The prime minister of the United Arab Emirates just announced a major government shakeup. And it's all in the name of happiness.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted the good news to his more than 5 million followers, saying that the country will add minister positions focused on happiness, tolerance and much more.
A new post, Minister of State for Happiness, will align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction.#WorldGovSummit— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) February 8, 2016
The post of Minister of State for Tolerance has been created to promote tolerance as a fundamental value in UAE society#WorldGovSummit— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) February 8, 2016
At the World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday, Sheikh Mohammed said these new positions reflect a desire to create a government focused on youth, innovation, health and public satisfaction.
"Governments must be flexible. We don't need more ministries, but more ministers capable of dealing with change," he said.
"We want a young and flexible government that will fulfill our youth's aspirations and achieve our people's ambitions."
According to the 2015 World Happiness Report, the UAE ranks 20th in social cheer, with Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark rounding out the top three. Those countries scoring the best often defined happiness in their culture as embodying "coziness," "togetherness" and "well-being." For Latin America, where many of the world's happiest people reside, family and nature are also big factors.
“Family bonds are very strong here, and on Sundays everyone still gets together,” Laura Montenegro, cultural attache for Panama, told the Guardian. “So even when people are struggling they don’t feel alone. We have a very beautiful landscape too and even in Panama city you never feel too far from nature."
For the UAE, happiness as a focal point will likely trickle down into all aspects of governing.
“The leadership in the UAE always looks for two things from their people – one, that they are positive, and two, that they are happy,” Dr. Al Marzooqi, a clinical psychologist, told The National. “I see it as an umbrella position for all the ministries, as you need every minister in the Government to search for the people’s happiness.”
In addition to nurturing good will, the UAE is also shifting to embrace the next generation, with Sheikh Mohammed announcing a youth council led by a 22-year-old female minister of state. "The energy of youth will fuel our government in the future," he added.