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As a recent study of the Colombia University shows, the UAE is happier than for instance the US or Austria. The UAE is ranked 21st in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s World Happiness Report 2017. With these results, the UAE is a happier country than compared to also Germany. So why is that?

In 2016, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, adopted the Happiness Agenda. The unique science-based and psychological approach measures individuals’ happiness and aims to create and establish an environment which is promoting positivity and happiness. Resulting by the UAE government appointing H. E. Sheikha Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi  as the Minister of State for Happiness. Whilst in Germany, we have a Minister of Health, Economic Affairs and Energy, Minister of Environment and so on... we are definitely lacking a Minister of Happiness!

The Happiness Agenda includes policies, programmes and services of all government bodies and work, promoting happiness as well as positivity as a lifestyle in communities and developing tools in order to be able measuring happiness.

The model proves to be successful: Dubai scored 90 per cent average in the happiness index in 2016 in less than only one year of introducing the happiness agenda. May this show that the Happiness Agenda has the potential to be successful in other countries outside of the UAE? 

Meeting essential daily life needs for a societal well-being to encompass the whole city experience are part of the duties of the Happiness Agenda. Accessing services more easily, efficient, convenient and seamless is the framework of the Happiness Agenda which is aiming to achieve a high sense of well-being and satisfaction of UAE’s residents as well as visitors. By this, it is desired to satisfy and influence individuals affective, emotional, basic, cognitive and deeper needs by discovering and creating awareness for changes that support these needs. So, aren’t these global needs? And wouldn’t it make sense to propose the Happiness Agenda worldwide -or just as a starting point in Germany?

Especially as Germany and the UAE hold slight similarities when it comes to cultural traits regarding Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions.* Germany is among the uncertainty avoidant countries and so are the UAE. In these cultures, there is an ‘emotional need for rules, time is money, people have an inner urge to be busy and work hard, precision and punctuality are the norm, innovation may be resisted, security is an important element in individual motivation’ according to Hofstede.

So as certain cultural dimension of both countries are not as different as we think: when is the Happiness Agenda spreading its happiness in Germany? Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be happy? And as our weather is not as sunny and shiny as in the UAE the lack of Vitamin D could be resolved through the Happiness Agenda, couldn’t it? 

* https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/germany,the-united-arab-emirates/

Virginia Krieger

Virginia Krieger

E-Mail: v.krieger@serviceplan.com