Consul-General of Japan and World’s Happiest Man in the Spotlight at the Second Happiness Journey

Dubai: Compassion, altruism and moral education are essential for both individual and collective happiness, asserted speakers as they took to the stage during the second edition of ‘Happiness Journey’.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, the Journey includes sports, cultural, and entertainment activities, and features speakers with inspirational life experiences.

The day kicked off with a session titled ‘The Secrets of Moral Education’ where Dr Akima Umezawa, Consul-General of Japan, spoke of Japan’s experience in boosting positivity, ensuring harmony in society, and improving quality of life. Umezawa underlined the importance of moral education in building communities with high moral values such as integrity, responsibility, generosity, and compassion.

“The UAE is very similar to Japan,” he noted, in that it encourages its people to innovate, work hard and strive for progress. The UAE is home to people from more than 200 nationalities and backgrounds, offering a model society rooted in harmony and respect for the traditions and cultures of others.

The Happiness Journey is inspired by the legacy of the UAE’s founding father the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and highlights his values, which have been adopted as national values since the founding of the UAE. The Journey aims to support the UAE’s efforts in achieving a better quality of life for the community by establishing happiness and well-being as a way of life and thinking.

The Happiness Journey focuses on five themes: Mind Health, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Gastronomy and Arts.

“Positivity Ambassador” Thaaher Al Mehairi led a discussion titled ‘Determining a Life of Positivity’, where he identified contentment as one of the most important causes of happiness, and inner peace.

“Self-acceptance leads to tolerance, acceptance and respect for all members of society,” said Al Mehairi, who is a person of determination. He pointed out “life is a test, and naturally, not an easy one, but challenging circumstances and hard work are key factors to success and happiness.”

Al Mehairi stressed the need to overcome concerns and fears, revealing that he was initially afraid that society would not accept him because of his disability, but decided to overcome this fear and now he appears in events, conferences and seminars sending a message to society, and transforming the stereotypical perception of people of determination.

International author Matthieu Ricard, also known as ‘the happiest man in the world’, addressed the audience in a session titled ‘Compassion: The Inner Condition of Happiness’. Ricard defined four main concepts that lead to happiness: “Altruism, where we wish for all others to find happiness and the causes of happiness,” he said. Meanwhile, compassion means wishing others be free from suffering and all its causes. The third concept is wisdom, which is knowing reality as it is, while empathy is defined as affective resonance with others. “The best way to flourish in life is to express, at all times, benevolence warmheartedness and altruism,” he said.

The events include a series of unique cognitive and interactive experiences that enable visitors to test practical and fun applications of concepts, principles and theories in the field of happiness and well-being.