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Dubai: From trading pearls and fishing to engineering the happiest city in the world.

It all started with a vision of one man, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, who wanted to make Dubai become the happiest city in the world.

A great leap forward from fishing and collecting pearls to be traded with other nations to engineering the happiest city in the world. Long ago, most Dubaiers used to live in houses made of corals with no water for sewers and electricity, However, Dubai now is indeed the pearl of the East and one of the world’s most favorable go-to places.

The culture of Dubai is a great mixture of beautiful Islamic and western styles. A metropolitan where the East and the West converge. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine, and lifestyle are very prominent in the city. Everyone in Dubai is guaranteed a free-way living. A city that once was home for a single ethnically homogenous community has now transformed to become also home for other ethnic groups and nationals. If you’re in Dubai, you’ll have the chance to hear hundreds of languages with different dialects and accents, and you don’t have to travel anywhere to buy stuff. You can just buy it from Dubai Mall that has products from nearly 120 countries.

Visitors of Dubai can also enjoy very culturally-rich experiences. Especially after the launch of Dubai Culture that empowered many projects and initiatives as part of a great step forward to achieve the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021 that aims to boost Dubai’s stand as a cosmopolitan city for culture, arts, and literature. These initiatives and projects include Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, Visual Art Programme, the First cultural visa in the world and my favorite is the SIKKA Art Fair.

Another interesting aspect of Dubai Culture is the adoption of happiness and positivity approach. Thus, happiness programmes and initiatives were launched to spread joy among people. After a while, some surveys revealed that a surprising majority of Dubai residents said they feel happy and safe. In Dubai, you can see a police Happiness Patrol handing out rewards to law-abiding drivers instead of fines and tickets. People are asked to rate public services with emojis to reward good behaviors instead of punishing the bad.

The UAE is one of four national governments to appoint a senior government member responsible for coordinating national happiness efforts. Happiness in Dubai is a serious matter, especially after it became an increasingly preferred indicator for social progress by governments and global organizations such as the United Nations.  

In conclusion, happiness is an integral part of Dubai’s smart transformation. A smart and happy city that prioritizes happiness as a key objective, led by the Smart Dubai Office that oversees that transformation and utilizes innovative technology.