Ohoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The new Ministry of Happiness aims to create genuine happiness that is measurable and tangible for the whole UAE society, the minister said during her interview with an international television.

“What we’re trying to achieve here is to create a real change, to create authentic happiness for all the society,” Minister of Happiness Ohoud Khalfan Al Roumi told CNN’s Becky Anderson in her interview (see below) on Sunday after being appointed in the cabinet.

Speaking at Connect The World, Al Roumi discussed her role and what her ministry is trying to achieve for the country.

“Happiness is a serious job for governments. I think the main job for the government is to create happiness. In 2011, the UN encouraged member countries to look at happiness with a holistic approach for development and encourage them to look at measurements beyond GDP for welfare and prosperity,” Al Roumi said on the occasion of World Happiness Day celebrated on March 20,

“For us in the UAE, happiness is very important,” she added.

The UAE ranked 28th in the World Happiness Report released on Wednesday. Although it dropped eight points from the previous year, the UAE remained first in the region.

“The role of the government is to create an environment where people can flourish — can reach their potential — and choose to be happy,” Al Roumi said in the two-minute interview.

When asked how this can be done and what tangible measures they will introduce, Al Roumi said they are working on several pillars like a happy government, whether in terms of policies, programmes, services, work environment, and happiness as a lifestyle. Measuring it can be done through interviews, and focused group discussions, among other ways.

Al Roumi said, as an example, measuring people’s happiness when it comes to government services can be done aside from customer satisfaction.

On an international level, Al Roumi said countries should develop a comprehensive, insightful measurement of happiness that will help decision makers and government leaders to make informed decisions in developing programmes to make their people happy.

Al Roumi said there are many factors that determine personal happiness. In her case, it comes from within. “I am a very happy and positive person and I choose to be happy every day because this is what pushes me alive. This is what motivates me, this is what gives a sense of purpose to my life, so I always choose to see the glass half full.”