• Event Brief
  • Social Interactions, Identity & Well Being

Evidence to action: inspiring ideas for happier communities

by CIFAR Feb 11 / 16

CIFAR researchers and community leaders came together to discuss the latest research in happiness, and how it can be used to build happier communities. It was the second in CIFAR’s Changemaker series of ideas exchanges, held April 21 at the Museum of Vancouver in Vancouver, B.C., in conjunction with the exhibition Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show. The symposium was in partnership with the Museum of Vancouver, the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, and BC Partners for Social Impact.

Social innovator and author Al Etmanski served as moderator for three speakers; Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark; Grant Schellenberg, a CIFAR associate fellow; and John Helliwell, a CIFAR senior fellow.


Happiness is gaining currency as a subject for academic study. The first World Happiness Report was released in 2013 and was hailed as a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. It demonstrated that well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation’s economic and social development, and should be a key aim of policy.

By the time the second report was issued in 2015, interested researchers and readers could keep up with developments in the eld via the Journal of Happiness Studies; scholars in diverse fields such as economics, psychology and sociology were publishing papers about happiness; and progressive jurisdictions were factoring happiness into their measures of population well-being. (Vancouver, with its Healthy Cities Strategy, is one example.)

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