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Key Competence Happiness - A New Horizontal Theme in Adult Education and Counselling
Start date: Dec 1, 2009,

Empirical happiness research has gained wide acknowledgement recently and offers a promising new access to central questions to both ethics and economics. In our project, we will investigate what this perspective can contribute to aspects in adult education, and for the skills requirements that the European workforce needs to become more flexible in order to meet the demands of economic developments and for the continuous change.“Happiness”, or “wellness”, or “quality of life” as political and social target are not new. In 1776 the American Declaration of Independence argued for “certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. . In 2002, a proposal by the working group on key competencies, set up by the European Commission in the framework of the "objectives report", added a general culture dimension on the grounds that key competencies should not only have external functions and justifications, but also enrich the individuals and contribute to the pursuit of happiness.A recent survey (Easton, 2006) found that 81% of the UK population agreed that the Government’s primary objective should be the creation of happiness not wealth. Since 2007, wellness is regarded as a regional key competence in Denmark. French president Sarkozy has asked, in January 2008, Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and Joseph Stigliz to chair a panel of experts charged with developing an index of the quality of life. Also, the 2008 EU science awards, rewarded not only research into climate change and nanobiotechnology, but also socio-economic research on how economic growth, wealth and policy decisions affect overall happiness and satisfaction with life.The main objective of the project is therefore to establish “Happiness” as a horizontal theme in adult education and to consider the persuit of happiness as a major key competence in order to adapt to changing society and the requirements of the labour market; and to strengthen adults' self-confidence and promoting their personal fulfilment. It also includes to evoke pragmatical connotations with the term “happiness” in connection within adult education and not to leave this important field to esoteric environments. The specific objects of the project areo to raise the awareness of multipliers in adult education to issues concerning wellbeing and happiness and to motivate them to introduce “happiness” into the course of their respective teaching contents, o raise the awareness of counselling institutions working with clients from socially and/or economically disadvantaged target groups that introducing “happiness” can lead to empowerment and have positive effects on their attitude towards lifelong learningo to achieve a high impact and sustainable results through a multitude of dissemination and valorisation activities, among others through a European multiplier conference.
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