You might not have been aware but Colombia is exporting happiness, and not in the form of drugs, coffee or flowers, but actual smile-on-your-face happiness.
The founder Mario Chamorro of the Make it Happy Foundation, a social experiment “to spread happiness,” has begun an initiative that seeks to bring Colombia to the fore as an “exporter of happiness.”
“Happiness can change everything – companies, governments and especially people. Happiness is contagious and we will take our mission all over the world,” states the foundation’s mission on its website.
Chamorro started the “Happy Post Project” by asking the question “what makes you happy?” where people gave their answers by drawing or writing on a post-it note.
The project started small but ended up as part of an art installation in New York’s Times Square, spread through the streets of Boston and eventually the little happiness post-its reached all the way to Tokyo.
The happiness patron said that he found “one, happiness is contagious; two, happiness empowers people; and three, happiness creates social change,” in an interview with ABC news.
In August Chamorro received recognition for his project from Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, who called him a “gifted son of Pasto,” referring to his western Colombian hometown.
“Happy people can change the world, let’s see how we can make people happier. That is a very basic but very profound idea,” said the Colombian president in his speech.
Chamorro was invited to Colombia in August to bring the Happy Post Project to communities which Santos described as “most affected by the violence” between FARC guerrillas and government forces.
The response was tremendous and inspired by all the Happy Posts, the mayor of Cali even signed a Happiness Pact, officially committing the city to taking care of its citizens’ happiness.
Chamorro is expanding his project, planting the seeds for a social movement to spread happiness. The ambassador for joy is setting up a “happiness lab” to study and experiment with the warm and fuzzy feeling, and he is planning to promote himself as a happiness consultant for governments and companies around the world.
“If our project (for peace) works in Colombia we can easily replicate that in countries such as Uganda, Palestine or Afghanistan,” the happiness man told ABC.