Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Aruba - An Enlightened Society?

Bhutan has declared to the world that it is creating a society of national happiness. Rifkin has written about the coming of an Empathic Civilization. This blog is dedicated to the emergence of a Compassionate Civilization. Recently I have become aware that the new Rector (Head) of the University of Aruba has challenged his country to become an Enlightened Society.

Beautiful Aruba, a country of just over 100,000 people, just 17 miles long and 6 miles wide, gorgeous beaches, a rich diversity of cultures and languages, a tourist mecca, along with much suffering.

In January of this year the Rector of the University said the following in his inaugural speech: "Aruba could become an enlightened society. An enlightened society is a community continuously developing its consciousness and in which the pursuit of happiness through peace and the rule of justice are the aim of all." He went on to say "Aruba needs to deepen its self-consciousness, its sense of being, belonging and contributing to an elevated existence of humanity. For this, we need to study ourselves, find ways to better ourselves and then reach out to the world to help humanity in its further development." And then he said, "What if we research, discover, develop and find a way to deploy the [unique] qualities we exhibit. I am convinced that the University can help to do this."

What would it look like to awaken a whole country, to make understanding, peace, happiness and compassion the purpose of being a global-local citizen? How could this be done? How could a university be the catalyst for this noble endeavor?

How might Aruba show the world how to deal with challenges of climate chaos, gender inequality, socio-economic injustice, elitist governance and cultural intolerance?

On my recent teaching mission at the University of Aruba I met this remarkable Rector and other educators and citizens of Aruba and I experienced that this vision is indeed possible to be realized. May it be so.



  1. Excellent article. Good to know your work in Aruba. I assume that despite their claim, Bhutan can never be the happiest country, since more than one hundred thousands Bhutanese are kicked out off their country and now living as refugee all over the world. Aruba may deserve to be the happiest country!

  2. Thank you, Tatwa. And thank you for your tireless work to make Nepal an enlightened, compassionate society.


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