Optimism and positive thinking are key to young people finding a way to end the endemic violence in the region. There are 200 million people in the Arab world and they have to choose between two ways: the first is to lose any hope of a better future and to fall prey to extremism and sectarianism, and the second is to have real hope in the future with confidence that they will achieve a better life and use their positive power to create a better country.

This stark challenge was issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, when he launched his new book on happiness and positivity. The key to his thinking is his blazing confidence that we can all make a difference and that the total outcome of all our combined efforts will be much more than the sum of the individual commitments.

One vital element of the book is Shaikh Mohammad’s clarity of purpose in seeking to break the cycles of conflict and tension that have bedevilled the Arab world with an insistence of seeking positive thinking. He has done this with a keen eye on how to implement this powerful but quite nebulous idea, converting it from a vague aspiration into achievable goals for us all.

He has used his book to sum up his findings with lots of real-life examples from the UAE’s own experience and history. He relates how he has refused to accept that change cannot happen, quoting his own experience when he became prime minster and friends warned him not to expect too much, but despite such caution, he points out in the book that the UAE now has a hard-working ministerial team, with plans, strategies and the UAE’s Vision 2021 that have unleashed the UAE ambitions, noting also that the Emiratis are now the happiest people on Earth.

In order to make the positivity and happiness achievable, Shaikh Mohammad spoke to many different levels of thinkers and society before formulating his ideas.

He spoke to international thought leaders and Emirati intellectuals, as well as junior government employees and members of society from all over the country, and used their practical experience and their hopes to build a government based on administrative, humanitarian and leadership principles that require people to expect the best and believe in their capabilities.