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Press Release

The First International Day of Happiness



On the first International Day of Happiness, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, today called on the international community to commit to an inclusive and sustainable human development that will improve the well-being of those who lack basic services needed to pursue happiness. “People around the world aspire to lead happy and fulfilling lives free from fear and want, and in harmony with nature”, the Secretary-General said in his message for the day. “Yet, basic material well-being is still elusive for far too many living in extreme poverty. For many more, recurring socio-economic crises, violence and crime, environmental degradation and increasing threats of climate change are an ever-present threat.”

To mark the day, the Permanent Mission of Bhutan together with the United Nations Department of Public Information co-hosted an event at the United Nations, on Wednesday, 20 March 2013, on the theme “Happiness and well-being: Essential for a sustainable future.” Approximately 500 people including Member States, UN Officials, academics, NGOs and students attended the event.

In his address at the Event, Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk, Bhutan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, highlighted the importance of understanding the deeper meaning of Happiness and Wellbeing for a sustainable future.

Other speakers at the Event included H.E. Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; H.E. Ambassador Hamid Al Bayati of Iraq; H.E. Mr. Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations; Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Columbia University Teachers College; Dr. Jo Anne Murphy, Office of Global Learning, Fairleigh Dickinson University; and Ms. Latoya Ferns, Student, Durham University, United Kingdom.

The presentations were followed by an interactive session. The main message that emerged from the Event was that governments at all levels must work together with people to promote wellbeing in order to achieve happiness for a sustainable future. There was also emphasis on the need to promote peace, harmony and understanding at the individual, community and global levels as prerequisites for happiness.

Members of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Jazz Society also presented a musical performance at the Event.

Later in the evening, Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk also hosted a reception for members of the international community to mark the occasion.

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