Mohammed bin Rashid launches World Happiness Council

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum affirmed that the world is in real need to adopt a new approach to achieve happiness to mankind based on collaboration, integrated efforts and common denominators to promote positive values.

Sheikh Mohammed remarks came while launching the World Happiness Council concurrently with the world’s celebration of the International Day of Happiness, which falls on March 20 every year. The council, the first of its kind, conveys a positive message from the UAE to the world.

The Council is the fruit of the discussions that took place during the 5th World Government Summit last February. The Council serves as a think-tank that aims at helping governments to adopt happiness as standard for strategic planning and work agenda, which will directly enhance the quality of life and welfare of people and help nations to overcome future challenges.

His Highness said that the global challenges and rapid changes require decision makers to adopt new approaches that opens windows for hope. Perhaps the UN’s celebrations with the International Day of Happiness will become a message to the world leaders to look for a new way to bring happiness to their people.

Sheikh Mohammed added that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, believes that the major responsibility of governments is to bring happiness to their people by enabling them to choose the tools and means and providing their nations with hope.

The council is chaired by Geffrey Sachs, Sustainable Development Professor at Colombia University, and has 12 members: Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO; Alexander Stubb, Finnish ex prime minister; Lord Richard Layard, Director of Wellbeing Programme at Economic Performance Centre in London School of Economics; Professor John Helliwell, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of British Columbia; Ed Diener, professor of psychology at the University of Utah and University of Virginia; Professor Martin Seligman, Founder of Positive Psychology Centre and professor of psychology at Zellerbach Family; Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office, Ahmed Al Shuqairi, presenter of Khawater TV programme and a man of inspiring initiatives in the Arab world; Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at the University of California — Riverside; Martine Durand, Director of Statistics and Chief Statistician at the Organization of Economic and Co-operation Development; and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Professor of Economics and Strategy at the School of Business Administration, University of Oxford.

The council will have 6 sub-councils under its umbrella; namely the Council of Happiness and Health to be chaired by Lord Richard Layard; The Council of Happiness and Education to be chaired by Professor Dr Martin Seligman; The Council of Personal Happiness to be chaired by Professor Ed Diener; The Council of Happiness in Work Environment to be chaired by Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; The Council of Happiness Measurement to be chaired by Martine Durand; and The Council of Happy Cities, to be chaired by Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr.

The council will launch an annual global happiness report during the World Government Summit highlighting the best international practices for adopting happiness and celebrating the best government achievements in this connection.
The council to convene twice annually, once within the Global Happiness Dialogue in the World Government Summit, and the second during the meetings of the United Nations Secretariat General in New York, while the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network will provide administrative support to the council.

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