What’s happening in the region when it comes to positive psychology?
We’re glad you asked! As you know, it’s a new area of interest in the region and while it was slow to catch on, there is no denying that the movement has started and is spreading throughout the region. While there are new developments every single day, which we’ll try and regularly capture on this website, here are a few things we can tell you.
Publications and Information
There is a peer-reviewed academic journal in positive psychology that is specific to the region. It is always accepting research articles of work done by researchers and/or student researchers in the region. It is also open to publishing regional conference proceedings specific to positive psychology. Sign up as a reader to be informed of new developments and issues. It is free and entirely open-access: https://middleeastjournalofpositivepsychology.org/index.php/mejpp/index
There is one newly published book on positive psychology specific to the region and we’re hopeful more will follow. It is available for purchase here and is useful for policy makers, researchers, as well as educators who will be teaching in positive psychology. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-13921-6
There is a weekly dedicated positive psychology newspaper column in the Al-Ittihad newspaper written by Dr. Sherif Arafa. In it, you will find the science of wellbeing translated into understandable and actionable ideas and strategies. Taken from the research literature, this column provides a way for science to be relevant and applicable to the lives of people in the region. See more at https://www.alittihad.ae/
While there are two research labs specific to positive psychology, one in Saudi Arabia, the other in the United Arab Emirates, there is much research being undertaken by researchers independently of such labs. See our “Who is doing what” section to know more.
The Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Research Lab (PPWRL) is dedicated to exploring the practical uses of positive psychology in fostering individual wellbeing. Situated in Effat University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the lab is committed to conducting research that investigates the practical implications of positive psychology theories in improving the wellbeing of Saudis. It also aims to validate assessments and ensure they are appropriate to use nationally, as well as create valid and reliable assessments. The lab arranges workshops, events and lectures to educate the public on the benefits of inculcating positive psychology in everyday life and provides professional and personal development workshops, training, certificates and diplomas.
The Emirates Center for Happiness Research is housed in the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain (UAE). It aims to produce research in the field of wellbeing and happiness, monitor and assess the nation’s happiness indices, as well as develop capacity-building and professional consultancy programs.
Every year, the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA) hosts a psychology conference in countries around the region. From now on, as part of the Division’s activities, there will be a dedicated stream to positive psychology. Next year’s edition will take place in March 2020 in Kuwait City – stay tuned for exact dates and the location, as well as the call for abstracts and line-up of presenters. You won’t want to miss it and we expect to see you there!
Who is doing what in the region?
We will be featuring interviews with active researchers and practitioners from time to time; but, for now, take a look at who is doing what in the region here: https://middleeastjournalofpositivepsychology.org/index.php/mejpp/article/view/76
Also see a previous issue of the Middle East Journal of Positive Psychology which featured interviews with a number of regional practitioners and researchers in positive psychology: https://middleeastjournalofpositivepsychology.org/index.php/mejpp/issue/view/10