First World Congress on Positive Psychology Kicks Off Today | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

First World Congress on Positive Psychology Kicks Off Today

Posted 6.18.2009


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Martin Seligman, Founder of Positive Psychology & CWRU Professor David Cooperrider, Pioneer of Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Institutions
Sponsored by the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA)
PHILADELPHIA, June 18, 2009 – The field of Positive Psychology launches a massive initiative today: The First World Congress on Positive Psychology, an international conference sponsored by the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). The inaugural international conference will run through Sunday, June 21, when Weatherhead Professor David Cooperrider will present his keynote, “Discovery and Design of Positive Institutions.”
Positive Psychology investigates the strengths and virtues that make individuals and communities thrive, and the field itself has been strengthened by pioneering work done at the Weatherhead School of Management, where the first Masters of Positive Organization Development (MPOD) was created and where one of positive psychology’s leading methodologies—Appreciative Inquiry—was co-created by Cooperrider, the Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship and Professor of Organizational Behavior.
Cooperrider—who is on the founding Board of Directors for the International Positive Psychology Association—sees a blossoming of opportunities and progress in the field. One such advance is Cooperrider’s own notion of the “positive institution,” which he defines as “organizations that elevate, connect and magnify, and refract our highest human strengths outward into society.” In other words, organizations can magnify not just products or services but are vehicles for bringing more courage, love, wisdom and humanity into society. The center he directs at Weatherhead—The Fowler Center for Sustainable Value—is first of its kind to focus on positive institutions, especially institutions that create sustainable value through the power of Appreciative Inquiry. “In huge contrast to the headlines declaring the bankruptcy in the soul of business” says Cooperrider, “our research is showing a renaissance moment, a positive revolution —business as a force for eradicating extreme poverty; business as a force for green innovation and eco-imagination; and business as a force for peace in high conflict zones around the world.”
Other cutting-edge ideas and explorers in Positive Psychology will also be featured at the World Congress, including two of the world’s most renowned psychologists:
  • Martin Seligman University of Pennsylvania Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology & Founding Director of the Positive Psychology Center
  • Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University
Seligman and Zimbardo will present groundbreaking research on how the science of positive psychology is changing the way we live our lives on an individual, societal, and global level. They will present new answers in the age-old quest for the good life, sharing their latest research and ideas for increasing happiness in the contemporary world.
Additionally, an international audience of an estimated 1,500 attendees—including researchers, practitioners, and professionals from every continent—will share latest findings, insights, and information. Symposia, poster sessions, workshops, and informal round table discussions will emphasize leading-edge research, as well as applications of the fascinating science in a variety of fields - from business to education to medicine.
“The World Congress objectives are threefold,” remarked Dr. Christopher Peterson, IPPA Program Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. “After attending the First World Congress on Positive Psychology, participants should be better able to understand, discuss, and critique theoretical perspectives in positive psychology; integrate findings from the latest basic research in positive psychology into their own ongoing or anticipated program of research or practice; and use positive interventions effectively in personal and professional settings,” he remarked.
“In just its first year of existence, IPPA has grown to thousands of members from 80 countries, attesting to the increasing global interest in the burgeoning field of positive psychology,” observed James Pawelski, Executive Director of IPPA, and the Director of Education in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Program (the world's first degree program in positive psychology).
Since its inception in 1998, the field of positive psychology has seen an investment of tens of millions of dollars in research, the founding of several scientific journals, and the development of masters and Ph.D. programs in leading universities.
The International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) was created to promote the science and practice of positive psychology and to facilitate communication and collaboration among researchers and practitioners around the world who are interested in positive psychology.
Featured Speakers and Schedule Highlights
  • David Cooperrider –  Discovery and Design of Positive Institutions
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Positive Psychology & Self-Image of What it is to Be Human
  • Antonella Delle Fave (Italy– Do We Really Pursue Happiness?
  • Ed Diener – New Findings on Happiness
  • Shelly Gable – Let the Good Times Role : Positive Interactions in Close Relationships
  • Giovanni Fava (Italy) – Well-Being Therapy
  • Raymond Fowler – Positive Health : How to Die Young as Late as Possible
  • Barbara Fredrickson– The Path to Flourishing
  • Alexandra Freund (Switzerland) – Successful Aging
  • Michael Frese (Germany) – Proactive Behavior at Work
  • Anthony Grant (Australia) – Evidence-Based Coaching
  • Hans Henrik Knoop (Denmark) – Applied Positive Psychology on Prime Time TV
  • Richard Layard (UK) – Happiness and Public Policy
  • Yong-Lin Moon (Korea) – The Contribution of Positive Psychology to Korean Society
  • Christopher Peterson – Character Strengths
  • Shane Lopez – Courage in Sport
  • George Vaillant – The Future of Positive Psychology
  • Robert Vallerand (Canada) –The Psychology of Passion
  • Carmelo Vázquez (Spain) – Positive Side of Trauma
  • Ruut Veenhoven (The Netherlands) – Happiness Research Findings
  • Joar Vittersø (Norway) A Functional Approach to Human Growth and Well-Being
  • Matthew White (Australia) – Positive Education
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