requires frequent and extensive travels worldwide. As both artist and scientist, she has devoted her life to the investigation of image as a psychoneurological tool for healing both body and mind.

Martin Aylward

Martin Aylward has been in ‘happiness training’ for 25 years, spending several years in Asian monasteries and hermitages as well as studying with senior western Buddhist teachers. He has been giving Dharma teachings and leading meditation retreats internationally for 15 years, and is the founding teacher of Moulin de Chaves Meditation Centre in South West France. Martin emphasises a pragmatic approach to integrating ancient Buddhist teachings into contemporary life, exploring all activities and situations with the ‘dharma eye’ of wisdom, compassion, and deep inquiry.

Namgay Zam

Independent multimedia journalist, media trainer, finder of funds, more heart than head. Grateful.

Pawo Choyning Dorji

A globetrotting self-professed Bhutanese Dharma fanatic, who also happens to be an avid photographer- or as he prefers to identity himself a visual storyteller. His first photography collection; Seeing Sacred: Lights & Shadows along the Journey was published in 2013. He has held exhibitions based on the collection at the renowned 798 Arts district in Beijing and the True Arts museum in Suzhou, China. Magazines, such as LIFE, Esquire and the Wall Street Journal, have published his works. In 2014, Pawo’s photo of the Ganges River in Varanasi was selected as one of the top ten photos of Asia by the Asian Geographic magazine. VICE selected his photo of his spiritual teacher, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, as one of the best photos of 2014.

Rosie von Lila

Rosie von Lila has attended Burning Man since 2000, and worked with the Burning Man organization since 2012. Rosie is the lead producer of the annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference, and supports Burning Man storytelling and community building around the world. As a public point of contact for Burning Man, she speaks on the history and culture of Burning Man, while listening to and connecting with local communities globally to learn how Burning Man can better serve their growth. In the mid 2000′s, Rosie coined the term “microfestival” to describe the 300 person Burning Man-inspired festival she instigated, called Movement Play, which ran annually until 2012. In another life, (again thanks to Burning Man) she was a hula hooping entrepreneur, who started a fitness business, launched a teacher training, and produced the first-ever U.S. national hooping workshop tour.

Xander Stell

A doctoral researcher in experimental social psychology at the University of Sussex, UK, where he studies moral emotions, inter-group processes and the social effects of meditation practice. His work is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and has spoken at national and international psychology conferences. He also practices Vipassana meditation and makes electronic music.

Organizing team


Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Sonam Tashi
  • Irene Tsouprake
  • James Fritzgerald
    Marketing & Promotions Lead
  • Pema Kara Wangchen
    Digital Assets Manager
  • Thinley Palden Dorji
    Event Co-ordinator Leader
  • Duncan Bridgeman
    Production Team Leader
  • Kunga Tenzing Dorji a.k.a. Supe