The International Happiness Initiative is a charitable non-governmental organization created in support of the United Nations General Assembly resolution establishing the International Day of Happiness, observed on 20 March annually.
Dr. T. Hamid Al-Bayati, who was the driving force behind the resolution, is the director of this NGO, with the assistance of Katrina Martinez and Mario Haddad. Together they lead a team of dedicated and passionate young adults, starting in New York and expanding across the globe.
In accordance with the mission of the NGO, this team will work creatively and proactively to connect humanity to happiness and spread universal acceptance towards the concept of happiness and the change it can implement.
Since the adoption of resolution A/RES/66/281 on 28 June 2012, by the General Assembly, many NGOs were established to advocate the issue of happiness. We are glad to see that many people care about happiness and they work to bring happiness to others.
We would like to work will all NGOs who are concern with happiness and to cooperate with them to achieve our common objectives of making people aware of bringing happiness to others.
International Happiness Initiative
What Happiness is? Why Happiness is important? How to get happiness?
Happiness is the ultimate objective of all human beings. However I believe that most of the people throughout the world are unhappy. I have a habit of asking people I meet a simple question: are you happy? Most of them will say yes in the beginning, but when I go into details I find out that they are really unhappy and in some cases they are miserable.
This is why I established the International Happiness Initiative to have an awareness campaign of what happiness is, why happiness is important to everyone and how to get happiness, real happiness, and eternal happiness.
When I ask people what happiness is for you, most of them will answer it is a good job, a big house and a new car. However few of them will say for example happiness is health, education and knowledge. In short happiness for most of the people means a lot of money and materialistic issues.
I agree that education, health and money could make some people happy, but could not make everyone happy and could not bring happiness all the times. The World witnesses how many rich, educated and famous people commit suicide because they are unhappy including celebrities. Also we will never be able to make everyone rich, educated and healthy but we make everyone happy.
So if someone is poor, uneducated and unhealthy, does that mean s/he should be unhappy and miserable? And if someone is rich who can guarantee that s/he will not be poor later? We have witnessed so many millionaires lose their wealth in short time. We saw people losing everything including beloved member of their families in natural disasters. If someone is healthy who can guarantee that s/he will not be one day unhealthy. We saw healthy people turned unhealthy in seconds by an accident or a serious health problem.
Happiness is important for every human being because we cannot enjoy life without happiness. Happiness is important because it helps us to face difficulties, problems, and disasters. Happiness is important because it helps us to recover when we are sick and unhealthy.
Therefore my philosophy is that happiness should come from within regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Our awareness campaign is to make people aware of what happiness is, why it is important and how to make happiness shine from inside.
It is our human nature which makes us ambitious and ambition makes us progress. It is also our human nature which makes us love to own as many things as possible and owning things is a good motive for creations and innovations.
However, if we cannot achieve our ambitions and cannot own what we like to own we should not be unhappy. We could learn to be happy even if we achieve little and own less than what we hope.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, into the 1908s, Bhutan started opening up its kingdom to the outside world. In the late 1980s His Majesty King Jigme SingyeWangchuck, 4th King of Bhutan, introduced the philosophy and principles of Gross National Happiness (GNH) to the world. At the time, the world was increasingly becoming globalized. His Majesty was also the youngest monarch in the world. He spoke about Bhutan’s development and creating economic practices in line with the cultural values of Bhutan through pursuing Gross National Happiness. He also stated, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.” Since its entrance onto the international stage Bhutan has expressed a strong emphasis on the happiness of its people.
On 19 July 2011, member states of the United Nations passed a resolution unanimously to pursue a new economic paradigm and new public policies that measure and strive for gross global happiness. Member states agreed that the pursuit of happiness captures the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals *link to MDGs. With this resolution, they also expressed interest to hold a High-Level Meeting on Well Being and Happiness during the 66th session of the General Assembly, to be hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
However, this resolution did not include a day of observance for happiness. While preparations were being made for this High-Level meeting to begin on 2 April 2012, Dr. T Hamid Al-Bayati, who was Ambassador of Iraq at the time, initiated the resolution towards creating the International Day of Happiness. His Excellency Al-Bayati held meetings with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President of the 66th session of the General Assembly H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and Nelson Mandela’s two grandsons Ndaba and Kweko to establish this day. On 28 June 2012, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to create the International Day of Happiness. This resolution ensured that every year, at least one day would be set aside to celebrate happiness.
The first International Day of Happiness was celebrated on 20 March 2013, and continues to be celebrated on that day every year. On 20 March, governments, NGOs, political leaders, big companies, celebrities, individuals, institutions, the young and the old, are encouraged to reaffirm their commitment to universal happiness and spreading happiness within their own communities. On this day, we must learn, teach, and transmit happiness.
The International Happiness Initiative celebrates this day every day of the year.
The purpose of the International Happiness Initiative is to provide awareness, fulfilment, and opportunities to pursue happiness. Happiness is a universal human right and an art of living that must be practiced by all.
In today’s globalized society, leaps in technology and medicine have gone far, while personal fulfillment and quality of life has not. We believe that happiness, although unique to each individual, can be achieved regardless of any circumstance. Happiness stems from being grateful and observing the “now” or current situation in a positive light. Through IHI, we wish to bring happiness back into everyone’s everyday lives.
IHI will rescue the idea of happiness from the materialistic state that it blindly lives in, to the unbiased and clear perception that happiness comes from within. Clarity must be established on the fact that happiness is not based off of circumstance. Simply giving away money and expecting results is not beneficial to the sustainability of happiness.
Because of the World Health Organization’s prediction that by the year 2030 depression will be the leading disease in the world, we see the pursuit of happiness as crucial, now more than ever. A restoration of values such as the value of life and humanity are essential to this cause. Empowering young people around the world to take charge of their happiness is also necessary to its sustainability for generations on end. In a world where material things have redefined human worth, this will be challenging, but not impossible.