WASHINGTON, February 8, 2017: In his 2015 TEDx talk, psychiatrist Dr. Robert Waldinger shared some of the findings from a 75-year study of 724 adult men that began in 1938. As the current Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which continues to this day, Dr. Waldinger asked, “What have we learned?”
Simply stated, the answer is that “people are happier who are more connected to others.” The talk went viral with over 19,000,000 views, and a year later he found himself in Dubai speaking to an international audience at the inaugural Global Dialogue for Happiness, an adjunct of the World Government Summit.
2018 World Government Summit
This year’s Summit, from February 11-13, 2018, includes a diversity of topics from “The Importance of Hope,” to “Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Financial Markets.” The event features an impressive array of internationally-renown speakers. Attendees will be able to hear from Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra, to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Happiness isn’t an obvious topic for a gathering of world leaders, which is why the World Government Summit is so unique.
Launched in 2013, the annual Summit brings together politicians, business leaders, researchers and educators for the purpose of shaping future governments and the future of humankind through information sharing on a worldwide scale.
2017 World Government Summit
In 2017, the Summit took the progressive step of bringing happiness to the forefront with the Global Dialogue for Happiness, resulting in life-changing experiences for many of the attendees. Among the highlights were presentations by author and integrative medicine practitioner Dr. Andrew Weil, face-reader Eric Standop, and happiness research fellow Matt Killingsworth.
Dr. Weil, known for the many natural food products that bear his name, spoke about how ancient medicine helps develop a more holistic approach to healthcare.
“I was discouraged by my medical education [at Harvard],” Dr. Weil lamented. “I didn’t learn anything about how to keep people well, which I always thought should be the main business of doctors.”
Another ancient practice,
Chinese Face Reading is a tool that can help us understand ourselves and the people around us. Different parts of the face, including shapes and spatial relationships, indicate the type of person we are meant to be. Becoming that person is an important step along the path to happiness.
According to Eric Standop, a practitioner who studied with a Chinese Master Face Reader,
“The face is a book that tells the story of a lifetime.”
Measuring happiness also plays an important role in our understanding of it, which is why Matt Killingsworth created the “Track Your Happiness” app.
Each user becomes a participant in a study that not only creates unprecedented amounts of data, but also gives users insights into their own happiness through individualized reports.
“We’ve had some phenomenal improvements in the objective conditions of life in the last 50 to 70 years,” Killingsworth noted, “and yet if you look at the empirical data, happiness hasn’t improved, so we have to get a lot smarter about how we are pursuing it.”
2018 World Government Summit in Dubai
As with many conferences, the sessions begin early in the morning and continue throughout the day, so even the most ambitious participant will need to take a break. Lucky for them, the Summit is in Dubai, the most luxurious and exotic destination in the Middle East, and there are unique experiences and fascinating discoveries around every corner.
For daytime or evening desert excursions, Platinum Heritage Luxury Tours and Safaris is recognized as the best in the Middle East by the World Travel Awards. The company’s sustainable tours include safaris into the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in an open-top, vintage 1950’s Land Rover, and feature a gourmet dining experience at a luxury oasis inside the Royal Desert Retreat of a local Royal family member. Among its many tour options, Platinum Heritage also offers overnight safaris, conservation safaris, hot air ballooning and helicopter tours.
Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project
For the environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts attending the Summit, another memorable experience is a visit with the rescued turtles of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (“DTRP”). At the Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel, the DTRP has been saving turtles since 2004.
They have successfully released over 1,000 turtles into the Arabian Gulf, most of whom were brought to the organization by compassionate members of the public. The DTRP’s habitat lagoon, with its discovery trail and observation island, is uniquely suitable for turtle rehabilitation given its proximity to the Gulf.
The lagoon is open to the public daily, and one of the best ways to experience the rescued turtles is at the feeding session each Wednesday at 11:00 am.
Where to stay
While attending the Global Dialogue for Happiness, you’ll also want to be happy with your accommodations. The Madinat Jumeirah Resort is one of the most spectacular in Dubai, and among its four hotels, the Mina A’Salam is a standout. This family-friendly hotel is on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, and features 292 luxury guest rooms and suites.
World-famous for its service, the attentive and friendly staff members at Mina A’Salam will make it seem as though your happiness is the central pursuit of their lives … right down to the animal figures housekeeping makes out of your towels!
From Sous Chef Mikel Allati at Hanaaya Restaurant, who will go to the ends of the peninsula to accommodate you, to Jade Saducas, the Resort Cake Artist, whose mouth‑watering dessert creations belong in a museum, every staff member you encounter at Mina A’Salam is fanatical about making your stay a memorable one.
In addition to the private beaches, pools, fitness and spa centers, and over 50 restaurants and bars within the Resort, hotel guests receive complimentary admission to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, a popular Dubai attraction.
What makes you happy?
Regardless of the superficialities of your surroundings, including the luxury accommodations and exclusive experiences available in Dubai, the keys to happiness are ultimately about personal connection.
The fact remains that people around the world are increasingly lonely and unhealthy. So for those seeking guidance or searching for answers, a life-changing experience awaits at the World Government Summit and Global Dialogue for Happiness. The Summit may only last a few days, but the experience of its ideas and the inspiration of its speakers will last a lifetime.