Learning how to create happiness? It sounds like the best training day ever.
And for 60 lucky CEOs, it was a reality as a five-month training programme for the UAE’s recently appointed chief positivity officers kicked off this month.
The select group attended a five-day happiness workshop as part of their new roles, which were revealed earlier this year by Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, 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.
The newly created roles also reflect the forward-thinking attitude of the UAE, the minister said, with the officers responsible for creating and enforcing projects designed to promote cheerfulness in government departments and society as a whole.
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The officers will represent federal and local government entities after their five months of training, which will be made up of lectures, seminars, educational visits, and workshops. Academics from the University of Oxford’s Mindfulness Centre, and the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkley, will be responsible for helping train the selected candidates.
Officers will be taught to understand the ‘science of happiness’ and how to employ mindfulness principles to spread happiness and positivity.
These lucky individuals have been chosen to mirror the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has called for the creation of happy and positive work environments across the government, said Al Roumi.
“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,” she said.
“Economic growth is no longer a tool to gauge the happiness of the people. The future will be for those countries which could transform economic growth into a high quality life and happiness of the people.”
More than 200 candidates were nominated, with the successful officers-to-be whittled down after a series of tests and interviews which looked at their leadership skills, their ability to implement happiness initiatives, and their general positivity and energy.