The luxurious city of Dubai showed the world it's capable of dreaming big dreams. It decided its next quest should be transforming itself as the world's happiest city.
Whether Dubai will succeed in its pursuit of happiness, time can only tell. The UAE's largest and most populous city has been flexing its political muscle and lucrative resources to show the world just how serious their goal is. For starters, the Emirate capital created the Ministry of Happiness last year and put in place 60 Happiness CEOs in the government.
The global city also thinks that the journey to happiness can be best achieved by partnering with technology innovation. That's why there's Smart Dubai, the government department loaded with the responsibility of making the city not just the happiest but also the most technologically advanced in the world. As a result, interactive touchpoints called Happiness Meters have been set up across to score their level of happiness with basic public services.
People can choose among the emoji showing a happy face, neutral face and a sad face to tap into a Happiness index. Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr of Smart Dubai told CNN Dubai's current happiness score sits at 90 percent, but that they hope to raise it to 95 percent by 2021. The race to become the world's happiest city falls neatly under the UAE Vision 2021, which explains the government-organized events such as happiness festivals, a "happiness park" and the International Happiness Day.
With people's happiness taken as a government agenda, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticized UAE's masked persecution and restricted freedom of expression. The Persian Gulf nation ranked 21st based on the World's Happiness Report 2017. The report gauges countries based on "caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance" as well as "income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government."