The Public Policy Development Office (PPDO), a new policy & research unit within the Government House in Bangkok, in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), invite you to participate in the international conference on “Happiness and Public Policy.” Though the focus is global, the gathering takes advantage of the current interests in Thailand’s in which policy makers and civic leaders are intent on making human well-being the basis of a new development paradigm. The conference will be held on 18-19 July 2007 at the United Convention Center (UNCC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Background and Rationale
As happiness is the ultimate goal of human beings, development paradigm needs a rethinking. Development goal is not only an economic prosperity – which is only a material mean for happiness, but development should also be conceptualized as an instrumental goal of happiness. Higher levels of human happiness involve other factors such as physical, mental, social and spiritual happiness. Public policy, therefore, plays a key role to improve conditions of happiness at all levels of people in the society. It is therefore important for policy makers, as well as policy support units such as PPDO to design a policy scheme to increase social happiness that measures the quality of life, or address the conditions of human’s physical and emotional well-being. Thailand’s policy environment is now supportive to discuss and implement public policies that take happiness as a goal and the local operated concept of “sufficiency economy” have been committed by the current Thai government and supported by the Royal Family. However, the dialogue on such concept and model can apply to the circumstance of many other countries.
Happiness study or happiness development model has been one of the main PPDO’s working themes since its inception. Last year PPDO organized an international workshop to discuss Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness development framework, compared with Thailand’s similar concept of Sufficiency Economy. This year, in addition to series of national workshops, PPDO endeavours to broaden the knowledge on happiness studies and their policy implications by widening the discussion of happiness concepts in the global perspectives and their operations in local environment. PPDO aspires to facilitate intellectual exchanges of innovative means of measuring national development that accounts more for fully societal and human realities than the conventional measures that focus merely on economic gains. An international conference to discuss societal happiness development models and their policy implications from valuable studies from all parts of the world would enrich such knowledge development in this area. PPDO aims to be a change agent for fostering such knowledge development process and for connecting it with policy implications.
You can be a part of this knowledge development and policy innovation by taking part in this international conference.
“Thailand is experiencing a unique historical moment in which there is enormous readiness for public policy innovation of the sort that will be formulated at the timely Bangkok conference. Thus this is not just a typical international forum but a formulation that may soon find concrete application in one of the world’s most spiritually rich nations. As the same time, the process of generating a model for Thailand creates rich case studies for researchers and public policy makers from other countries.”
Dr. Craig Warren Smith, University of Washington
The aim of this public policy development international conference is to enrich and enhance the quality of public policy through the exchange of insights, debates and observations on how to transform a concept into operations, develop a methodology, evaluate national models and offer new paradigms for institutional shifts through the development of the conceptual framework for innovative policy.
The conference will provide a platform for debating interesting ideas on the new development paradigms which also contribute to happy societies and more meaningful development measurements with implications for sustainable development. It is expected that the conference will lead to the generation of new ideas and new frontiers of knowledge contributing to the academic world and government public policies, as well as public awareness. Discussion, papers and presentations will be categorized into the following sub-themes.