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United Arab Emirates names its first minister of happiness

Feb. 11, 2016 at 10:39 AM

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Seeking to raise its bliss bar, the United Arab Emirates prime minister has appointed the country's first minister of happiness to the Cabinet.

Minister of Happiness Ohood Al Roumi's job is to lead her country's citizens down a path to satisfaction, and move the country up the list of happiest on earth. The UAE was listed as the 20th happiest country on the planet in 2015 by the annual World Happiness Report.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Roshad Al Maktourn, the UAE's prime minister, ruler of Dubai and the vice president, tweeted her appointment, saying "national happiness isn't a wish."

"Plans, projects, programs, indices will inform the work of our ministries to achieve happiness," he said.

The minister of happiness will be part of a new Cabinet whose mission is building a utopian society with a citizenship that is more educated, more tolerant and in which all have equal economic opportunities, Gulf News reported.

Al Ramoui also serves as a member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurship Council, the first Arab to serve on that board. She will also continue to serve as the director-general of the prime minister's office.

Al Maktourn, 66, on Twitter, said the post "would align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction."

He called it the beginning of a new journey "and we ask Allah to help us to serve and take care of them," he said in a tweet.

The 2015 World Happiness Report singled out the UAE for its commitment to happiness.

The 44-year-old oil-rich country is "among the best in the world in the Human Development Index and aims to be the happiest of all nations so that its citizens feel proud to belong to the UAE," that country's Vision 2021 plan states.

In addition to appointing a minister of happiness, Al Maktourn named 28 other new members of the Cabinet, including the creation of a minister of state for youth, now held by Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazrouei.

"Al Mazrouei will also be Chairperson of the Youth Council, which will represent the youth's ambitions and issues; we will provide her with authorities and I expect genuine accomplishments from her and her council," Al Maktourn said.

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