Oral Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

From Universal Values To Universal Promise: Envisioning The Possibilities Of Positive Psychology In A Multicultural, Global World (#16)

Steven Leventhal 1
  1. CorStone, Baltimore, MD, United States

For millennia, humankind’s greatest teachers have prescribed love, compassion, and forgiveness as the foundations of inner peace. Today, in positive psychology’s parlance, we speak of such strengths as pillars of a flourishing life, intimately linked to personal and social wellbeing.

However, we have not yet come to a clear vision of large-scale societal transformation should such strengths be nurtured in everyone, including the billions of people worldwide emerging from systemic poverty, discrimination, and conflict. In short, what if such universal concepts were universally applied?

In Bihar, India, a high-poverty state of 100 million people, CorStone has developed and tested Youth First, a resilience program empowering youth to thrive. CorStone is working with the Government of Bihar to scale Youth First throughout every middle school in Bihar, eventually reaching over 2.5 million children yearly.

We pause to envision: what will Bihar look like once a generation undergoes a resilience rite-of-passage, inclusive of those most marginalized, such as girls, ‘low’ castes, and minorities? How might cultivating a generation’s inner practice of love, compassion and forgiveness, in turn transform traditional social norms? In this talk, we uncover a vision of the universal promise of positive psychology, applicable to our evolving multicultural, global society.