Economics of Happiness Conference - Ladakh, India

Local Futures History in Ladakh

The foundation for our international work and our global-to-local perspective was laid in Ladakh in 1978, when Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page started the Ladakh Project – the organization that would eventually grow to become Local Futures.

Helena and John started the Ladakh Project in response to the western-style development that the Indian government was blindly imposing on the region.

After the construction of a road across the Himalayas connecting Ladakh to the rest of India, the “modern world” was suddenly brought to Ladakh’s doorsteps. The aim of the Project was to provide a much-needed counterbalance to the one-sided, romanticized picture of “western life” being spread by the media, advertising and tourism. The Project also shared news about alternative types of development and introduced a number of appropriate-scale renewable energy technologies to raise living standards without creating dependence on fossil fuels and the volatile global economy.

Over the years our work steadily expanded and became more international, but we have always maintained a foot in Ladakh. In the process, we and the many people that have benefited from our programs in Ladakh continue to be inspired by the region’s traditional culture of sustainability, cooperation and sharing. Likewise, Ladakh’s experience with globalization has led many people to rethink their conceptions of what ‘progress’ and development should look like.

This conference will be organized in partnership with local NGO Julay Ladakh and the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS).