Conference Theme
5 Sub-Themes

1. Happiness in Global Perspectives: Why we Need a New Paradigm
This sub-theme discusses the problems of the conventional approach: what are the shortcomings of the conventional approach and the existing measurement of GDP, and whether there should be a new paradigm. How will this new paradigm contribute to sustainable development, measure progress and guide our societies? What is the value come out of it?

2. Conceptualization of Happiness and Indicators
The scope of this sub-theme is as follows:
  • To conceptualize and discuss happiness development approaches and how to operationalize them.
  • To discuss the development of happiness or the well-being indicators at the national and international levels: from the Human Development Index to Ecological Efficiency Index. What should be included in the indexes of social progress? What are the next steps? What are the meaningful factors or significant implications to be included?
3. Local Interpretation on National Happiness
This sub-theme compares the international models of happiness from various countries. What are the strengths of nations leading to people’s happiness? Discuss the successful factors of development of the Scandinavian, European, Asian countries, among others, highlighting human development, social institutes, ecological efficiency, infrastructure development, etc. Discuss local development concepts/models leading to people happiness such as Thailand’s sufficiency economy, Bhutan’s gross national happiness, China’s harmony society, etc.

4. Happiness and Socio-Economic Policy
This sub-theme deals with a wide-range of studies on happiness and public policy: what are the conditions for happiness and how to design public policies (i.e., family, health, education, work) leading to the increase in individual and social happiness. The focus will be on social happiness affected by public policies. What are some of the significant factors of happiness being affected and how can policies effectively address these factors? What are policy priorities that the governments have to be concern with?

5. Technology and Happiness
We live in a technology-driven age. Increasingly, technology research laboratories around the world are seeking to understand how technology contributes to “information overload” and other forms of stress.  At the same time,  these same labs are formulating new technologies that aim to calm users,  delight them and empower them.  A panel co-organised by National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC), Centre for ethics of Science and Technology, Chulalongkorn University, and the Human Interface Technology Laboratory, University of Washington will bring together international researchers and policy makers who will explain new streams of research within corporate and academic labs, and technology policy for “Happiness technological innovation”.  These studies show how new technologies can foster “user empowerment” – a concept closely aligned with happiness.  Can “happy technologies” find a place in the market forces that shape technology deployment? Can happiness be a design principle? Can happiness be generated through user-generated content – a process commonly referred to as “Web 2.0.”?  Can government officials use “carrots and sticks” of public policy to encourage technologies that foster happiness and discourage those that do not? What public/private partnerships could be envisioned to generate happiness-inducing technologies in such fields as multimedia (including gaming), health care, and education?

Recently cognitive sciences, particularly neuroscience,  have generated objective information about how happiness is expressed through measurable changes in the human brain. 

  • How is happiness approached as a subject within neuroscience:  past, current and future perspectives?
  • How can neuroscientific studies of happiness be used as a basis for measurement or as a factor that could be integrated into the design of systems for health care, education, etc.
  • How can neuroscientific data on happiness combine with other measures of happiness in the formulation and execution of public policy?