Only in the UAE, where happiness is taken seriously, would you find a course on the subject on the official curriculum. But that's exactly what students studying at the Abu Dhabi University's (ADU) Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses found when they came to register for classes.
The Introduction to Happiness and Positive Psychology Course, is a core requirement for Public Health majors and will focus on the definition of happiness, positive psychology, plus its principles and strategies, as well as the practical application of happiness, according to their website.
Students taking this class will learn about the optimistic side of human nature and the most effective way to thrive and reach their potential. But don't expect corny discussions and cliché reading material. According to one student, Leandro Meneghetti, the course is largely pragmatic and revolves around interactions, group activities, games, and practical homework. The idea is to teach students how to use their strengths, positive emotions and meaningful relationships in order to reach a state of wellbeing and maintain happiness.
The ADU part-time faculty member credited with creating and teaching the course, Fiona Barron, has said that based on student feedback, most students take the course with the aim to increase their self-confidence, have more positive energy when dealing with stress, live in the moment and remain content.
Some, however may wander, is teaching students how to be happy an educational institution's responsibility? ADU thinks it is. By giving students empowering tools, the university hopes it make them stronger and more confident so that they may lead more balanced, happier lives.
And on a micro and macro scale - doesn't every parent and every government want a rational, positive and optimistic future generation of leaders, educators and thinkers? I'm a 36-year-old mother of two, and even I want that for myself!