The inaugural World Happiness Summit (WoHaSu) is on its way to Miami, March 17–19, just in time to celebrate the International Day of Happiness. Miami, named by Forbes magazine as “the happiest city to work in the United States,” will welcome thousands to its international gathering with the promise of Latin flair and fun that will include a main summit as well as government, corporate and academic tracks. Live Happy recently had the opportunity to talk with WoHaSu founder Luis Gallardo to find out more.
Live Happy: What inspired you to create the World Happiness Summit (WoHaSu) and what is the focus of the summit?
Luis Gallardo: The inspiration came from the realization that we are living in a moment when more and more people care about the well-being of others and are focusing on being, rather than doing. Being is related to the self and living our purpose, doing is related to what we do regardless of our purpose.
This is the right time to build an event that focuses on something that is fundamental to everyone: developing, innovating and making society more sustainable and friendly—with the ultimate focus on being happy.
If you look at nutrition, preventive medicine, corporate well-being, spirituality, financial well-being, positive psychology—there are so many people in the world doing an amazing job of provoking change. We want to bring them together but with a focus: discussing how we can be happier.
It is important to understand that happiness is reached through a holistic combination of abstract elements, like mindfulness and virtue, and material elements like work, personal liberties, good governance and social bonds.
We are creating a movement dedicated to increasing awareness on happiness as a life choice; WoHaSu is a new forum focused on how to improve GNH (Gross National and Personal Happiness) instead of GNP (Gross National Product). The same way the World Economic Forum was born 45 years ago to focus on the economy and corporations, we want to start a new movement to focus on happiness and people. New lenses are needed for a world in transformation.
LH: Why do you think people today are increasingly interested in the pursuit of happiness?
LG: The science of happiness is somewhat new, but the data is very definitive. Leading experts and thought leaders in the different disciplines that compose happiness agree that being wealthier, having more or achieving a task alone doesn’t seem to be fulfilling people or making them more productive and healthier, but happiness will help individuals achieve purpose and be more successful with a stronger sense of well-being.
Richard Layard, the British economist, states it wisely: “The time is ready for radical cultural change, away from a culture of selfishness and materialism, which fails to satisfy, towards one where we care more for each other's happiness—and make that the guiding raison d'être for our lives.”'
LH: Who should consider attending and what can they expect to experience?
LG: Whether you’re an employer who understands the relationships between well-being and workforce performance, a nonprofit or international organization focused on positive outcomes in your development work, a government that wants to improve the economic health of a population, or simply an individual who wants to live better, the World Happiness Summit shines a spotlight on what matters most in people’s daily lives as a critical step toward personal fulfillment.
It is an extraordinary occasion and platform to explore best practices, policies, challenges and partnerships around increasing happiness in our families, communities, cities and around the world.
LH: Tell us more about the program for the main summit.
LG: Feel, Understand and Act is the flow of the summit. We are creating an experience that touches all five senses and features the expertise and inspiration of speakers such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Shawn Achor, Sonja Lyubomirsky and Ismael Cala.
We are also partnering with technology companies such as Plasticity Labs to expand the World Happiness Summit experience to an online year-round community and beloved brands such as Lululemon, a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company that plans to draw thousands of yoga practitioners to the event.
LH: What are your goals for the event?
LG: WoHaSu is more than a conference but the start of a global movement to increase awareness of the elements of happiness—and how to achieve them.
Our goal is to educate and activate for happiness as a life choice and practice. The summit brings together scientists, psychologists, philosophers, spiritual leaders and cultural icons in a three-day conference that’s the first of its kind.
LH: We heard a rumor that there will be yoga, Zumba and nightly dance parties with international music artists. Can you fill us in on some of the exciting details?
LG: We will hold one of the biggest yoga activations on the beaches of Miami Beach and Zumba enthusiasts from around the world will participate in a huge dance party.
Latin Grammy-award-winning composer and producer Kike Santander will curate nightly concerts that will enhance the party atmosphere. There will be time for introspection and time for expression. Happiness has to be shared and enjoyed.
LH: How can Live Happy readers learn more?
Donna Stokes is the Executive Editor of Live Happy magazine.