The Second Annual Conference on Gross National Happiness The Second International Conference on Gross National Happiness
Local Pathways to Global Wellbeing
St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
June 20 to June 24, 2005

June 20, 6:30 pm The Honourable Angus MacIsaac, Nova Scotia Minister of Health
MLA for Antigonish
  Good evening.

It is a real pleasure to be here tonight to bring you warm greetings from Premier John Hamm and the Province of Nova Scotia and to help open this landmark conference.

To those of you visiting from outside of Nova Scotia, I extend a hearty Nova Scotia welcome. I hope you have the opportunity to explore Antigonish and the rest of our province and are able to experience Nova Scotia's renowned hospitality.

Governments and individuals all too often focus on the bottom line, the dollars and cents. But, some days, in a moment of reflection, we all say to ourselves,: "There must be more to life."

Here in Nova Scotia we recognize that there are innovative means of measuring progress that account more fully for social, human, and environmental realities than the dominant conventional measures that focus on economic growth alone.

In this province, we have an unparalleled quality of life, a vibrant culture, innovative people, beautiful landscapes, and a wide variety of business opportunities. And we are also among the most likely people in the world to live to be 100.

Nova Scotia has one of the world's leading solid waste resource management systems and models of sustainable forestry management. Nova Scotians are becoming increasingly aware of our province's unique qualities, including the diversity of life expereinces you can find in a relatively small geographic areas.

We truly value the strength and safety of our tight knit communities. We cherish the natural beauty of this place and are taking steps to safeguard our environment.

I note with some interest that the Kingdom of Bhutan is very similar in size and population to Nova Scotia. More than 30 years ago, the King of Bhutan declared that "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product."

And I know all of us in Nova Scotia are interested in finding out how this Bhutanese philosophy to improving quality of life can be borrowed and adapted here as we strive to find the variety and balance that enhance the lives of people here in our province.

In fact, because the non-monetary aspects of living are held in such high regard in Nova Scotia, I know we are all looking forward to hearing the outcomes and recommendations of this innovative conference.

In closing, I want to welcome you once again to Antigonish. And on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, I wish you tremendous success in the Second International Conference on Gross National Happiness. Thank you for inviting me to say a few words tonight. It has been a real pleasure.

Thank you.

Mary Coyle Thank you very much, Minister MacIsaac. I would now like to ask the representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the other partner in this great conference, to come up here.

Before I introduce him, I want to say that we have many people from Bhutan participating in the conference. Many of them are educators. They are responsible for reforming the education system in Bhutan and we are pleased to have had, over the last number of years, many educators and leaders in the education system of Bhutan come to our campus. That started a whole relationship between St. Francis Xavier University and the Kingdom of Bhutan. I have personally had an opportunity—as has our president, Dr. Riley—to visit the Kingdom of Bhutan and to see the different sort of destiny that the dynamic and creative people of that country are trying to build. They are not just opening up willy-nilly to modernization and taking on Western ways, but very selectively moving forward, and very consciously deciding what is going to be the right development path for their country.

We are very honoured to have with us this evening, His Excellency Daw Penjo. He is the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations, and Bhutan’s ambassador to Canada.

Next: next Statement by H.E. Mr. Daw Penjo
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bhutan to Canada
  What they are saying about Rethinking Development

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