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Accelerating Postive Education Worldwide

An upcoming amazing project:  Uniting the Best in Education with the Best in the Positive psychology of Human Strengths by David Cooperrider.

A couple of years ago Marty Seligman and David Cooperrider gave 11 speeches together throughout Australia. Marty spoke about his most recent book called Flourish, and David spoke about the breakthroughs happening with AI at the “whole system” levels”—with cities, whole industries, international organizations, and even UN World Summits. Marty, while showing David many Australian schools that have adopted AI and the tools, language, and methods of positive psychology at the core of their educational experience, shared a dream of bringing all of these resources to teachers, school systems, and children and young people all over the world. There are two billion children and young people in our schools.

Marty said to David: “The work in positive psychology and AI at the whole systems levels can be tectonic together…you all know how to move systems and institutions, while we’ve been more working with individuals and relationships, more micro.”  Perhaps this is the call of our time, that is, to bring together our communities to advance “Positive Education” in schools everywhere. How about using the AI Summit method to do a world summit to launch a ten-or- more-year-long initiative?”  

Well, it was not long before a groundswell of interest for this happened. And Champlain College’s Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry received a $1 million-dollar gift to get it going!

In just a bit over one year there will be a World Summit, tentatively called “Accelerating Positive Education Worldwide: Uniting the Best in Education with the Best in the Positive Psychology of Human Strengths.” And we want to invite the worldwide AI community to help bring the AI side of this initiative to regions all over the world where projects and programs will emerge to catalyze schools and systemic educational changes. The Global Positive Education AI Summit will be in Dallas where our core UK partner IPEN (http://www.ipositive-education.net/) had already decided to host their international conference. But instead of a conference a major shift happened. It is now going to be an AI Summit, intended to not just have a great conversation, but to DO something—to come out of it with new designs, working groups, and a worldwide network that becomes a multi-decade effort.

In designing our recent WAIC’s in Belgium and then in South Africa there were strong urges and attempts on the AI community’s part to find a truly meaningful and significant initiative where the whole AI community might have a practical opportunity to unite, serve, learn together, and make a historic difference in the world. While these urges or bubbling up visions did not come to pass, it appears now that we have a real possibility right here, within our grasp.

Again, all of this is late breaking news, with contracts, funding, and concept all coming together literally just a week or so ago. Yet, we wanted to let you know immediately. What’s on the drawing board is a World Summit with regional/country summits linked through a digital platform where people in the AI community could help facilitate regional summits in parts of the world where there is a passion for the topic of accelerating Positive Education. That’s about all we can say right now, it’s all happening so fast.

So, within the coming weeks, there will be a place on the new AI Commons to share more—the whole concept paper, ways to register your excitement and interest, and timelines etc. We want to do interviews with people who might be interested, either one on one (skype) or in groups.

For now, we invite you to share your ideas for this project at: https://goo.gl/forms/dFMo6HcuOv3sbqSW2

We have an unprecedented opportunity in human history to create positive
educational systems– beginning with our youngest in early childhood and
continuing up through our college classrooms– that can lead to developmental
flourishing and high achievement for all students. And we are thrilled to share this announcement with you. This is truly at the ground floor. David Cooperrider recently said in regard to this:

 “I’ve worked on many amazing and significant projects…but there is no doubt this one is going to be the most important and world-changing initiatives I’ve ever been part of. We are talking about children and youth and educational systems everywhere that will be shaping the next generation and generation after that—we literally have an opportunity, with two billion kids in our schools, to encircle our blue planet with the brightest Appreciative Intelligence the world has ever known. Moments like this, with all the complexities in the world, are times for magnified meaning making. It’s an incredible time to be alive. There is a sense of tremendous privilege.”

We want to share our joy in this “gift” that’s come our way to create a positive revolution in education worldwide, and to use this as an “excuse” to be together, to learn together, and advance the theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry. Meg Wheatley once said, “a leader is anyone who wants to make a difference and this time.” And that’s you, that’s we, and that’s all of us in the AI community.



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