International Day of Happiness

The International Day of Happiness (known as Happiness Day) is celebrated on the 20th of March. It was founded by United Nations adviser Jayme Illien on June 28, 2012, when all 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted UN resolution 66/281 The International Day of Happiness, following a multiyear campaign initiated in 2011 by the Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation. The first International Day of Happiness was celebrated and launched in 2013 with Ndaba Mandela, grandson of the late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela and Chelsea Clinton, daughter of US President Bill Clinton and US Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the TedXTeen conference in New York, NY. The United Nations and the United Nations Foundation also held ceremonies and celebrations.

The second International Day of Happiness was promoted by Pharrell Williams in 2014 and the United Nations Foundation with the world’s first 24-hour music video to the song “Happy”. Global citizens around the world were called upon to make their own music video to the song to make the first ever globally crowdsourced 24 hour global music video. The third International Day of Happiness was promoted by Pharrell Williams, in 2015 by the United Nations and the United Nations Foundation among other global campaigns. Pharrell Williams made a speech at the United Nations General Assembly where he proclaimed “Happiness is your birthright” and asked for action on climate change. Google created a home page takeover which received more than 3.5 billion impressions. Google also initiated a campaign where Pharrell would pop up at random and dance in their google hangouts feature.

The International Day of Happiness was Founded In 2012 The International Day of Happiness Resolution 66/281 was the result of the effort of United Nations adviser Jayme Illien, who conceptualized the idea for a U.N. Resolution that would recognize the pursuit of happiness as a human right and a “fundamental human goal.” Jayme Illien, founder of the International Day of Happiness, and Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation, gained the support for the idea of the new International Day of Happiness from the President of the UN General Assembly and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as all 193 UN member states to draft and adopt a new UN resolution to create the new international day, the International Day of Happiness. Jayme Illien authored UN resolution 66/281 and campaigned for its adoption by consensus of all 193 member states. Thirty two years before founding the International Day of Happiness, Jayme Illien was an orphan rescued from the streets of Calcutta India by Mother Teresa’s International Mission of Hope charities. Jayme Illien was later adopted by a then forty five year old single white American woman named Anna Belle Illien. After agreeing to adopt Jayme, Anna Belle Illien founded Illien Adoptions International, Inc, a 501 c non for profit child social welfare and international adoption agency based in Atlanta, GA.

Jayme Illien served as Adviser to the United Nations. Jayme Illien is United Nations consultant and representative for Economists for Peace and Security, a United Nations ECOSOC accredited NGO with special consultative status. Economists for Peace and Security achieved notability for exceedingly distinguished and thought leading economic community. The Economists for Peace and Security Board of Trustees has seventeen Nobel peace prize laureates in the prize for economics, including Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen of Harvard University, Lawrence Klein, Óscar Arias, George Akerlof, Kenneth Arrow, Daniel McFadden, Roger Myerson, Thomas Schelling, William F. Sharpe of Stanford University, Robert Solow, Franco Modigliani of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sir Clive Granger, Wassily Leontief, Douglass North, Jan Tinbergen, and James Tobin of Harvard University and Yale University. Other notable trustees include Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou, Former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

UN Resolution 66/281: International Day of Happiness’s adoption in 2012 marks a new historical milestone in humankind’s ultimate quest for happiness, which dates back to the time of ancient sages and philosophers such as Bhudda, Socrates, Confucius, Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, Mencius, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, and religious figures like Jesus, Abraham, Moses, and the prophet Muhammad – all of whom theorized about the purpose and meaning of life, the definition of happiness, and how to achieve it. On April 2, 2012, the United Nations hosted the first High Level Meeting on Happiness and wellbeing: Defining A New Economic Paradigm. At this meeting of Heads of State, Ministers and High Level delegates from over thirty countries and intergovernmental organizations like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.The resolution also celebrates a modern legal and constitutional history of humankind which recognizes happiness as a human right and goal.

Happiness Development Initiatives include

In 1972 Bhutan’s King introduced the Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy and its four development pillars at an international conference. In 2005 The International Institute of Management introduced second generation GNH (GNH 2.0), the first GNH Index and the first Global GNH Index Survey
In 2006 The Genuine Progress Indicator was updated from a green measurement system to a broader concept that included quantitative measurement of well-being and happiness.bThe new measure is motivated by the philosophy of the GNH and the same notion of that subjective measures like well-being are more relevant and important than more objective measures like consumption. It is not measured directly, but only the factors which are believed to lead to it.The International Institute of Management also published a policy white paper calling for the implementation of GNH philosophy in the US and inviting scholars to build upon the GNH Index framework.

In 2007 Thailand released Green and Happiness Index (GHI) and the. Illien Foundation for Children, Inc. launches an initiative to find “new economic models and means to reduce poverty, empower youth, and promote sustainable solutions to human happiness.”
In 2009 In the United States, the Gallup Began the happiness survey collecting data on national scale. The Gallup Well-Being Index was modeled after the GNH Index framework of 2005. The Well-Being Index score is an average of six sub-indexes that measures life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. In October 2009, the USA scored 66.1/100.
In 2010 The Center for Bhutan Studies further defined the original four pillars with greater specificity into eight general contributors to happiness—physical, mental and spiritual health; time-balance; social and community vitality; cultural vitality; education; living standards; good governance; and ecological vitality. The Bhutan GNH Index.
The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative OPHI at the University of Oxford in UK, launched the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP). Similar to the GNH Index of 2005, OPHI promotes collection and analysis of data on five dimensions including Quality of work, Empowerment, Physical safety, Ability to go about without shame, Psychological wellbeing.
In 2011 UN General Assembly Resolution 65/309, titled “Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development” was adopted
The United Nations released the World Happiness Report
Canadian Index of Wellbeing Network (CIW Network) releases The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW). A leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, also published an article suggesting that western GDP economics is an incomplete development model and called for the adoption of Bhutan’s GNH philosophy and Jones’ GNH Index in Israel.
In 2012 a report prepared for the US Congressman Hansen Clarke, R, Researchers Ben, Beachy and Juston Zorn, at John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University, recommended that “the Congress should prescribe the broad parameters of new, carefully designed supplemental national indicators; it should launch a bipartisan commission of experts to address unresolved methodological issues, and include alternative indicators.” They proposed that the government can use the survey results to see which well-being dimensions are least satisfied and which districts and demographic groups are most deficient, so as to allocate resources accordingly. The report list the Gross National Happiness Index and its seven measurement area as one of the main frameworks to consider.
Professor Peter T. Coleman, a world-renowned director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, suggested that Jones’ GNH Index initiative could inform the Global Peace Index Initiative GPI.
South Korea launched Happiness Index citing the GNH Index framework.
The Government of Goa, India published a strategy for socioeconomic development citing the GNH Index as a model for measuring happiness.
The city of Seattle in Washington, launched its own happiness index initiative, emphasizing measures similar to the GNH Index.
UN Adviser and CEO of Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation Jayme Illien brings the idea of creating the International Day of Happiness to the United Nations, drafts UN Resolution 66/281: International Day of Happiness, campaigns for its adoption by consensus of all 193 UN Member States, and gains support of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In 2014 In Vietnam, the prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered by decree to organize the International Day of Happiness every year across the country.,the official website of the International Day of Happiness, managed in partnership with the United Nations and through the charitable contribution of UN Adviser Jaymen Illien, who founded the International Day of Happiness and Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation, has served as a hub and central hosting platform for the International Day of Happiness resolutions since it was founded in 2012. The mission of is to promote happiness as a fundamental human right and goal through preserving the values and principles of the UN happiness resolutions, including happiness as a human right and goal, “Gross Global Happiness,” and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. manages a year-round continuous campaign into perpetuity with the sole purpose of serving the public good through promoting Article 2 of UN Resolution 66/281: International Day of Happiness, which invites all Member States, international and regional organizations of the United Nations system, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities. supports the leadership of other charitable organizations, social media campaigns, NGOs, governments, individuals, partnerships and other programs to implement the appropriate observance of the International Day of Happiness.

Each year since the day’s inception the charity Action for Happiness has coordinated an international campaign to coincide with day, bringing together a coalition of over 60 organisationsbto promote positive social action to help create a happier and more caring world. In 2015 their campaign, titled ‘YOUR HAPPINESS IS PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER’, focuses on the importance of human connection in the context of the epidemic of loneliness and isolation in modern societies. Beyond running one of many Day of Happiness websites, they have organised happiness flash-mobs in 12 cities across the world and promoted the sharing of positive messages on social media on the hashtag #internationaldayofhappiness. offered two free workbooks to all visitors: last year’s International Day of Happiness workbook, “One Day of Fluent Happiness” and this year’s workbook, “Happiness in the Workplace Every Day,” acknowledging that unhappy workers cost companies more than $350 Billion a year in lost productivity and seeking solutions to counter that.

Happiness 1st Institute vows to celebrate International Happiness Day by providing free seminars with tips and tools to increase happiness and awareness of the benefits of happiness each year. Happiness 1st Institute and the International Society of Happiness Professionals challenge other happiness professionals to provide free happiness increasing and awareness information on International Happiness Day in the spirit of greater happiness for all the worlds people.

Happy Newcomer Inc. in association with The Bolivian Center for Research in Positive Psychology also organized a campaign for the International Day of happiness by developing a web portal where people can share events and activities planned for this day.
Happiness International is encouraging people to make a “Happiness Day Resolution” by choosing one action supporting their happiness to continue developing over the coming year. To help people select the best action to match their needs for happiness, they are offering free access to their science-based online Happiness Planner™.


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