Happiness Seminar

denmarkLien Centre for Social Innovation and Royal Danish Embassy organised a seminar titled “Happiness” on 1 June 2016 the Singapore Management University. The discussion centered on ways to achieve quality of life and whether Happiness can be a measure of progress for society.

Mr Meik Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute, and I presented on two topics, “The Happy Danes – A Perspective on Well-Being” and “What is Life for – Human Flourishing in Singapore” respectively.

For my presentation, I spoke about the conceptual differences between Flourishing, Well-being and Happiness, and contrasted the well-being of Denmark and Singapore. Singapore ranks 22nd of 156 countries in the World Happiness Report while Denmark ranks first. On the other hand, Singapore scores highly on PISA.

In Mr Wiking’s presentation, he gave eight reasons why the Danes are the happiest:

  •  Social security: Universal and free healthcare, services for the elderly and generous unemployment benefits
  • Personal freedom to make choices: Gender and marriage quality and free university education
  • Trust in society and institutions: Higher trust leads to higher happiness
  • Democracy and good governance: Low levels of corruption and broad public support for high taxation
  • Work-life balance: Adequate parental leave and holidays
  • Work: 94% of the Danes are satisfied with working conditions and 70% would continue to enjoy their current work even if they became economically independent
  • High wealth: Higher GDP per capita increases happiness
  • Civil society: Abundance of associations, high level of volunteer work and social capital. Most Danes are satisfied with their social relationships.

The seminar was reported by ScandAsia.com.

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