We recognize those who are improving the education sector to bring greater happiness and well-being to students and families.
Wake Up Schools – Community
Attention and awareness are necessary traits, especially for teachers. One of the best ways to enhance attention, focus, or awareness is to cultivate or develop mindfulness in the classroom. Mindfulness helps develop awareness by reducing stress, disciplining the mind, and supporting emotion management.
When our minds are stressed, it isn’t easy to focus. Both teachers and students tend to experience daily stressors, making too many of them unprepared for today’s classroom’s social and emotional demands. Stressful situations and conditions can lead to feeling discouraged, burnt out, and ready to quit. Luckily, developing and cultivating mindfulness (the ability to stay focused on one’s present experience with non-judgemental awareness) can help teachers to promote a relaxed, calm, but enliven classroom environment that children need to learn. This is precisely the mission of the Wake Up Schools initiative.
Wake Up Schools was created by Thich Nhat Hanh and his French Plum Village community. Since Thich was exiled from his native Vietnam for speaking out against the war, he has been a pioneer of adapting and teaching mindfulness to western audiences. As he himself says: “I think it is the good teachers who will be able to change the world. That’s my belief because a teacher can nourish, can heal, can build healthy, happy human beings.”
Wake Up Schools teaches educators how to bring practices of mindfulness and applied ethics into their lives so they may feel happy and free, and so they may, in turn, share these practices with colleagues and students in their school communities. Mindfulness practices allow teachers and students to experience more peace, learn how to take care of difficult emotions, and create conditions for a happy school and a happy world. This is especially important for young people because teaching them mindfulness allows them to develop emotional stability and create a basis for them to lead happy, authentic, engaged, and ethical lives.
Wake Up Schools focuses on teachers and offers a flexible approach without rigid curriculums. Though mindfulness has its roots in Buddha’s teachings, the Wake Up Schools approach is holistic and non-religious, allowing everyone to practice it. The movement is based on three principles: embodiment, service, and community. The embodiment principle teaches the art of being present. Without a peaceful, happy presence, teachers can’t be truly there for their students and educational community. The service principle is based on gratitude, understanding, and love. It is used to develop a feeling of deep service to others. With community principle, Wake Up Schools aim to deepen friendship and connection so everyone can support each other and walk together in harmony and joy.
This is why the Wake Up Schools initiative is one of our World Happiness Awards Laureates. The World Happiness Awards celebrate and elevate people and communities that are working hard to make this planet a better place for us all.
Irene Greaves – Individual
We don’t have to read up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to understand that love is a basic human need. Once our physiological needs such as breathing, food, water, etc., and the feeling of security and safety are met, we need to feel love and belonging in order to grow. But, if we analyze modern society, it seems like humans are doing a poor job at this notion. A lack of understanding, respect, and acceptance, along with the rise of Artificial Intelligence, has caused people to isolate themselves, igniting loneliness, confusion, and antisocial behavior. Sadly, those who lack love typically end up feeling flawed, lonely, and worthless.
Irene Greaves believes that people shouldn’t aimlessly wander alone through life. Humans are social creatures, and love is the glue that binds us all. Most of all, love is an action people can learn to practice.
Through her Lovescaping® work, Irene is addressing this most urgent, timely, and important need in the world – learning to love. Her Lovescaping® philosophy is based on 15 pillars without which love cannot exist: empathy, humility, care, respect, honesty, communication, trust, vulnerability, patience, liberation, compassion, solidarity, gratitude, forgiveness, and hope. These pillars are derived from her experience teaching and working in community development in different parts of the world. They are universal values and actions that people can learn to practice.
There are multiple mediums through which Irene is delivering her Lovescaping® program. One is partnering up with schools and non-profit organizations to implement her curriculum during the school day and in the after-school setting to children and youth of all ages. Another medium is through workshops, presentations, and coaching for adults, which are all adapted to the needs or context of the particular group.
As she explains, the impact of teaching people – from young children to grown-ups – how to love can and will change the world. When we build a society based on learning how to love and when people willingly practice love in action, we will witness a dramatic decrease in crime, violence, racism, xenophobia, and all other forms of hate and oppression. Once the seeds of love are planted, they will only bloom and continue to grow.
Irene’s Lovescaping® program focuses on creating a more just, loving, free, conscious, and happy world. Her ultimate goal is to address the greatest need she sees in our world, and that is lack of love. This is why she is one of our World Happiness Awards Laureates. The World Happiness Awards celebrate and elevate people like Irene, as well as communities that are working hard to make this planet a better place for us all.
In collaboration with the United Nations University for Peace and 300+ international thought leaders, corporate, government, research, and educational institutions, The World Happiness Awards situate happiness and well-being as essential components of global innovation.
Do you want to be a part of a global change and help us achieve our goal of ten billion free, conscious, and happy people by 2050? Get involved today!
World Happiness Foundation
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