International Happiness Day – March 20, 2014

The Day of Happiness campaign is a global celebration to mark the UN International Day of Happiness.

In July 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a groundbreaking resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes… happiness and well-being of all peoples”.

In April 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place in New York and in July 2012 the UN General Assembly adopted a further resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness was to be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013. (source

Cape Breton University was the first post-secondary institution to offer a course in sustainable happiness. The course was introduced in 2009 and is currently available both on campus as well as through distance education. The Sustainable Happiness course is currently designed as an elective for education students and communication students. However, the concept of sustainable happiness can be adapted to every discipline.

Catherine O’Brien, Associate Professor, Education developed the concept of sustainable happiness with the aim of stimulating discussions regarding the relationship between happiness, wellbeing and sustainability. “I’m convinced that there is tremendous potential for happiness studies to contribute to a more sustainable world,” says Catherine. “We have the inspiring ability to leave a wake of sustainable happiness throughout our lives by being accountable for the choices we make and policies we support.”

Catherine was an invited participant at the High Level Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing at the UN in 2012 and has also been invited to attend the next High Level Meeting on Gross National Happiness in Bhutan in 2015.

To read more about Catherine’s work please visit:

How are you celebrating International Happiness Day?