Ohood Al Roumi held up a copy of a newspaper dated November 11, 1971 as she opened the second session of the Global Dialogue of Happiness on "day zero" of the World Government Summit.
The Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, who is also the Vice Chairman of the World Government Summit, began the panel, titled "The Global Happiness Outlook", with the words of UAE Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed which made up the headline of the front page “My wealth is the happiness of my people”.
"These three words dating back to 11 November 1971, three weeks before the formation of the UAE summarised the vision of the founding leader and his comprehensive view of the importance of human happiness and society," she said.
During her session she launched the first Global Happiness Policy Report, which sets out policies needed to make a genuine difference in the well-being of humanity. The report highlights global best practices and inspiring experiences of happiness and well-being, celebrating the best government achievements in this arena.
"Governments of the world have gathered today to improve the wellbeing and life of people around the world with leading figures who inspire us to make the world a better place," she said.
"Through this guide, we aim to help decision-makers find these links and measure the real impact of policies on happiness and quality of life."
Ms Al Roumi said the approach to happiness involves more than methodology, however. It is an approach that combines the government sector, the private sector, international organisations, experts and citizens to develop a common goal of happiness and the quality of life.
The fourth session of the day turned focus to the role the private sector can play in promoting and enabling happiness within societies.
Nisha Jagtiani, group director and board Member of Landmark Group, which is the exclusive partner of the Global Dialogue for Happiness, highlighted the role companies can play in helping governments during a session titled "The Return on Happiness", moderated by Jenn Lim, co-founder and chief executive of Delivering Happiness.
“Whether you’re a small or large organisation, you have an obligation to make a difference in the community — it all starts with a purpose,” said Ms Jagtiani.
She referenced the Landmark Group’s own Happiness Movement, an initiative to enhance work-life balance for the group’s 40,000 staff across the Middle East through several activities that have increased engagement, connectivity, health and well-being.
Speaking about how companies can boost the happiness of their employees, she said, “It is about creating an environment where ordinary people can do extraordinary things — where people can really thrive.”
Citing the results of an Oxford study, she added: “Happier employees are six times more energised, which makes them more productive. They are also less likely to take sick leave.”
Ms Jagtiani said the success of any happiness movement lies in its ability to connect with every employee.
“That is the biggest challenge for us at Landmark Group, since we’re spread across so many regions,” she said. “But it is also a beautiful reason for us to come together, since the pursuit of happiness is for everyone. This is why we call it a movement, because we truly believe in its multiplier effect.”
The Global Dialogue for Happiness serves as a curtain raiser to the World Government Summit in 2018. The platform has happiness experts, government officials and representatives of international organisations examining ways to help governments ensure the happiness of their people. The event features workshops and sessions on topics related to happiness and well-being. The outcomes of these workshops and sessions will be compiled in a manual that will help governments raise the level of happiness across nations.
Held under the patronage of heikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from Sunday to Tuesday in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organisations.
Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features five distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialised global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.
Princess Haya of Jordan, humanitarian, a former Olympic athlete and member of the International Olympic Committee, and UN Messenger of Peace, will deliver the opening address Sunday.
An award will be issued to the best minister in the world, followed by discussions on climate change, women and youth, longevity and malnutrition in the age of abundance.