To delegates of the International Conference on Health and Wellbeing,

I feel honored to be invited by Dr. Amina Obaid Khawaja to keynote at the International Conference on Health and Wellbeing. I want to congratulate the organizers and the Lahore College for Women University for putting together an international event centering on such an important theme! Even though I am not able to attend due to a variety of factors, I do want to pass on the following message to the conference attendees.

Wellbeing is central to both individual and national development. Is life worth living without an acceptable level of wellbeing? Can a nation survive if it cannot provide the basic conditions for the wellbeing of its citizens?

There may be different psychological models and pathways toward the attainment of wellbeing, depending on different countries and cultures, but there is enough scientific research that allows us to identify essential elements of both the subjective nature and the objective conditions of wellbeing.

In the West, people tend to emphasize hedonic happiness; in the East, the emphasis is on inner peace and relational harmony. Whatever one’s cultural background, wellbeing includes such essential elements as life satisfaction, contentment, gratitude, meaning, purpose, hope, faith, and love. These elements elevate us to live at the spiritual level and make us fully functioning human beings.

We also know that the objective conditions that contribute to wellbeing include education, living conditions, and a democratic political-economic situation. These conditions need to ensure personal freedom, self-determination, justice, equal rights, education, and opportunities for all to develop their potentials in order to serve the common good.

The road to a high level of wellbeing is not an easy one in a hostile environment of discrimination, oppression, and aggression. It can be a long and difficult journey that demands both individual and collective efforts. It will take discipline and perseverance to co-create a safer and better world for us and our children. May this conference inspire a generation of researchers in the pursuit of wellbeing for both the self and society.

Lahore College for Women University