Vietnam journey April - May 2022
After over two years of absence, Lisi and I were able to come back to Vietnam and landed in
Ho Chi Minh City on April 1 2022. It has been a memorable journey, it felt as if the Covid time
a long winter, and spring was finally blooming again.
I will not share all the details of everything we did, and everyone we met, but will focus on the
most significant aspects of the journey, and even so, it feels quite overwhelming, and looking
back I wonder how so many events happened in this relatively short time.
The deepest overall impression I retain is a sense of deep gratitude, so many friends have
offered their time, energy, wisdom, love and care with boundless generosity,
and the whole
experience was one of being held by a loving community, sharing a sense of togetherness and
Ho Chi Minh City. 1
We met many friends, and the most important activity was the recording of a podcast
organized and hosted by our friend Tien Luong:
The podcast has been viewed over 10000 times.
13 Anniversary of TTG
On our way to Huế, we spent a few days in
Hoi An with our dear friends Tu and Trinh the
directors of the Peaceful Bamboo Family (TTG), as well as with Hai - the ELI Representative for
Vietnam - and his lovely bride to be Y Lan.
In TTG, we celebrated the 13th anniversary
of the foundation of the community in a simple but
moving event. Tinh Truc Gia is not a child anymore, it has become a teenager, and is clearly in
a new phase of development that brings challenges but also great opportunities. The most
aspect of this new phase is the Empowerment Project, on a new plot of land, not far
from the Centre, where our youngsters and their teachers will welcome many children from
the local public schools to train them in Biodynamic gardening and in
TTG and the ELI trainers team hosted the final retreat for the senior executives of BITIS, thus
concluding the first phase of the Happy BITIS project, implementing Gross National Happiness
in their company for their
We also organized two internal retreats:
• ELI retreat where we looked back at the past years and sensed the emerging future of
our community. One of the outcomes of our retreat that was held partly together with
the European ELI team online, was a new visual to give a synthetic view of the Happy
• TTG retreat for the community members, to debrief the challenging Covid time and
also to deepen our understanding of GNH applied
in the community. We developed
indicators for the 9 domains of GNH for TTG, and in the coming months, the
community will analyze itself based on these indicators.
Three youngsters received their ELI /TTG certificate as assistant social
therapists after having
spent many years in the community. It was a truly joyful moment.
The Happy School Framework, or more generally the ELI framework
Vy and Ngan received their ELI Learning Lab certificates after 4 years of immersion
in TTG and
in the Happy Schools project
We recorded 10 sessions for the Happy Schools online program, as well as over an hour of
guided meditation for the Buddhism online course.
We met with most of the local Authorities: The President
of the People’s Committee of the
province, the Director of the Department of Education and Training of the Province, the Mayor
of Hue City and the heads of all the relevant departments. We received full support from all
for our work. They want us to scale up the Happy Schools program for the whole
province, and also asked for our support in the development of a Special Education training
We signed the updated Statutes of TTG to ensure a sustainable
future for the community.
The Hanoi delegation
I had given an online workshop for 300 teachers and school principals from Hanoi before
coming to Vietnam and the Education Department contacted us to ask us to implement the
Happy School program in 3 pilot schools.
Hai, Vy, Khanh, Cindy, Chi Ho and me, together with two of our core teachers from Huế, and
an official from the DOET, went to Hanoi to visit the schools and to give an introduction to
We were hosted by the Atlantic Group, an educational language school that
wants to support our project. The meetings went very well and the Director of the Education
Department wanted to sign an MoU on the spot. This pilot will be implemented
learning, with a kickoff retreat in person and follow up online. It will give us a precious
opportunity to test, finetune and adapt the Happy School online program in a real setting. We
welcomed Loan a long-standing friend of
Eurasia to oversee the Hanoi Project. She is now part
of the ELI core facilitator team. She will come to Chandolin this summer.
Huế . 2
Happy Core Teachers certification
Back in Huế, we hosted the final Happy School core teachers
retreat in TTG, and gave the
Happy School Core Teacher certificate to over 30 people and certified 8 schools as Happy
During this time, we received the visit from Mrs. Loan (no connection with Loan from Hanoi)
the CEO from
IDP (International Dairy Products) who came together with a monk from Tu Hieu
of the Plum Village Tradition. Her CFO and her Marketing director were also present. They
have a partnership with VTV 7 a national television channel that focuses on
educational programs. VTV7has already aired very successful educational documentaries on
the topic of Happy Schools and now want to go a step further and collaborate with ELI to
spread the message of Happy Schools on national
scale. IDP is their sponsor. Some friends
around ELI voiced concern about associating with a dairy company, but we are exploring the
potential partnership carefully and in a spirit of inclusion.
Ho Chi Minh City .2
Back in Saigon, our friends organized an amazing event around the launch of my book on GNH.
It was first published during the covid time, so it had not been properly launched. It was an
incredible event with most of our Vietnamese friends
and network present, over 500 people
live and over 3000 online. We had not done anything to prepare, it was all organized,
prepared, financed and hosted with amazing professionalism and generosity by our friends. It
was very moving. They
had a fantastic idea “ Karma books” inspired by the Karma restaurant
project from our friend Nipun Mehta. They bought many books and each participant in this
free event received a book as a present. At the same time, those who wanted
opportunity to buy more books to give away. I don’t know exactly how many books were
bought, but I think quite a lot.
GNH in Business certification
The next day, we had the closing ceremony of the Happy BITIS project,
celebrating 4 years of
implementation of Gross National Happiness in the company. It was a beautiful, moving and
also joyful event, and Cindy received a GNH in Business Certification for BITIS to acknowledge
the achievement. Over 100 Happiness
Ambassadors have been trained, most of the senior
executives have been trained as “Resonant, Mindful Leaders”, the vision, mission and values
of the company have been revised, two GNH surveys have been conducted, the base line in
2018 the second survey in 2021. Although it was still Covid time, the results show the
impressive positive impact the project has had on the people. During the ceremony, we also
signed a renewed MoU to continue the collaboration between BITIS
and ELI, and also to seal
the sponsorship of BITIS for the Happy Schools program.
• We plan the first in person retreat for the Hanoi Happy School pilot in August
• We will host, together with VTV7 a two days
seminar for 400 school principals in
August or September
• We will offer an open GNH in Business retreat for interested companies in
• We will organize a 3 days retreat for the senior leadership of IDP to explore
how we want to work together in the future
• We continue developing the Happy Schools online platform
• We will organize a day on Happy Schools for all the staff of the Education
Department of Hue
We will collaborate on the special education training with the province
• We will organize and host an international symposium on Happy Schools in Hue from
April 3 to 6 2023.
I would like to conclude by expressing by deepest gratitude
to the whole Eurasia, TTG, ELI
team. The work that has been accomplished is incredible, the talent, engagement,
dedication, generosity and competencies of each one is unbelievable.
I really see that each one is committed to bringing Happiness
and alleviating suffering with
so much heart, it feels like being in a Noble Assembly of Bodhisattvas.
With much love and care