world government summit in dubai
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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World Government Summit in Dubai

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Arab Today, arab today World Government Summit in Dubai

Professor Dr Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development
Dubai - Arab Today

 Fortune and fame will never make us happy, suggests the findings of a Harvard University Medical School study 75 years in the making.

Close relations are the key to being truly content and safely shielded from the miseries of a cold world, it would seem, posit decades of medical study at one of America's top schools.

Professor Dr Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, told hundreds gathered for the first Global Dialogue on Happiness on Saturday the secret to happiness appears to lie within your loved ones.

Those who do not have the support of a close-knit community may find attaining happiness difficult.

“Close relationships are the strongest indicators of what would keep people health and happy throughout their lives,” Dr Waldinger said at the conference ahead of Sunday's launch of the three-day World Government Summit in Dubai.

In the life-long study of Harvard male students and underprivileged boys from Boston in parallel right through until today, the study shows that subjects who have meaningful connections with relatives, friends and colleagues fared better throughout life.

“Those with happier relationships, stayed healthier,” said Dr Waldinger, adding those who are surrounded by loved ones are “less likely to develop cognitive decline".

With US statistics reporting that one in five people say they are lonely, it is that isolation that is contributing to less happiness and early death, he said.

“Loneliness turns out to be toxic not only for happiness but also for health,” he said.

Relationships do not have to be perfect, he said, just based on mutual trust and confidence in one another to make us feel connected to the world around us.

“One of the things that we found is that relationships don't have to be smooth,” said Dr Waldinger. “People need someone who they believe they can count on when things get hard.”

He joked that if aliens visited earth and their first exposure to humans was through Facebook, the skewed profiles of millions of people showing faux happiness would lead to a distorted view of people on earth.

Aliens “would believe that we were all either all on vacation or at a party all of the time,” he said.

Happiness he said is not “what we see on billboards or on our Twitter feeds.”

11.10am

‘Governments must aim for happy citizens’

Dubai: A government’s prime mission is ensuring that its people are happy across all walks of life, said world leaders on Saturday at the first Global Dialogue on Happiness in Dubai.

The conference was held ahead of the three-day World Government Summit in Dubai, beginning Sunday, and which is hosting 4,000 delegates and 150 speakers from 139 countries around the world.

Ohoud Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Happiness, opened the conference, which she called a first of its kind to create a world platform to build happiness into the international conversation about global development.

“The question that should be asked today is: Will this contribute to a more happier life?” Al Roumi told a standing-room only audience, noting that studies show that “people who are lonely suffer an early death”.

Al Roumi said the UAE is championing happiness for its people to counter global statistics that suggest 350 million people suffer from depression ad that “18,000 people die every day from depression between the ages of 18 and 29”.

The World Health Organisation, she said, predicts that depresssion “will be one three main diseases by 2030”.

Al Roumi said that the key challenge for governments is to balance economic growth with well being to stave off deepening depression.

“Governments should assume responsibility in order to improve the living conditions for its people,” Al Roumi said. “We, in the United Arab Emirates, believe that the main duty of the government is to promote happiness.”

In opening remarks, Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, told the conference that world governments are listening and are moving to incorporate “alternative measures of well being” into national indicators that measure progress.

Clark lauded the UAE for its happiness goals noting that a recent study showed “18 per cent of adults experienced a mental disorder. More needs to be done for those who are living with mental illness.”

Self determination of citizens is a big factor in happiness, she said.

“The freeedom to make one’s own choices has been identified as a means of advancing happiness,” Clark said, adding that “paying more attention to happiness should be a component to our efforts to sustain human development.”

In his keynote address, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shared with the conference that his country has been making happiness a prime directive at top government levels for the last four decades. much to the spiritual prosperity of its people.

Flanked by pictures of grinning citizens of Bhutan, Tobgay quipped that after a very diffficult 2016 for everyone, it was a good time to focus on being happy.

He was candid in his remarks that some governments around the world are missing the mark when it comes to their citizenry.

“The simple fact is that governments have not taken the happiness of their people seriously enough,” Tobgay said.

His country is so serious about happiness, it created what it calls Gross National Happiness as an official indicator of its own development, he said.

“GNH drives all development in Bhutan,” Tobgay said, adding that happiness is measured by a GNH Commission which looks at everything from social equity, environment and good governance before recommending government policies for approval.

“We politicians can’t be trusted, we can easily be distracted,” Tobgay said, drawing chuckles from the audience

source : gulfnews

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