Perspectives: Using Positive Psychology and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to Build a Better World



sustainable happiness, wellbeing, sustainable development goals, climate change, positive psychology, Middle East/North Africa


Abstract: How the COVID-19 pandemic will affect society long-term remains to be seen, but the role taken by wellbeing researchers and practitioners can shape our communal future. Never has wellbeing and the field of psychology been better equipped, nor more relevant, in addressing issues of sustainable development known to significantly contribute to and underlie wellbeing. While efforts have been made across many areas, with each converging into the need for a more systemic view evidenced by theoretical developments in the field of positive psychology, wellbeing cannot remain the purview of individuals alone. Positive psychology interventions can be expanded to include attention to social and ecological issues as well. To support our claim, we explore issues that researchers and practitioners are tackling globally and consider how the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can guide that work. We also look at which of the SDGs are most critical in the Middle East region. Researchers and practitioners must align their activities towards the resolution of broad systemic issues bearing on wellbeing identified by the SDG agenda and in this manner, effectively contribute to the creation of a better world.

Author Biographies

Dr. Meg Warren, Western Washington University

Meg Warren, Ph.D. | She/Her/Hers
Assistant Professor of Management | College of Business and Economics
Western Washington University
Parks Hall 23, 516 High Street, Bellingham WA 98225 | (360) 650-6320

Editor, International Journal of Wellbeing

Dr. Gaël Brulé, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Gaël Brulé is a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, with interests in sustainability and micro-travel. For more, see his website:

Dr. Catherine O’Brien, Cape Breton University, Canada

Dr. Catherine O’Brien is Senior Scholar at Cape Breton University, Canada, where she developed the novel concept of sustainable happiness (; Email:

Aziz Mulay-Shah, Global Communications Agency

Aziz Mulay-Shah is Managing Director of Global Communications Agency, Dubai, UAE, and specializes in sustainability and social impact investing ( Email:

Dr. Holli-Anne Passmore, Concordia University of Edmonton, Canada

Dr. Holli-Anne Passmore is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Nature-Meaning in Life Lab at Concordia University of Edmonton (Canada) Email:

Dr. John Zelenski, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Dr. John Zelenski is Professor of Psychology at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) (; Email:

Mohammad Asfour, World Green Building Council (Middle East)

Mohammad Asfour is based in Jordan and Head of the MENA & Africa Regional Networks, World Green Building Council (Middle East) (; Email:




How to Cite

Lambert, L., Warren, M., Brulé, G., O’Brien, C., Murray, S., Mulay-Shah, A., Passmore, H.-A. ., Zelenski, J., Asfour, M. ., & Alsubaiei, S. (2020). Perspectives: Using Positive Psychology and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to Build a Better World. Middle East Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 1–28. Retrieved from

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