Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, has met with representatives of the media to speak about the government’s efforts to promote happiness in the UAE.
She highlighted that these efforts build on the legacy of the country’s founding fathers and the approach they have been pursuing since the country was established in 1971.
She was speaking in a meeting with editors-in-chief of local newspapers and social media activists about UAE’s first National Programme of Happiness which was launched last month by the cabinet.
The minister said that promoting happiness has been a culture in the UAE since it was established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who prioritised national well-being and people’s welfare.
Al Roumi noted that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, continues to pursue and enhance this approach with initiatives and policies.
The government, she noted, is establishing a new experience in this field as happiness is a subject of research and can be measured using scientific tools.
She further noted that 29 professors are teaching happiness at Harvard University, 78,000 titles about happiness are being advertised on online retailer Amazon, and 58 talks about happiness on TED, the non-profit devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short and powerful talks, have been viewed by 100,000,000 people.
“Happiness is not just a wish in our country. There will be plans, projects, programmes and indices. It will be part of the job of all ministries,” Al Roumi quoted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as saying when he launched the programme.
“My role as a minister of happiness is to ensure that all plans and programmes are in line with this approach. The government’s role is to promote individual and community awareness about the importance of happiness and to create a favourable environment for this,” Al Roumi said.
For Al Roumi, promoting happiness and positivity at government workplaces is a must, because scientific studies show that a happy employee produces twice as much compared to an unhappy one.
The least happy workers are said to be spending 40 per cent of their week doing what they are there to do, compared with happy workers, who are said to spend 80 per cent of their week on work-related tasks, she noted.