Last year the United Nations General Assembly designated 20 March as the International Happiness Day in the belief that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal. The Centre for Fine Arts has chosen to mark this event with a debate about this universal concept, in partnership with the United Nations. And what if, instead of using a country’s GDP, you could measure its wealth in a different way? What if a state invested the same energy in its citizens’ happiness as in its prosperity? That, in any event, is the reasoning of the United Nations General Assembly, which drew inspiration from the tiny Himalayan Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. In Bhutan the Gross National Happiness Index has replaced Gross Domestic Product as a statistical indicator. Consequently the United Nations passed a resolution appointing 20 March as International Happiness Day.
Like other institutions all over the world the Centre for Fine Arts has decided to take part in this event for several reasons. On the one hand the pursuit of happiness has been a mainstay in our society since the Greek philosophers, holding a central position in culture and the arts. On the other hand the economic and social crisis which is affecting Europe and its citizens has once again sharply highlighted the issue of material welfare and the vision for the future of our continent. Couldn’t we then, in the margin of the 2013 European Year of Citizenship, find other ways - whether spiritual, relational or individual - to create new forms of happiness which prosperity cannot always bring or in some cases may even conceal? Several key questions in other words, which will be addressed after a film, during a debate in the framework of this first International Happiness Day (20 .03).

With Koen VanMechelen (contemporary artist), Leo Bormans (Writer & author of "The World Book of Happiness") , Peter Van Rompuy (politician), Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (lecturer in Political Economy & Behavioural Science) and the Ambassador of Bhutan
Introduction by Afsané Bassir-Pour, Director United Nations Regional Information Centre

19h30: Screening « 7 Milliards d’autres » by Yann Arthus Bertrand (30’)
20h00: Debat (1h30’)