Dubai - The Ruler of Dubai has announced the formation of the World Happiness Council, headed by a Columbia professor.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has announced the formation of the World Happiness Council.
Headed by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the 12-member council will focus on six key areas: health, education, environment, personal happiness, happy cities and community standards for happiness, each with its own sub-council chaired by a different member of the team.
"The council aims to support international goals to standardise happiness as a measure of development, as we are doing in the UAE," Sheikh Mohammed noted on his Twitter account.
The council will be tasked with compiling an annual Global Happiness Report, highlighting international practices and achievements with regards to happiness and happiness research.
Other members of the council include Unesco director-general Irina Bukova, former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb; Professor Lord Layard, director of the Wellbeing Programme of the London School of Economic's Centre for Economic Performance; Professor John Heliwell of the University of British Columbia, Professor Martin Seligman, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Centre; and Dr Aisha bin Bishr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office.
The council will convene twice a year, once during the Global Dialogue for Happiness of the World Government Summit, while the second will be held in New York during meetings of the UN General Assembly.
The formation of the World Happiness Council has been the result of the dialogue of happiness that was part of the 5th edition of the World Government Summit held last month, Sheikh Mohammed said. "New challenges and rapid changes taking place in the world require decision-makers to adopt new policies that may open up windows of hope to people," Sheikh Mohammed said, adding: "Hope the UN celebrations marking International Day of Happiness will send a message to the world to search for new mechanisms to bring happiness to mankind."
"The UAE, under the leadership of my brother His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, believes the role of governments is to bring happiness to their peoples," he added.
"Happiness is a commendable infection. We want the peoples of the world to be afflicted with it so they could be blessed with goodness. This may require a tangible change in the culture of the government work," he said.
"Our initiative to launch the World Council of Happiness has been derived from our values and our conviction that it is necessary to bring happiness and positive values to people," he added.
Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE has been founded on the principles of giving, happiness, development, and tolerance to civilisations, cultures and peoples of the world. "We want to help the international community with its ongoing efforts to make this world a better place."