On 20 March 2021, Wake Up Schools was awarded laureate for Education by the World Happiness Foundation (WHF) and the United Nations University for Peace. The award was presented as part of World Happiness Week, a week-long international festival to energise wellbeing and happiness for all.
The Education award recognizes a community who are improving the education sector to bring greater happiness and well-being to students and families. The award was present by founder and president of the World Happiness Foundation, Luis Gallardo. He described Wake Up Schools as a ‘remarkable’ community, “What you are doing is so remarkable. Everybody knows Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community are building this sense of belonging so that we can create a more mindful, more peaceful and more positive world. You are a true example of what it means to create a world with more happiness, more consciousness and freedom for all.”
Br Phap Luu and Dr Orlaith O’Sullivan accepted this award on behalf of our teacher and our community around the world.
Br Phap Luu said, “We’re so honoured to receive this award. We are representing our community of monks and nuns and many teachers around the world. We feel so grateful for what teachers are offering, especially during this pandemic, putting their lives at risk in order to keep their students educated, happy and hopeful. We are building a movement to help teachers take care of themselves. Thanks to our teacher Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh who planted all these seeds that are manifesting now. We are just his continuation.
“We are finding ways to transmit important practices to take care of our emotions: coming back to the breath, recognising our anger, our sadness, our fear, and learning to transform it. It’s really the basis of education, according to our understanding, but somehow it’s been left by the wayside and we now are realising as a collective that this path is essential – for young people, for the teachers that teach them as well as their colleagues and their families. And so that is what Wake Up Schools is all about.”
Luis expressed his appreciation for our sangha building, “The ways that you bring all these teachers together, creating a secure base, that is so important for teachers. You are masters.” Earlier that day, Happy Teachers Sangha had met as part of the World Happiness Week, offering teachers from around the world an opportunity to connect, care for themselves and experience the practice.
Orlaith O’Sullivan said, “Our happiness is not an individual matter. This week’s festival has shown us that in so many ways, and at Wake Up Schools we practice that every day: to know that by taking care of my happiness I take care of your happiness, and vice versa, so that we create spaces where we can help each other to grow in love and understanding.”
“This is just the beginning,” said Luis, “Our partnership building this community will continue for many years. Creating this sangha going forward in order to bring more happiness and more freedom and consciousness for all.”
You can also watch Wake Up School’s presentation on building happy communities at World Happiness Week:
About The World Happiness Awards:
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.