World Happiness Council

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The World Happiness Council is a think tank of politicians and researchers intended to promote happiness and subjective well-being through the identification of public policy for policy makers worldwide and the standardization of happiness as a measure to guide governments.[1][2] In 2017, its formation was announced by the Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on 20 March, the International Day of Happiness.[3][4][5] In a tweet, the Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the six focal areas of the council as health, education, environment, personal happiness, happy cities, and community standards for happiness.[6]

The council issues annual Global Happiness Policy Reports during the UAE's World Government Summit.[3][7] It meets twice yearly, at the World Government Summit, and at the United Nations General Assembly. It receives administrative support from the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.[6] Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University is the chair of the council.[8]

Founding members of the council are Irina Bokova, Director-General of Unesco, Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finland, Richard Layard and John F. Helliwell, editors of the World Happiness Report, Ed Diener, senior scientist with the Gallup Organisation, Martin Seligman, Director of Authentic Happiness, Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, Ahmad Al Shugairi, Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, Martine Durand, Director of Statistics and Chief Statistician at the OECD, and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Professor of Economics at University of Oxford.[9] In 2018, the committee was expanded to include Dasho Karma Ura, president of Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Research, Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, and Gus O'Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary and head of the U.K. Civil Service.[10]


UAE Happiness and Public Policy Programs[edit]

The UAE's National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing[11] is an initiative of the national government of the United Arab Emirates.[12] It is headed by the Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi,[13][14] whose position was created by UAE's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2016.[15][16]

The programme has three focal areas: 1) integration of happiness into all aspects of governmental policies, programs and services, 2) promotion of happy and positive lifestyles for civil servants, citizens and residents, and 3) measuring and managing happiness through happiness indicators and tools.[12] The Happiness Policy Manual[17] is one such tool created to aid the integration of happiness into policy.[18] Other officials in the program include the CEO of Happiness and Positivity in the Private Sector, who works with the Wharton School of Business, who is tasked with aiding the integration of happiness into government entities, as well as 60 Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers who work in various governmental offices.[19][12]

The Minister of the State of Happiness H. E. Sheikha Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi convenes a Dialogue for Global Happiness, an invitation only event that is part of the World Government Summit. World Happiness Council members participate in the dialogue and their first report, the Global Happiness Policy Report 2018,[20] was issued as part of the dialogue.[21][22] Topics covered include good governance, mental illness, positive education, work and well-being, social well-being, smart cities, and national governments experience measuring happiness and well-being.[23]

The UAE was rated the happiest country in the Arab world in 2017.[24] The motive for the creation of a Ministry of the State of Happiness was for the UAE to be among the top five happiest countries in the world,[19][12] as ranked by the World Happiness Reports. Under the leadership of Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Dubai aims to become the happiest city in the world.[25]


  1. ^ "HH Sheik Mohammed Launches First "World Happiness Council"". Dubai of
  2. ^ Day, Emma (March 20, 2017). "HH Sheikh Mohammed Is Taking His Pursuit Of Happiness Global". Emirates Woman.
  3. ^ a b "Dubai ruler forms World Happiness Council". Gulf Business. March 20, 2017.
  4. ^ "C'MON, GET HAPPY". The University of Utah. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  5. ^ Melki, Amy (March 20, 2017). "The UAE just took another big step to promote happiness". Step Feed.
  6. ^ a b "HH Sheikh Mohammed". Twitter. March 19, 2017.
  7. ^ WAM (March 20, 2017). "Sheikh Mohammed announces creation of first World Happiness Council". Emirate 24/7 News.
  8. ^ "Sheikh Mohammed announces World Happiness Council". The National. March 19, 2017.
  9. ^ "UAE sets up World Happiness Council". Gulf News Government.
  10. ^ "Global Happiness Council".
  11. ^ Wellbeing, National Program for Happiness &. "National Program for Happiness & Wellbeing". (in Arabic). Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  12. ^ a b c d "Happiness and National Agenda". Official Portal of the UAE Government.
  13. ^ Retrieved 2019-10-20. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Simmons, Ann (March 6, 2016). "UAE's minister of happiness insists her job is no laughing matter". LA Times.
  15. ^ McKenzie, Shawna (February 15, 2016). "Happy days? United Arab Emirates appoints first minister of happiness". CNN Regions.
  16. ^ Taylor, Adam (February 10, 2016). "The UAE created a minister of happiness, but what does that even mean?". Washington Post.
  17. ^ "Happiness Policy Manual (presentation PDF)" (PDF).
  18. ^ "UAE develops world's first 'Happiness Policy Manual'". Khaleej Times Dubai.
  19. ^ a b "Hello Happiness - Happy UAE". Happy AE.
  20. ^ "Global Happiness Policy Report 2018".
  21. ^ "World Government Summit: UAE minister launches Global Happiness Policy Report". The National. February 10, 2018.
  22. ^ "WGS 2018: The Global Happiness Policy Report launched at Global Dialogue for Happiness Forum". Khaleej Times. February 10, 2018.
  23. ^ Global Happiness Council (2018). Global Happiness Policy Report 2018. New York, NY: Sustainable Development Solutions Network. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-9968513-7-4.
  24. ^ Elserty, Amro (March 22, 2017). "The U.A.E. Is The Happiest Country In The Arab World". Forbes.
  25. ^ Scott, Katy (April 14, 2017). "Can Dubai become the world's happiest city?". CNN Travel.