bhutan_smallUpon special invitation by Bhutan's Prime Minister Yigmi Y. Thinley, Rabbi Soetendorp participated in the High-Level Event on "Happiness and Well-Being: Creating a New Economic Paradigm" that was hosted by the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on April 2nd, 2012. The event brought together more than 700 experts, heads of state, NGO representatives and spiritual leaders to define a new economic paradigm based on sustainable happiness. The event was opened by key-note speeches by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as H.E. Ms. Laura Chinchilla, the President of Costa Rica.

Rabbi Soetendorp was invited to share his comments during the final panel of the event and to conclude the proceedings with an interreligious blessing. On April 3 and 4, he joined the civil society working session and explored with the other religious leaders how religious and spiritual communities could be involved in the global movement for a new economics that was launched during the event. 

During the final plenary session of the different working groups, he facilitated an intergenerational Feather ceremony with young people and some of the participating spiritual leaders and presented a statement that the spiritual leaders had adopted. It reads:

"As leaders representing various spiritual traditions, we believe that in the new economic paradigm, the role of spiritual traditions is to preserve and transmit to future generations the wisdom and love inherent in their own religious heritages, while simultaneously serving as a force for change to nurture unity, in the knowledge that the world is one community, interconnected, and interdependent.

The new economic paradigm is based upon compassion, altruism, balance, and peace, dedicated to the wellbeing, happiness, dignity, and sacredness of all forms of life. Because external economic realities mirror internal psychological and spiritual realities, participants in the new paradigm pledge themselves to ethical conduct, reflecting and holding themselves to the highest level ofintegrity and virtue, increasing their sharing and dedication to others, and resilience in the face of challenges.

Because economics is based upon relationships, in the new paradigm, relationships are characterized by active service, justice, and cherishing the dignity of others' lives. We commit ourselves to thus nurturing the new economic paradigm personally and collectively in our own faith communities. May the new paradigm swiftly blossom throughout the world for the benefit of all those alive today and future generations yet unborn."

Please find more background information about the event on its official website.

The Soetendorp Institute


Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
Van Wijngaerdenstraat 21
2596 TW The Hague
The Netherlands