Ecuador on mission in Europe to share its philosophy of “good living”

Posted on May 16, 2015 • Filed under: Ecuador, Europe reported…The pursuit of happiness is not a new idea, but Ecuador has adopted a new, aggressive approach on the matter and wants to share it with the world.

Ecuador is on a mission to confound Western governments. President Rafael Correa has sent one of his most popular cabinet members on a two-week European tour that includes stops in Florence, Paris, Madrid and Geneva. The high-level representative is not asking his European counterparts for money to save a natural reserve, nor has he brought a slick, million-dollar tourism campaign. Instead he wants to donate a valuable commodity in which the small South American country may be enjoying a market edge: Happiness.

The man’s name is Freddy Ehlers. A respected journalist and TV personality in his home country, he joined Correa’s leftist government in 2010 as its tourism minister. But in 2013 Ehlers helped launch Ecuador’s so-called State Secretary for Good Living (Secretaría del Buen Vivir), and has been spearheading the unusual initiative ever since.


The Buen Vivir ministry claims its undertaking is rooted in ancestral Mesoamerican philosophy. Its presidential mandate is to transform Ecuadorian institutions and individuals in order to “achieve a mindful life and a maximum level of happiness”. Ehlers openly draws a parallel between Ecuador’s Buen Vivir and Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH), an index meant to serve as an alternative to GDP as a measure of a country’s progress. Read Article

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