About GWI

Vision Statement

GWI strives for a world in which all people — present and future — have equal opportunity to thrive. That means every single person has the means to satisfy basic needs for physical and mental wellbeing; to pursue engaging and meaningful work, relationships, and leisure activities; and to do so in communities and environments that nurture and sustain us. All told, when we thrive, we have the ability to create a life of value.

Mission Statement

GWI’s mission is to leverage people power to innovate a Good Life for All. To do so, this 501c(3) public benefit corporation engages in educational and charitable activities that promote personal, public, and planetary wellbeing and maintains an institute for these purposes.


Wellbeing:  Wellbeing refers to the quality of a person’s physical, social, material, and existential conditions — or health, relationships, stuff & money, and work/leisure.  It also factors in the interdependent conditions of our communities and environment — or public and planetary wellbeing — as these affect our own. So when we talk about “A Good Life for All,” we mean that all of these conditions are strong.

Ethical Economies:  Ecofeminist Vandana Shiva asks the pointed question: What should be the objective of the global economy: freedom of trade or freedom for survival? If the latter, we must change how we think about economics. Ultimately, economics is about people. With people’s wellbeing as our goal, we can reshape our economic activities to reduce social and environmental costs and focus on what’s important: the freedom to survive…or better yet, the freedom to be well.

Sustainable Development:  Eradicating poverty in all its forms is the greatest global challenge we face. To do so,  the United Nations set forth 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that developing and industrialized countries alike have committed to achieving by 2030. As global citizens, we can raise awareness about the SDGs and strive to advance them in myriad ways.


Founder and Executive Director

Juliana Essen is a public anthropologist whose work advances the most promising solutions to global sustainability, equality, and wellbeing — those that emerge when personal, public, and planetary spheres of life connect.
 As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, Juliana partnered with small farmers and schools to spread sustainable agricultural practices, and with women entrepreneurs, to launch community-based microenterprises. Fresh from that 2-year field experience, Juliana went on to earn a PhD specializing in sustainable human development, funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation. Her ethnographic research in an intentional Buddhist community in Thailand provided rich fodder for her first book, Right Development, as well numerous publications in Buddhist economics…not to mention profound reflections on life. After teaching for 12 years at Soka University, where the mission is “to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life,” Juliana left academia to advance her own life’s mission. Juliana now leads public conversations on how to create a Good Life for All through GWI.

GWI does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation, age, or other protected class.
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