Written by : Sandra Bilbray

University of Miami to Host World Happiness Summit

Campus that creates ‘culture of belonging’ draws thousands for event.

Visit Miami for World Happiness Summit

Campus that creates ‘culture of belonging’ draws thousands for event.

If you’d love to reduce stress, increase your productivity, maximize your potential and learn the tools for a happier life, the World Happiness Summit (WOHASU) at the University of Miami (UM) March 16–18 is the event for you. Marking the second year of this global summit, happiness and well-being experts will unite in a three-day experiential forum to advance human happiness through science-based tools and daily practices.

Expert speakers include U.N. advisers, business and civic leaders, and positive psychology researchers, professors and coaches. Featured speaker Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., created two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership. Explore the full list of speakers.

Creating a Culture of Belonging

According to UM professor and Vice Provost for Institutional Culture Isaac Prilleltensky, Ph.D., the university is a natural fit for the summit. “It is very important to us to create a culture of belonging where everyone feels valued and has the opportunity to add value—to themselves and others,” he says.

“We are always looking for opportunity to learn about well-being and create a culture where everyone matters,” Isaac says. “It is not enough to make a declaration of intent; we have to pursue the skills and training that are aligned with our purpose at the University of Miami. We transform lives through education, research and service. Bringing a happiness forum to the campus helps transform lives.”

UM interviewed 7,000 students as part of its cultural transformation project to define values and behaviors to promote inclusivity and belonging. “Now we have an Office of Institutional Culture that I lead,” Isaac says. “We have intergroup dialogue classes—where students learn how to communicate with each other in respectful ways. The university also measures how well its culture is doing—both with Gallup’s workplace tools and its own culture of well-being index.”

These strategic initiatives “catapulted the University of Miami,” Isaac says. “We showed up as one of the best places to work in Forbes, best in our industry.” The university is now in talks to create an institute to focus on and promote meaning, well-being and quality of life.

Another piece to the natural fit for the summit is that CEO Karen Guggenheim is a UM graduate, and her son attends the university as well, says Isaac, a speaker and contributor to the academic portion of the summit.

Walking the Walk

Isaac—whose The Laughing Guide series of books, including The Laughing Guide to Well-Being, combine science and humor to help people live healthier and happier lives—is planning to give out dozens of free passes for students to attend the summit. As part of the partnership, UM has made its app funforwellness.com, an online intervention tool using humor and science to improve quality of life, available to the public.

Each day of the summit begins with yoga and meditation, and each night concludes with live music and dancing. The summit includes workshops, group work, meditation, films, yoga classes and music programming.

For more information, visit the summit website. For a 20 percent discount on passes, enter code LIVEHAPPY2018.

Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock


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