Foreword

  • John F. Helliwell Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia
  • Richard Layard Wellbeing Programme, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University
  • Jan-Emmanuel De Neve Director, Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Oxford
  • Lara B. Aknin Distinguished Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Shun Wang Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management
  • Sharon Paculor Production Editor and Manager of Special Projects for the Director at the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University
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This is the tenth anniversary of the World Happiness Report. We use this Foreword to thank those that make the Report possible over the past ten years, including our teams of editors and partners.

The World Happiness Report, and much of the growing international interest in happiness, as documented in Chapter 3, exists thanks to Bhutan. They sponsored Resolution 65/309, "Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development," adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 July 2011, inviting national governments to "give more importance to happiness and well-being in determining how to achieve and measure social and economic development."

On 2 April 2012, chaired by Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley and Jeffrey D. Sachs, the first World Happiness Report was presented to review evidence from the emerging science of happiness for the 'Defining a New Economic Paradigm: The Report of the High-Level Meeting on Well-being and Happiness.' On 28 June 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/281, proclaiming 20 March International Day of Happiness to be observed annually. The World Happiness Report is now released every year around March 20th as part of the International Day of Happiness celebration.

The preparation of the first World Happiness Report was based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, with the Centre for Economic Performance's research support at LSE (the London School of Economics), and CIFAR (the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), through their grants supporting research at the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC (the University of British Columbia). The central base for the reports since 2013 has been SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) and CSD (the Center for Sustainable Development) at Columbia University, directed by Jeffrey D. Sachs. Although the editors and authors are volunteers, there are administrative, and research support costs covered most recently through a series of grants from The Ernesto Illy Foundation, illycaffè, Davines Group, Unilever's largest ice cream brand Wall's, The Blue Chip Foundation, The William, Jeff, and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, The Happier Way Foundation, and The Regenerative Society Foundation.

Although the World Happiness Reports are based on a wide variety of data, the most important source has always been the Gallup World Poll, unique in its range and comparability of global annual surveys.

Life evaluations from the Gallup World Poll provide the basis for the annual happiness rankings that have always sparked widespread interest. Readers may be drawn in by wanting to know how their nation is faring but soon become curious about the secrets of life in the happiest countries. The Gallup team has always been extraordinarily helpful and efficient in getting each year's data available in time for our annual launch. Right from the outset, we received very favorable terms from Gallup and the very best of treatment. Gallup researchers have also contributed to the content of several World Happiness Reports. The value of this partnership was recognized by two Betterment of the Human Conditions Awards from the International Society for Quality of Life Studies. The first was in 2014 for the World Happiness Report, the second, in 2017, went to the Gallup Organization for the Gallup World Poll. The value of this partnership was recognized by two Betterment of the Human Conditions Awards from the International Society for Quality of Life Studies.

Gallup has since become our data partner in recognition of the Gallup World Poll's importance to the contents and reach of the World Happiness Report. In this more formal way, we are proud to embody a history of cooperation stretching back beyond the first World Happiness Report to the start of the Gallup World Poll itself. They have always gone the extra mile, and we thank them for it.

We were also grateful for the World Risk Poll data provided by the Lloyd's Register Foundation providing access to the World Risk Poll. We also greatly appreciate data from the ICL-YouGov Behaviour Tracker as part of the COVID Data Hub from the Institute of Global Health Innovation.

We have had a remarkable range of expert contributing authors and expert reviewers over the years and are deeply grateful for their willingness to share their knowledge with our readers. Their expertise assures the quality of the reports, and their generosity is what makes it possible. Thank you.

Our editorial team has evolved over the years. Currently, it includes the three founding editors plus Jan-Emmanual De Neve, Lara B. Aknin, and Shun Wang. Sharon Paculor manages operations and leads the design and distribution efforts as Production Editor. Ryan Swaney has been our web developer since 2013, and Stislow Design has done our graphic design work over the same period. Kyu Lee handles media management with great skill, and we are very grateful for all he does to make the reports widely accessible.

Our institutional sponsors include SDSN, CSD at Columbia University, the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC, the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford, and Simon Fraser University.

Whether in terms of research, data, or grants, we are enormously grateful for all of these contributions.

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