Dubai: The UAE government on Saturday announced training for 60 chief happiness and positivity officers who will represent federal and local government entitities.
The announcement was made by Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Happiness.
“The candidates will undergo a practical, comprehensive, and intense training programme – the first of its kind on a global level – as of September, to become the first generation of Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers in the UAE Government,” the ministry said in a statement.
Al Roumi explained that selecting these talented young nationals to the newly created role mirrors the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who called for the creation of happy and positive work environments in all government entities. All ministries need to be ministries of happiness when it comes to their policies, programmes, and services, Shaikh Mohammad noted, and to contribute to the establishment of a happy and positive society.
The Minister of State for Happiness went on to assert that training the Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers reflects the future-oriented thinking of the UAE Government., which firmly believes that building the future requires foresight and knowledge, and anticipates its challenges by launching initiatives, policies, and programmes, as well as training generations of specialists in various fields.
The minister said: “The principles of happiness and positivity are gaining traction around the world as a response to the rapid changes we’re witnessing, and stemming from a new understanding of government work as a means to instil happiness in society. The UAE is the first country in the world to create the position of Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers, and the first to develop a training programme of this kind.”
As part of the preparations to launch the Happiness and Positivity Training Programme, Al Roumi signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California – Berkley, to train the Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers to understand the ‘science of happiness’ and implement it. The minister also signed an agreement with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre at Oxford University, to train the candidates on how to employ mindfulness principles to spread happiness and positivity.
She stressed the importance of forging partnerships with top scientific institutions and global organisations to promote positivity and teamwork in the government sector and make happiness and positivity a staple of the government and the community, underlining the vital role that the Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers can play in this area.
The Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers play a key role in coordinating the government's efforts towards the adoption and implementation of initiatives aimed at creating a happier society. They work to implement the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity and coordinate between the internal ‘Happiness Councils’ established by and within each ministry and government department.
The programme is designed to equip a new generation of national leaders with world-class knowledge and practical skills in the field of happiness, allowing them to implement initiatives that promote happiness and positivity as a culture and an approach to government work. It mixes cognitive and practical aspects to equip the Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers with the necessary skills to turn abstract ideas into tangible projects, and to coordinate efforts within their respective departments in order to turn happiness and positivity into a daily practice and launch initiatives that can change people’s lives.
The programme consists of five pillars (top-tier international partners were chosen to implement each of them): the science of happiness and positivity, mindfulness, leading a happy team, happiness and policies in government work, and measuring happiness. The programme will be implemented in a timespan of five months starting in September of this year, and concluding in January 2017.
The programme includes lectures, seminars, educational benchmarking visits to see the best global practices and experiences in the field, and a set of applications and workshops. Participants will design and implement projects to promote happiness and positivity in government departments and society at large.
The National Programme for Happiness and Positivity has received nearly 200 nominations from federal and local governments, and has selected Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers from among them on the basis of qualifications and professionalism, as well as positivity, energy, and ability to influence people and spread happiness. Candidates underwent a series of tests and interviews to assess their leadership skills and their ability to implement happiness and positivity initiatives.
The minister signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California – Berkley to implement of the Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers training programme, and develop national capacities in the field of happiness and its practical applications.
The centre is one of the leading scientific institutions in the world in the field of happiness; more than 300,000 students from around the world signed up for its open online training programme on the science of happiness.
The Greater Good Science Center conducts research and training programmes that prepare specialists to develop happy communities and improve human life, by enabling them to understand its social and psychological aspects, and to find solutions to the challenges.
The University of California – Berkeley is considered the top government university in the United States, and takes third place in the global ranking of universities – with around 50 members of its teaching staff and alumni having won the Nobel Prize in various fields.
She also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre at Oxford University, whereby the centre offers a training programme on its mindfulness model and the role it plays in achieving happiness, which serves to educate the Chief Happiness and Positivity Officers about the field.
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre is a leading global specialist centre in the field. By conducting scientific studies that confirm the importance of mindfulness in promoting positivity in people and helping them overcome everyday challenges and stress, the centre aims to underline the role of mindfulness in spreading positivity in the community and improving human behaviour.
The centre employs a team of researchers and psychologists, in addition to more than 25 teachers in the field of mindfulness.