“Teach me Happiness”: Building new narratives at World Happiness Fest

Attendees break up into small groups for discussion | Allen Blumstein, PantherNow

Sound therapy gurus, artists, and scientists shared expertise on good living in the World Happiness Fest.

The World Happiness Fest was held at the BBC campus from March 23-25. It is a traveling event with a worldwide audience created to further the knowledge of happiness through conversation and free exchange of ideas.

This year, the World Happiness Fest went on a two-stop tour: Zaragoza, Spain between March 17-20 and then Miami, Florida from March 23-25.

Books were sold on the first floor of the wellness center while their authors delivered speeches upstairs on their respective topics.

Miami local Luis Gallardo is the founder and president of the World Happiness Festival.

Gallardo has achieved great success in his professional career, holding many titles including global chief marketing officer at the consulting company Deloitte and author of multiple books, including Happytalism.

Across disciplines, FIU professors were in attendance and took the stage to build a connection between happiness and their respective fields.

The day opens with a dance party | Allen Blumstein, PantherNOW 

Professors Sungu Armagan and Nancy Rchimond from the FIU Business school were essential in making this event a triumphant success.

Armagan, who teaches the course Happiness at Work, discussed the pursuit of contentment with PantherNOW.

“When people count their blessings, spend time ruminating over the things that they’re grateful for and express their gratitude, write down [ideas for] their best life, [and] do meditation and prayer,” they’re able to find happiness, Armagan said. 

The Happiness Fest attracted a diverse audience both in terms of geography (some attendants traveled from as far as the United Arab Emirates and Bhutan) and fields of study: religious leaders, mental health specialists, scientists, and even Harley Dubois, the chief culture officer of the Burning Man festival.

FIU Hospitality holds Make your happiness cocktail event | Allen Blumstein, PantherNOW

Psychologist and attendee Giselle Faubel opened a practice in Broward County, where she works with horses to treat patients with mental and physical disabilities, all the while maintaining a traditional private practice devoted to patients suffering from depression and anxiety.

“Horses are large animals and herbivores. They need to eat 16 hours a day. The only way they can survive is if they maintain their herd instinct,” said Faubel. “What we can learn from the horse’s herd instinct is that that’s the way to survive. To be in a group where we look out for each other.” 

In addition to every day of the event starting with a dance party, many more discussions occurred, such as one centered around humans being made of water and light. 

Custom tablecloth for Happiness Fest depicting mystical creatures | Allen Blumstein, PantherNOW

Experts also initiated a unique meditation exercise, where guests had to mentally create a creature using combined features of a squid, sea urchin, and dove. 

Each day ended with hope for a bright future with many possibilities as happiness professionals helped guests understand happiness more deeply, encouraging them to “be happiness.” 

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