Harvard Student Treks


The Harvard Leadership Trek to Bhutan is organized for graduate students and alumni from Harvard to visit the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Trek Objectives

The Treks explore policy making based on GNH principles and how those lessons could be applied to our own lives and the organizations, communities and countries we aspire to serve. We will explore questions such as:

  • How is Gross National Happiness implemented in Bhutan?

  • How can happiness be a competitive advantage for organizations and countries?

  • How do we think about balancing happiness and productivity in our personal lives, the organizations and institutions we lead, and our broader cultures?

Experiential Learning

Using Bhutan as both a subject and a backdrop, we look at happiness through political, commercial, and spiritual lenses, studying GNH as an alternative development paradigm in both theory and practice.

The trip is to better understand how we can lead happier and more effective lives. We will also give our participants the time and space to reflect on their own definitions and experiences of happiness. We have incorporated an ambitious set of meetings and experiential “happiness elements” into the trip’s agenda.

A typical Trek itinerary consists of three cities: Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro. Previous speakers have included:

  • Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimphu

  • Karma Tshiteem, Chairman of the Royal Civil Service Commission

  • Tshering Tobgay (HKS alum), Prime Minister from 2013-2018

  • Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister from 2018+

Previous Trekkers’ Experience

The First Harvard Bhutan Trek took place in December 2017. Trekker Meredith Segal published this article in The Kuensel

The Second Harvard Bhutan Trek took place in March 2018. Trekkers Brian Levin and Kiernan Schmitt published this article in The Kunsel

The Third Harvard Bhutan Trek took place in December 2018, and included students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

A few trekkers were featured by the Bhutan Broadcasting Service to discuss an American education.

The Fourth Harvard Bhutan Trek will take place during March 2019. Registration for the trek is now closed.

The Fifth Harvard Bhutan Trek will take place from December 28th 2019 to January 4th 2020 (dates are tentative). Registration is open here until April 30th 2019