Friends of Humanity President and Founder, Graziella Zanoletti received an urgent call to attend a high-level meeting on behalf of FOH partner Alice Project. The meeting "Happiness & Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm" was called by Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 2nd, 2012. Graziella Zanoletti was asked to attend and represent the Alice Project because the founders of the project, Valentino Giacomin and Luigina de Biasi, could not attend.
The meeting organizers hope "that the high-level meeting will call for the world’s best experts, based on the best available knowledge to work together over the next year to hammer out the details of the measures, accounts, and financial mechanisms required for a happiness-based economic model for the consideration of the international community. Such a model, or aspects of it would then be available for incorporation into national policies on a voluntary basis." These policies were called in response to the UN General Assembly resolution A/65/L.86, introduced by Bhutan with support from 68 Member States, and unanimously adopted by the UN, calling for for a “holistic approach to development” aimed at promoting sustainable happiness and wellbeing.
Graziella Zanoletti attended the meeting to report on the unique, sustainable aspects of the Alice Project schools and to provide a solution
to address global issues. Alice Project leader Valentino Giacomin wrote a report outlining the information Ms. Zanoletti presented at the meeting: "Alice Project proposes to offer a holistic education in order to fill the inner void that makes the students unhappy...the students follow and practice the teachings of Patanjali, automatically they develop linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and emotional intelligence." Their unique education system perfectly matches the harmonious development, based on inner wellness, knowledge and collective happiness, that the Kingdom of Bhutan advocates.
Valentino Giacomin goes on to indicate that these unique efforts have resulted in Alice Project students showing "happiness." He states "This is what everyone who visits the schools can assess (qualitative evaluation). This kind of Education makes the students less prone to dream high and being more realistic about their target in life, choosing works related to Education (teachers, social workers, agriculture…). In other words, our students have a chance that other students do not have: if all their career dreams fail (as it happens in 90 per cent of the cases for all the students, who are not able to get a job that fit with their University degree and specialization) they have an inner resource where to take refuge, avoiding desperation, frustration and depression: the treasure of their Self (or Soul for religious people). This inner security makes them more flexible and creative, helping them to find, anyhow, a way to survive."
By attending the meeting, Graziella Zanoletti proves that The Alice Project stands on the cutting edge of development and offer holistic solutions to global issues. Furthermore the call from the Royal Government of Bhutan indicates that non-profit initiatives like the Alice Project are playing a key role creating a sustainable future for all people.
After closing a school in Bodhgaya due to a loss of a major financial backer in 2008, The Alice Project recently decided to open the hostel part of the school for Chakma students. Project Leader Valentino Giacomin states:
"Our Bodhgaya school is recognized by Indian Government (Sanskrit Board) from class IX to class XII and B.A. (University). Now it is the Exam Centre for Sanskrit students from several Indian states. So, we decided to accept only students for Senior High School and Degree College. The first batch of 25 Chakma students (class IX) arrived in 2009, from Arunachal Pradesh. Now we have 52 resident Chakma students studying in class IX, X and XI. (We will write a new newsletter about Chakmas and their sponsors). At this time there were no local children in our school. Before Kalachakra Initiation, our President, Tenzin Tsewang, met His Holiness The Dalai Lama (who is the Patron of Alice Project) in South India and talked about our Educational Project and our successful results. When His Holiness came to know that there was not an Alice Project school for local children in Bodhgaya, He asked our President to open again the school and He promised to support it.Without delay, we opened the admission for primary school children.The response from the villagers was enthusiastic
We inaugurated the new school, for 220 children, two months ago. Ten teachers have been employed.
During the Kalachakra Initiation, on a special auspicious day, His Holiness’s Secretary called our President informing him to collect H.H. [the Dalai Lama's] donation for the new school. Needless to say we are delighted not only with the donation, but mainly for the direct interest H.H [the Dalai Lama's]. has for our school.
Now we have found more friends who have promised to support the new Bodhgaya School. Amongst these are our friends Camilla and Lorenzo, from the Italian Onlus Associazione Anjali who are currently working as volunteers at the Aghor Foundation, in Varanasi. They have kindly offered the smart board and also a contribution for printing new books for the Bodhgaya children, beside teaching religious anthropology at Sarnath School.
Your advice and contribution of any kind are welcome so that this new “His Holiness Bodhgaya School” becomes a pilot Centre for Spiritual Education integrated with traditional instruction."
Support of major international actors such as the UN and His Holiness the Dalai Lama show the Alice Project is making unique strides in the field of education in rural India