Positive Psychology emerged at the beginning of the new millennium as a movement within psychology aimed at enhancing human strengths and optimal human functioning. This emerging area of scholarship, scientific research, and application has inspired leading scholars and practitioners from across the globe to rethink the fundamental nature of how we live, work, and educate; of our health and well-being; of how to design and lead positive institutions; and how to develop positive public policies. The ideas contained in the initial work in positive psychology have spread far and wide across the disciplines to form a broader movement, sometimes referred to as the positive social and human sciences.
On January 24, 2009, Claremont Graduate University hosted a day-long event to celebrate the emerging positive social and human sciences, and to push their boundaries. Leaders and leading scholars from across the positive science landscape gathered in Claremont to discuss Applying the Science of Positive Psychology to Improve Society with a sold-out crowd in the packed Garrison Theater on campus.
Over 750 participants watched the event live. The standing-room-only crowd (who came from Australia, Ireland, China, Jamaica, New Zealand, and 8 of the United States) included university presidents, deans, and professors; researchers, clinical psychologists, and private consultants in applied psychology; the heads of major foundations; graduate and undergraduate students; and many enthusiasts from the private sector.
An additional audience across the globe participated online via a live webcast, some even staying up all night in Australia, Finland, Scotland, Hungary, and Estonia to watch, and others scattered across 13 of the United States.
A highlight from the meeting was the preview announcement of the 2009 Clifton Strengths Prize, to be given to Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont Graduate University’s Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi was awarded the $250,000 prize for his pioneering work in Flow Theory and Positive Psychology. This announcement, made by Dr. Connie Rath of the Gallup Organization, was made in advance of the formal awarding, which will be given later at a gala event in Washington, D.C.
8:45-8:55 am Welcome Robert Klitgaard, President, Claremont Graduate University
8:55-9:25 am Introduction: Determining What Works in the Emerging Positive Social and Human Sciences Stewart Donaldson, Dean & Professor of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
including opening remarks via video by Martin Seligman, Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
9:25-10:25 am Happiness and Complete Wealth: Implications for Public Policy Edward Diener, Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois
10:25-10:55 am Using Positive Emotions to Enhance Human Flourishing
Barbara Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
11:10 am-12:10 pm Why Character Matters
Christopher Peterson, Professor of Psychology & Clinical Psychology Area Chair, University of Michigan Nansook Park, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Rhode Island
12:10-12:40 pm Panel One: Stewart Donaldson (moderator), Edward Diener, Barbara Fredrickson, Christopher Peterson, and Nansook Park
1:50-2:20 pm How Positive Psychosocial Resources Enhance Health and Well-Being
Shelley Taylor, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
2:20-2:50 pm Positive Psychology-Inspired Teaching in Public Schools
Hans Henrik Knoop, Research Director, Universe Research Lab; Associate Professor, University of Aarhus, Denmark