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Diastermanagement

  • Date Submitted: 05/03/2011 07:33 PM
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IDE Special Seminar 2008
Tokyo Institute of Technology Tokyo, Japan 6 October 2008 “Engineering a Nation Building”

(国づくりとものづくり)
Mieko Nishimizu Former World Bank Vice President Partner, ThinkTank SophiaBank

Once upon a time, when Japan was immersed in rapid economic growth, showered by the world’s praise for having become an economic giant, and slowly but surely infected by the madness of economic bubble … there was a young man in another place on earth, who said “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.” The place is about 5,000km west of here, in the bosom of the Himalayan Mountain Range – sandwiched between India’s Assam Plain and China’s Tibetan Plateau. Its people call their home Drukyul, meaning Land of the Thunder Dragon. The rest of the world calls it Bhutan. The young man’s name is Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan himself. The young monarch, having just succeeded to the throne in 1972 at the tender age of sixteen, was touring Bhutan’s grass roots. It was a journey in preparation of a five-year development plan, for the nation devoid of reliable socio-economic data and still resembling a barter economy of the Middle Ages. The Land of the Thunder Dragon rises up to the sky, at an angle steeper than anywhere else along the entire Himalaya Mountain Range. From subtropical jungles of the southern border at about 200 meters above sea level, to the soaring Himalayan peaks of the northern border at around 7,000 meters, the straight-line distance is a mere 200 km – just a couple of hours if you could drive it. But, the landscape – about the size of Kyushu Island – is rugged to the extreme. Numerous torrents swelled by glacier melt and monsoons drill steep gorges and impassable canyons through the landmass. About 700,000 people – just about one-fortieth of Tokyo’s population, and mostly farmers – are scattered far and wide across the harsh landscape, seeking steep mountainsides or open glacier valleys where plentiful...

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