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Why positive education?

The Double Helix

Positive education challenges the current paradigm of education, which values academic attainment above all other goals. Drawing on classical ideals, we believe that the DNA of education is a double helix with intertwined strands of equal importance:

  • The fulfillment of intellectual potential through the learning of the best that has been thought and known.

  • The development of character strengths and well-being, which are intrinsically valuable and contribute to a variety of positive life outcomes.

MANIFESTO FOR POSITIVE EDUCATION

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Sign our manifesto and be part of our worldwide movement to change education

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WHAT IS IPEN

The aim of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN) is to bring together teachers, parents, academics, students, schools, colleges, universities, charities, companies and governments to promote positive education. Our goals are to support collaboration, change education practice and reform government policy.

IPEN is guided by a steering committee, whose members are listed below:

Click a photo to view individual bios
Sir Anthony Seldon
Sir Anthony Seldon

President of IPEN

London, England

Array
James O’Shaughnessy

Chair of the Steering Committee of IPEN

Founder of Floreat Education UK

Martin Seligman
Martin Seligman

Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology

Director, Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania USA

Ilona Boniwell
Ilona Boniwell

Director, Positran and Visiting Principal Lecturer

Anglia Ruskin University UK

Lim Lai Cheng
Lim Lai Cheng

Senior Advisor and Academic Director

Institute for Societal Leadership Singapore Management University

Angela Duckworth
Angela Duckworth

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology University of Pennsylvania USA

Hector Escamilla
Hector Escamilla

Rector

Universidad TecMilenio Mexico

Deborah K. Heisz
Deborah K. Heisz

COO and Co-Founder of Live Happy

Dallas, Texas

Stuart Johnson
Stuart Johnson

Owner of SUCCESS Magazine, CEO, Owner and Founder of SUCCESS Partners

Dallas, Texas

Kristján Kristjánsson
Kristján Kristjánsson

Deputy Director 

Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham UK

Simon Murray
Simon Murray

Headmaster

St Peter’s College, Adelaide Australia

Jeff Olson
Jeff Olson

Entrepreneur and Owner of Live Happy LLC

Dallas, Texas

James Pawelski
James Pawelski

Director of Education and Senior Scholar 

Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania USA

Kaiping Peng
Kaiping Peng

Chair, Department of Psychology 

Tsinghua University China

Dominic Randolph
Dominic Randolph

Head of School 

Riverdale Country School New York USA

Christopher Stawski
Christopher Stawski

Vice President for Strategic Program Initiatives

John Templeton Foundation USA

IPEN STAFF

Alejandro Adler
Alejandro Adler

PhD Candidate in Positive Psychology

University of Pennsylvania USA

Emily Larson
Emily Larson

Director

IPEN

Briar Lipson
Briar Lipson

Head of Curriculum and Development

Floreat Education

Sir Anthony Seldon
Sir Anthony Seldon

President of IPEN

London, England

Anthony Seldon MA, PhD, FRSA, MBA, FRHisS  is a leading British headmaster and an authority on contemporary British history. He is also author or editor of over 25 books on contemporary history, politics and education.

After gaining an MA from Oxford and a PhD from the London School of Economics, he qualified as a teacher at King’s College, London. He also has an MBA. He has held a number of senior positions and headships at leading schools, and is currently 13th Master of Wellington College, one of Britain’s most famous independent schools. In 2007 he was given a Chair at the College of Teachers as Professor of Education. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts and King’s College London. He was knighted in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours list.

He founded, with Professor Peter Hennessy, the Institute of Contemporary British History, and is a co-founder of Action for Happiness with Lord Richard Layard and Geoff Mulgan.

Anthony Seldon’s books include  BlairBlair UnboundTrust: How We Lost it and How to Get it BackThe Great War and Public Schools  and  The Coalition Effect 2010-2015, co-authored with Mike Finn, and  Beyond Happiness.

 

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James O’Shaughnessy

Chair of the Steering Committee of IPEN

Founder of Floreat Education UK

James is an education entrepreneur. He runs Floreat Education, a primary school provider that aims to deliver excellent character and academic education. James is also leading plans to create a global network that promotes the ‘character + academics’ approach to education, and has created a London-based workspace for education entrepreneurs.

A leading British policy thinker and adviser, James served as Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of policy for four years and specialised in education and family policy. He is chief policy adviser to a leading strategic communications agency.

Martin Seligman
Martin Seligman

Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology

Director, Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania USA

Dr. Seligman graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton in 1964 and received his Ph.D. in psychology from University of Pennsylvania in 1967.  He is currently the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. For 14 years he was the Director of the Clinical Training Program of the Psychology Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a past-president of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association. In 1996 Dr. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. His presidential initiatives concerned the prevention of ethnopolitical warfare and the founding of Positive Psychology. Dr. Seligman lives near Philadelphia with his wife Mandy. He has seven children and four grandchildren.

Alejandro Adler
Alejandro Adler

PhD Candidate in Positive Psychology

University of Pennsylvania USA

Alejandro Adler is a PhD candidate in Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on wellbeing, education, and public policy. Alejandro works with national governments and international organizations to infuse curricula with Positive Psychology. He has published a number of articles in both scholarly and non-academic outlets, and he frequently speaks at international conferences and gatherings.

Ilona Boniwell
Ilona Boniwell

Director, Positran and Visiting Principal Lecturer

Anglia Ruskin University UK

Dr Ilona Boniwell heads the International MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (I-MAPP) at Anglia Ruskin University and consults businesses and educational institutions around the globe as Director of Positran. She wrote or edited seven books, delivered over 150 keynotes/invited presentations, founded the European Network of Positive Psychology, and was the first vice-chair of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA).

Lim Lai Cheng
Lim Lai Cheng

Senior Advisor and Academic Director

Institute for Societal Leadership Singapore Management University

Dr Lim Lai Cheng is Senior Advisor and Academic Director at Singapore Management University’s Institute for Societal Leadership. She has extensive experience in the Singapore Education System: as teacher, head of department, deputy principal and principal of three other schools including Raffles Institution, the oldest and most selective school in Singapore before her current appointment, and from her key roles in corporate communications and curriculum planning and development at the Education Ministry’s headquarters.

Angela Duckworth
Angela Duckworth

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology University of Pennsylvania USA

Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. Angela studies non-IQ competencies, including self-control and grit, which predict achievement. Prior to her career in research,

Angela founded a non-profit summer school for low-income children which won the Better Government Award for the state of Massachusetts and was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study. Angela has also been a McKinsey management consultant and, for five years, a math teacher in the public schools of San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City.

Hector Escamilla
Hector Escamilla

Rector

Universidad TecMilenio Mexico

Hector Escamilla is president of Tecmilenio University in México that has taken a deep approach on introducing positive Psychology across the curricula in all academic degrees of the University and created the first Wellbeing Institute in Mexico.  It serves 42,800 students in 30 campus.  Our vision is “to prepare individuals for a purpose in life and competencies to achieve this goal”.

Hector has a Masters from Michigan State University, a PhD from Texas A&M University and has worked 28 years in education, and has leaded a initiatives to develop innovative degrees in Business creation and development.

Deborah K. Heisz
Deborah K. Heisz

COO and Co-Founder of Live Happy

Dallas, Texas

Deborah has been a founding member of two accomplished magazines, Live Happy and SUCCESS magazine (2008-2011). Live Happy is dedicated to bringing the art and science of happiness to a consumer audience through Live Happy magazine, livehappy.com, its annual Acts of Happiness campaign and support of positive education. She has more than ten years of experience in leading successful startups in the publishing industry and 20-plus years of management experience in a variety of fast-moving organizations. Deborah has a B.A. in English from Texas Tech University and an MBA from the University of Dallas.

Stuart Johnson
Stuart Johnson

Owner of SUCCESS Magazine, CEO, Owner and Founder of SUCCESS Partners

Dallas, Texas

Stuart Johnson is the owner of SUCCESS Magazine, CEO, Owner and Founder of SUCCESS Partners, developing partner of Live Happy magazine and founder of the SUCCESS Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing young people with tools to reach their full potential. Stuart is passionate about positive psychology and is proud to commit his work in the personal development field to the positive education movement.

Kristján Kristjánsson
Kristján Kristjánsson

Deputy Director 

Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham UK

Kristján Kristjánsson is Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics, and Deputy Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, School of Education, University of Birmingham. With a PhD in moral philosophy from St. Andrews University, he has published extensively in the fields of moral education, moral philosophy and moral psychology, including a number of books published by Routledge, Cambridge University Press and Ashgate. The latest one is Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology (C.U.P., 2013).

Emily Larson
Emily Larson

Director

IPEN

Emily Larson is a researcher, instructor, and practitioner in the fields of education and public policy. She serves as the Director for the International Positive Education Network (IPEN). Concurrently, she is an assistant instructor to Dr. Martin Seligman’s course in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Emily completed her MAPP degree in 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Briar Lipson
Briar Lipson

Head of Curriculum and Development

Floreat Education

Briar has substantial experience of both the theory and practice of schools policy in England. She co-authored the influential Policy Exchange report More Good Teachers and then joined the Teach First programme teaching maths and literacy in two London Academies. Having established a new school for the international education consultancy CfBT, Briar is now the Director of curriculum and innovation for Floreat Education in the UK.

Simon Murray
Simon Murray

Headmaster

St Peter’s College, Adelaide Australia

Simon Murray is the Headmaster of St Peter’s College, Adelaide. Simon has had 38 years of leadership experience in education. Prior to his appointment to St Peter’s College, Simon was Headmaster of Canberra Grammar School and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School. Simon has presented at international conferences on wellbeing, leadership, cultural change and future directions in education. He has worked with the South Australian State government in advising on wellbeing and recently advised senior civil servants and ministers at No 10 Downing Street, London. Simon was elected inaugural Chair of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA) in 2012, a position he continues to hold.

Jeff Olson
Jeff Olson

Entrepreneur and Owner of Live Happy LLC

Dallas, Texas

Over the past 30 years, Jeff Olson has built three successful businesses from scratch, founded The People’s Network—one of the largest personal development training companies in the nation—and wrote the book, The Slight Edge, which outlines how small changes cumulatively lead to major results.
After meeting Martin Seligman in 2012, Jeff was drawn to positive psychology, with its foundation in academic research and science. In 2013 he founded the company Live Happy LLC, which promotes authentic happiness around the globe through education, information and community, with a magazine, website and events—each promoting positive psychology.

James Pawelski
James Pawelski

Director of Education and Senior Scholar 

Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania USA

James O. Pawelski , Ph.D. is Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pawelski is the founding director of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on positive interventions and the humanities and human flourishing. A sought-after international keynote speaker and workshop leader who regularly makes presentations in Spanish as well as English, he is also the founding Executive Director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and a charter member of its Board of Directors.

Kaiping Peng
Kaiping Peng

Chair, Department of Psychology 

Tsinghua University China

Dr. Kaiping Peng is a professor and the chair of the Department of Psychology at Tsinghua University, China. Before Tsinghua, he was a tenured professor at UC Berkeley. His research interests include cultural psychology, positive psychology and psychological technology. He also serves in Board of Director of the International Positive Psychology Association.

Dominic Randolph
Dominic Randolph

Head of School 

Riverdale Country School New York USA

Dominic A.A. Randolph, Head of Riverdale Country School since July 2007, previously worked at The Lawrenceville School in NJ, two schools in Saudi Arabia, and the American School of The Hague. He co-founded the Character Lab with Angela Duckworth of UPenn and David Levin of KIPP, and is on the boards of The Lawrenceville School, Character Lab, and the International Positive Education Network. Dominic holds A.B. and Ed.M. degrees from Harvard. He and his wife, Kris, have a grown daughter, Elsa.

Christopher Stawski
Christopher Stawski

Vice President for Strategic Program Initiatives

John Templeton Foundation USA

Christopher Stawski is Vice President for Strategic Program Initiatives at the John Templeton Foundation, where he creates and manages new grant programs on a global scale to advance themes such as awe, curiosity, creativity, gratitude, imagination, joy, purpose, and wisdom through academic research, educational intervention, and public engagement with some of the world’s leading institutions and intellectuals.

We are grateful for the support of LiveHappy and their team