Last week UAE wowed the world with the outcome of the long publicized reshuffle in the countries administration. In the current cabinet of 29 ministers, 8 of them are women including Ohoud Al-Roumi, as the minister of state for “Happiness” and Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, as the minister of state for “tolerance”.
While the responsibility of the minister of happiness is to “align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction”, the minister for tolerance is expected to promote the virtue “as a fundamental value in UAE society”. The Prime Minister also announced the affiliation in ministries, contracting excessive functions to semi-public administrative bodies in the private sector
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Prime Minister and Vice-President of UAE took to the social media to announce the stunning changes in his cabinet. It is an instant puzzle as to the choice of using “virtuous” names for government ministries. Could that be a reflection of the traits they are in dire need of?
In 2015, the UAE was ranked 20th country in the World Happiness Report. Speculations have it that the 7-state federation has an ambition to up their game and acquire a higher spot. Well, speaking from the boost in tourism, one can say the UAE is not doing badly in charming the hearts of people from all over the world- it is popularly known as the eye-dazzler of the Arab nations. Now it seems they want to be happy with the world from inside-out; you know what they say, charity begins at home and you can’t give what you don’t have.
The UAE is a 7-state federation, perhaps why there is a stress laid on the value of unity and happiness, coupled with the fact that as an Islamic country, some rights of the people appear infringed. In other words, the idea of setting ministries for happiness and tolerance might give a mixed taste in the mouth of the people, but in any case, here are the women in charge of these virtuous ministries:
Office: Minister Of Happiness
Still serving as the Director-General, Office of the Prime Minister, United Arab Emirates, Al-Roumi was on Wednesday appointed UAE’s minister for happiness. Last year she made the record as the first Arab member of the Global Entrepreneurship Council to be selected by United Nations Foundation. According to UAE’s Prime minister, “Plans, projects, programmes, indices will inform the work of our ministries to achieve happiness”.
This adds a whole lot of reason owing to the fact the happiness of a nation hugely depends on the relevance and effectiveness of public policies as well as the rate of human development. It will take bringing and keeping the government close to the people to foster true/relative happiness in a nation; aside that, the idea will just be a dreamy wishful thinking or perhaps an empty strategic propaganda to be in the world’s good record.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi
Office: Minister Of Tolerance
Sheikha Lubna Al-Qassimi is a high-profile personality in UAE and probably the most influential woman in the Arab world – born into a royal/prominent background, bachelor of Arts/Science, California State Chico; EMBA, American University of Sharja and the current Minister of International Cooperation and Development; and the first woman ever to serve in UAE’s cabinet. Sheikha is familiar with strategies for diversifying UAE’s economy and according to Forbes, she has led the UAE to unprecedented philanthropy.
“The UAE, a country with a GDP of $402 billion, committed last year to give $12 million for Syrian children and refugees. Qasimi has also contributed to charities in her own time, volunteering with Friends of Cancer Patients Society and serving on the Board of Directors for the Dubai Autism Center.”-Forbes
With that, we can say that Sheikha is right for the job of “tolerance”.
In all, it is worthy to note that the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda “strives to preserve a cohesive society proud of its identity and sense of belonging”. In line with that, the country in 2015 granted quatre of its population the right to vote. Now the appointment of these reputable women as Ministers Of “Happiness” And “Tolerance” among 6 others in UAE hopefully points to the gradual acceptance of democracy.
As part of the spice-ups in the cabinet, the formerly known Ministry of Labor has been renamed Ministry of Emiratisation while the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs has metamorphosed into the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future.