About GWI


GWI envisions a world in which all people – present and future – have the opportunity to thrive. Thriving means having holistic wellbeing: the ability to satisfy basic needs for physical and mental health; 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 – a Good Life, however we define it.

GWI’s mission is to empower change agents to create wellbeing so we can all live well on this small planet.

GWI is a 501c(3) public benefit corporation registered in California. 


The Well – Wellbeing Research & News

The Well, like the office water cooler, is where we go to catch up on the news. In this case, we want juicy news about wellbeing. Each quarter, GWI shares updates on our activities plus timely news, research, and resources that advance global wellbeing. Occasionally, The Well also features original GWI research when there’s something big to share. (Field research on hold due to COVID-19 considerations.)

INTENT 365 – Global Awareness Campaign

INTENT 365 aims to increase change agents’ awareness of wellbeing and offer inspiration for individual action. INTENT is a framework that represents wellbeing as interdependent and multi-dimensional, covering a person’s mental/physical, social, material, and existential (life satisfaction) wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of our communities and environment. Targeting a new wellbeing value each month, INTENT 365 expands on lessons learned at an intentional Buddhist community in Thailand, with a year’s worth of daily tips on how to adapt and practice those lessons in our everyday lives.

Just CHILL – Climate Action Club

Have you noticed how stressed kids get at the mention of climate change? They hear about these big global-warming-induced problems, but they feel powerless to do anything because they’re “just kids.” Well, to that we say, Just CHILL and join the Cool World Club! Actually, club members don’t just CHILL: they stand for Cooler climate, Human rights, Independence from fossil fuels, Love & Laughs (they are kids, after all). Clubs meet once a month to learn (knowledge is power), create, and lead climate action all with a playful twist. Snacks provided.

LOCAL Food – Public Education & Advocacy

“Local food” typically refers to food grown within 200 miles, but for GWI, LOCAL Food means much more. By linking to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, LOCAL food spells out a sustainable food system that can nourish 10 billion people by 2050. LOCAL stands for Life-giving (sufficient nutrition), Organic (human & environmental health), Circular (waste reduction), Adaptive (climate resilience), and Lush (ecological restoration). GWI partners with the University of California Master Gardeners Program, local nonprofits and community gardens, and anyone else who digs the dirt!


Juliana Essen: Founder + Executive Director

Dr. Juliana Essen is a public anthropologist whose work advances the most promising solutions to global wellbeing.  As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, Juliana worked with farmers to promote sustainable agriculture and with women to create community-based micro enterprises. As an academic, Juliana conducted ethnographic research in an intentional Buddhist community in Thailand, mentored global citizens at Soka University in Southern California, and published on ethical development and economics. In 2018, Juliana launched Global Wellbeing Institute to turn ideas into impact.  


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.