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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 May 2018

‘Happiness is a serious job’: UAE’s Minister of Happiness embraces new role

'The main job for the government is to create happiness,' said Ohood Al Roumi, the UAE's Minister of State for Happiness, who started in her new role last month.

Ohood Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Happiness, said she chooses to be happy every day.  Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi 

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Ohood Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Happiness, said she chooses to be happy every day. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi ---

DUBAI // The UAE’s new Minister of Happiness, Ohood Al Roumi, has spoken for the first time pubilcly about her role and what she is trying to achieve during her time in office.

“Happiness is a serious job for governments,” said Ms Al Roumi. “The main job for the government is to create happiness. In 2011, the UN encouraged the member countries to look at happiness for a holistic approach for development.”

Ms Al Roumi, who was speaking to news channel CNN, said: “The role of the government is to create an environment where people can flourish – can reach their potential – and choose to be happy.

“For us in the UAE, happiness is very important. I am a very happy and positive person and I choose to be happy every day because this is what pushes me, this is what motivates me, this is what gives a sense of purpose to my life, so I always choose to see the glass half full,” she said.

During the World Government Summit in Dubai last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced that Minister of State for Happiness will have the responsibility to “align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction”.

“We want a government that works on building the skills of its people, aside from providing services ... a government focused on putting the happiness of citizens at the forefront of its priorities,” Sheikh Mohammed.

The UAE is ranked as the 28th happiest country in the world, according to last year’s UN World Happiness Report. Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland occupied the top three slots. The UAE was the happiest country in the region. akhaishgi@thenational.ae