James Pawelski’s Bio


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Pawelski 2 (1)James O. Pawelski, PhD, is Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Having earned a doctorate in philosophy, he is the author of The Dynamic Individualism of William James and of articles on the history of philosophy and its application to human development. He has served as editor of the philosophy section of the Oxford Handbook of Happiness, co-editor of The Eudaimonic Turn: Well-Being in Literary Studies, co-editor of On Human Flourishing: A Poetry Anthology, and co-author (with his wife Suzann Pileggi Pawelski) of Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts.

Dr. Pawelski is the Principal Investigator on a 3-year, $2.5M grant from the Templeton Religion Trust on “The Humanities and Human Flourishing: A Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration for Understanding, Assessing, and Cultivating Well-Being.” An international keynote speaker who regularly makes presentations in Spanish as well as English, he has given talks in more than 20 countries on six continents.

He holds a number of key leadership positions, including founding executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), member of the steering committee of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), and past president of the William James Society. Since 2005, he has served as the founding director of Penn’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program, where he teaches courses on positive interventions and the humanities and human flourishing, for which he has received the Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Professional Graduate Programs.

Dr. Pawelski is the recipient of a Practice Excellence Award from the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the Humanitarian Innovation Award for the Humanities, Arts, and Culture from the Humanities Innovation Forum at the United Nations. He has been featured in major U.S. and international media, including the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chronicle of Higher Education, People’s Daily (China), El Norte (Mexico), and Perfil (Argentina), and he has appeared on various television networks such as NBC (The Today Show), Globo, Univisión, and Toronto Public Television.