United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has joined the new trend of researching ‘happiness’ in a project with the University of Birmingham (UoB)

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UoB is working with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Ministry of Health and Prevention with the aim to develop the UAE into one of the happiest nations in the world. This is part of the set of development goals listed in the ‘UAE Vision 2021’.

The project’s vision, indicated in the UAE’s ‘National Agenda’, is to promote happiness and positivity throughout all segments of the UAE society. The government is willing to use the initiative to create an environment to suit the National Agenda.

Denmark and Bhutan were labelled as the happiest countries in the world. The popular lifestyle book ‘The Little Book of Hygge’, written by Meik Wiking from Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, introduced some of the elements responsible for contributing to levels of happiness in Denmark. This book had risen in popularity as more people express an interest in this particular lifestyle.

UAE had recognised the importance and influence of happiness and has therefore decided to work alongside social science experts to boost social and cultural cohesion in the country. UoB is renowned for its pioneering research (covering a range of academic fields) and has been awarded 11 Nobel Prizes. It has also been collaborating with overseas universities for a number of research projects and teaching activities.

Speaking of the collaboration, UoB Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood said, ‘the University is honoured to work with Dubai’s Ministry of Health and Prevention to explore new partnerships which could help develop the happiness of people in Dubai’.

The representatives of these two institutions, including His Excellency Mohammed Albaili from UAE University and Professor Sir David Eastwood co-signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which plays a major role in the overall project. It is said it will help to ‘integrate all segments of society while preserve the UAE’s unique culture, heritage and traditions, as well as reinforcing social and family cohesion’.

UAE is seeking to rank in the top five happiest countries in the world by 2021. Currently it ranks 21st, according to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s ‘World Happiness Report’.

Article By Hiu Ng