350 B.C., Aristotle Quote
350 B.C. “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle
July 4th, 1776 US Adopts Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776 The United States of America’s founding fathers adopt the Declaration of Independence, marking an historic turning point in humanity’s ultimate quest for happiness. Happiness gains its first legal, constitutional and international legitimacy when the Declaration of Independence recognized and defined certain “endowed” and “unalienable” rights including the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
August 26, 1789 France Adopts Declaration
August 26, 1789 The National Assembly of France adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which emphasizes happiness as a fundamental human right and universal goal. “…the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man… [and] of the citizens, based hereafter upon simple and incontestable principles, shall tend to the maintenance of the constitution and redound to the happiness of all.”
1930’s GDP Invented
1930’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures human progress by income only, is invented in response to the economic depression, before we knew about issues like climate change or the importance of counting social progress in measuring a country’s overall wealth and prosperity.
1982 Illien Global is Founded
1982 The Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation is founded to work toward its mission, “Happiness for All™,” by moving happiness to the top of the international policy agenda.
2006 NEF Launches Happy Planet Index
2006 The New Economics Foundation launches the Happy Planet Index, one of the first efforts to compliment GDP by factoring societal and environmental health into measuring prosperity.
2006 Illien Foundation Founded
2006 The Illien Foundation for Children is founded to create new economic models and means to partner with organizations developing healthcare, education, and natural resources to empower orphaned and abandoned children, promote economic prosperity, and advance sustainable development initiatives worldwide.
2008 Global Financial Crisis
2008 The 2008 Global Financial Crisis, from which most countries are still recovering, raises further questions for the epistemic community about measuring only income as a metric for human progress.
February 2008 Sarkozy Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission
February 2008 French President Nicolas Sarkozy elevates happiness as a metric of human progress by commissioning world-renowned economists Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi “to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, including the problems with its measurement; to consider what additional information might be required for the production of more relevant indicators of social progress; to assess the feasibility of alternative measurement tools, and to discuss how to present the statistical information in an appropriate way.”
2010 UK Prime Minister David Cameron Launches Happiness Index
2010 United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron launches the UK’s first effort to measure happiness and wellbeing of its citizens. As UK-based newspaper The Guardian points out in the 2010 article, “Happiness Index to gauge Britain’s national mood,” “The UK government is poised to start measuring people’s psychological and environmental wellbeing, bidding to be among the first countries to officially monitor happiness.”
2011 OECD Launches Better Life Index
2011 In 2011, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched the “Better Life Index.” “The Better Life Index is designed to let you visualise and compare some of the key factors – like education, housing, environment, and so on – that contribute to well-being in OECD countries. It’s an interactive tool that allows you to see how countries perform according to the importance you give to each of 11 topics that make for a better life.”
July 19, 2011 Bhutan Campaign for UN Resolution 65/309
July 19, 2011 The Kingdom of Bhutan, which has been measuring “Gross National Happiness” since 1970, officially elevates happiness as a fundamental human right and goal. Then-Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley of Bhutan and Ambassador of Bhutan to the United Nations Lhatu Wangchuk led an initiative to draft and successfully campaign for the adoption of UN Resolution 65/309, Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development.
2011 Illien Group 1.5MM initiative for UN Resolution 66/281
2011 Illien Group Inc., the social impact investment pillar of the Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation, launches a $1.5MM initiative to advance happiness as a human right and universal goal to the top of the international policy agenda by drafting UN Resolution 66/281 and campaigning to gain the support of all 193 Member States, as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to create the International Day of Happiness.
April 1, 2012 – First World Happiness Report Released
April 1, 2012 The first ever World Happiness Report, edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs is released.
April 2, 2012 UN High-Level Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing
April 2, 2012 The United Nations holds its first ever High-Level Meeting on Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm, thanks to the Bhutan-led initiative to adopt UN Resolution 65/309. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered one of the most resounding messages, directly equating global happiness with the global goals of sustainable development: “We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the three pillars of sustainable development. Economic, social, and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”
April 2, 2012 Prince Charles Addresses Happiness as Prosperity Metric
April 2, 2012 His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, addresses the United Nations to support incorporating happiness and wellbeing in measuring human prosperity. “It’s hugely encouraging that such an eminent group has come together to discuss the need for a new economic paradigm, happiness and well-being and its core.” – His Royal Highness Prince Charles
April 2012 UN SG Endorses IDoH
April 2012 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Illien Group and endorses the International Day of Happiness. “I am so inspired that you came here today to ask for an international day of happiness. You have my support.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
June 28, 2012 UN Resolution 66/281 ADOPTED!
June 28, 2012 UN Resolution 66/281: International Day of Happiness is adopted by all 193 UN Member States, making March 20th the International Day of Happiness, forever!
March 20, 2013 1st IDoH
March 20, 2013 The first ever International Day of Happiness celebration commences with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s official statement: “On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”
September 9, 2013 Second World Happiness Report Released
September 9, 2013 The second World Happiness Report, edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs is released.
March 20, 2014 2nd IDoH
March 20, 2014 The second International Day of Happiness celebration is led by Pharrell Williams and the United Nations Foundation, who partnered to launch a 24-hour music video campaign surrounding Pharrell’s hit record, “Happy,” inspiring youth in countries as far as Yemen and Iran to participate.
March 20, 2015 3rd IDoH
March 20, 2015 The third International Day of Happiness celebration is led again by Pharrell Williams, who addressed the youth from the UN General Assembly with an important message: “Happiness is your birthright.” Perhaps the most historic moment of the 2015 Happiness Day celebration was when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations.” The Secretary-General’s comments could not have been more timely, coming just six months before UN adopts the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
April 23, 2015 Third World Happiness Report Released
April 23, 2015 The third World Happiness Report, edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs is released.
September 25, 2015 UN Adopts Global Goals
September 25, 2015 The United Nations fully commits to advancing happiness as a fundamental human right and universal goal when the largest-ever gathering of global leaders meets at the 70th anniversary of the UN General Assembly to adopt the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, thus paving the next fifteen years of the path to happiness for all.
March 20, 2016 4th IDoH
March 20, 2016 The fourth International Day of Happiness takes place on Sunday, March 20th, 2016. We cannot wait to celebrate what will surely be the most successful Happiness Day to date! Stay tuned for more information regarding the official United Nations’ celebration…