The UAE has created a new government post: the Minister of Happiness
In 2016, the uae raised a few eyebrows when it appointed the world’s first Minister of State for Happiness. The post went to Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, one of five woman appointed to the country’s cabinet.
How can any state institutionalize something so elusive? Isn’t quality of life better gauged by hard numbers – such as GDP, life expectancy, social support outlays?
Perhaps. Yet there is ample evidence to show that treated separately, happiness is an effective measure of social progress and deserves to be the goal of public policy. The Kingdom of Bhutan has been championing gross national happiness as a measure of progress since the 1970s. At the UN, the World Happiness Report has also been produced annually since 2012, rating nations based on the happiness of their people – Norway topped the list this year, incidentally.
A prime goal of any effective employee engagement is to ensure workers are reasonably … happy. There’s no better word. A happy workforce is better able to focus on delivering success. The UAE is simply applying that theory to a larger group: 9 million people.
Is it working? His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, admits it is early days. He said the country was at the “beginning of our journey” when the Cabinet endorsed the National Happiness and Positivity Charter last year. Yet progress is evident.