The United Arab Emirates, UAE, has on Wednesday named the country’s first ever minister of state for happiness and tolerance. Others were also assigned to newly created posts, as part of the government’s cabinet reshuffle exercise.
The minister of happiness, a female, will lead the United Arab Emirates’ attempt to secure happiness for its citizens and make it the world’s happiest place.
Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced Ohood Al Roumi’s appointment as the first minister to the newly created happiness position on Wednesday via Twitter.
Prime Minister Rashid says he wants to make the UAE “one of the best countries in the world” within five years, through this new cabinet as he named five women in his latest cabinet line-up of 29 ministers in a series of tweets. The women candidates make up nearly one-third of the country’s 29 federal cabinet positions.
Parts of his tweets read; The creation of the new ministerial role is to “align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction”.
We introduced the post of Minister of State for Happiness whose mission is to channel policies and plans to achieve a happier society.”
National happiness isn’t a wish. Plans, projects, programs, indices will inform the work of our ministries to achieve happiness,” he wrote.
Ohood Al Roumi is currently serving as director-general in the prime minister’s office and will continue to hold that position also. Along with her roles in the UAE, the United Nations Foundation selected Al Roumi last year to be a member of its Global Entrepreneurship Council. She is the first Arab member of the body.
Also in the newly appointed cabinet are Lubna al-Qassimi, a veteran minister of international cooperation and development, was handed the new post of state Minister for Tolerance, while 22-year-old female Shamma al-Mazroui, was appointed state Minister for Youth.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, a British-educated businessman and technocrat became prime minister of the world’s sixth-richest country (as ranked by the World Bank) in 2006.
In 2014 during a rather low-key initiative, Dubai launched a scheme called “Happiness Index Application”, which allowed 14 key government bodies to monitor and “measure happiness” via websites, tablets and smartphones.
However, the oil-rich state’s latest move in launching a minister-level position is thought to be part of the larger agenda, which the government has been following in recent years.
The United Arab Emirates oil-rich federation of seven Gulf sheikdoms, is considered a safe haven spared in the wave of Arab Spring uprisings that hit the region.
Citizens make up a small minority of the UAE’s population of nine million which is overwhelmingly made up of foreign workers.
Other countries to have attempted such ministerial positions are Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro in 2013, created a new role named vice ministry of supreme social happiness and neighboring country Ecuador which quickly followed the initiative.