Meet The Speakers

Scroll down to see the Pre-Conference Speakers

Keynote Speakers 


John Helliwell  

Keynote Speaker

From Happiness Research to a Happier Society: Filling the Gap

Abstract

Over the past decade, and supported in part by the World Happiness Reports, there is growing interest in learning more about what can actually be done to support happier lives. This presentation will be based on many inspiring examples from around the world of what individuals, communities and nations have been doing to enable themselves and especially others to live happier lives. Central to the best examples is a focus on the positive - shifting from a repair mode to unlocking ways to build happiness. Many of the examples are drawn from the first Global Happiness Policy Report, released in February 2018.

Biography 

John F. Helliwell has his home base in the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia. From 2006 to 2017 he was also Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and directed CIFAR’s program on ‘Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being’. In 2017 he was appointed Distinguished Fellow of CIFAR. Recent books include Well-Being for Public Policy (OUP, with Diener, Lucas and Schimmack, 2009), International Differences in Well-Being (OUP, edited with Diener and Kahneman, 2010), and six editions, 2012-2018, of the World Happiness Report (edited with Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs). He was also author of the Policy Synthesis chapter of the first Global Happiness Policy Report, in February 2018. He was a founding member of the Board of the International Positive Psychology Association, and remains on their advisory council.


The World Happiness Report was awarded the 2014 Betterment of the Human Condition award of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS).


John Helliwell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Officer of the Order of Canada.



Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D.

Keynote Speaker

The “Greatest Hits” of Character Strengths: Advancing Positive Psychology Forward

Abstract

With over 6 million people taking the VIA Survey of character strengths across the globe and 10,000 people per day visiting the VIA Institute website, there is not only interest but demand by consumers and practitioners to learn more about the practice of character strengths. And, the science of character strengths is evolving so rapidly it is difficult for practitioners to keep up with the various concepts, research, and applications they have to work with. Participants will learn how to make sense of this positive tornado and garner several substantive nuggets to put into practical use.


This keynote will highlight some of the “greatest hits” in strengths psychology which will include brand new findings (2018) as well as seminal findings. Examples include the latest research on character strengths and flourishing; signature strengths; character strengths overuse, underuse, and optimal-use; character strengths appreciation in relationships; strengths and spirituality; the benefits of amplifying strengths versus remediating deficits; team roles; and character strengths work across disciplines of study. Practical implications of this research for practitioners will be emphasized.


Biography 

Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec is a leading figure in the education, research, and practice of character strengths that are found in all human beings. Ryan is author of several books including Character Strengths Interventions; Mindfulness and Character Strengths; Movies and Mental Illness; and Positive Psychology at the Movies. Ryan is education director of the VIA Institute on Character, a global, non-profit organization in Cincinnati that advances the latest science and practical applications of character strengths. He’s an award-winning psychologist and adjunct professor at Xavier University, and annual instructor at the University of Pennsylvania.


Ryan was awarded Fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association in 2017. As a frequent keynoter and workshop leader, he’s offered several-hundred presentations on positive psychology topics across the globe. As a columnist for Psychology Today, Live Happy Magazine, PsycCentral, and Thrive Global, he’s penned hundreds of articles for the general public on character strengths and positive psychology. He’s also written over 60 scholarly articles/chapters. He’s passionate about the connection between character strengths and mindfulness, spirituality, health, disability, parenting, positive movies, and savoring.


On a personal note, Ryan lives with his wife and three kids (all 6 and under) near Cincinnati, Ohio. Ryan is an avid collector of Pez dispensers, a passionate fan of The Walking Dead, and a zealot for Michigan State athletics. His highest strengths are hope, love, curiosity, honesty, fairness, and appreciation of beauty.



Tom Rath

Keynote Speaker

“Strengths, wellbeing, and your greatest contribution"

Abstract

Tom Rath, author of six international bestsellers, will share his latest research about how small choices profoundly affect our daily well-being and effectiveness at work.  Drawing on the latest research from business, psychology, and economics, Tom's talk will focus on the most practical changes we can make to create better days for ourselves and others. He will address the importance of meaningful work, the influence of relationships and interactions, and discuss how we can create the physical energy we need in order to be our best every day.

Biography 

Tom Rath is an author and researcher who studies the role of human behavior in business, health, and well-being. He has been described by business leaders and the media as one of the greatest thinkers and nonfiction writers of his generation.


Tom has written six New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers over the past decade, starting with the #1 New York Times bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket? His book StrengthsFinder 2.0 was the top-selling book of 2013 and 2014 worldwide on Amazon.com. Tom’s recent bestsellers are Strengths Based Leadership, Wellbeing, and Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes. In total, his books have sold more than 6 million copies and have made more than 300 appearances on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.


Tom’s latest bestseller, Are You Fully Charged? The Three Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life is receiving acclaim as “Rath’s best book yet”.  Tom also hosts  Fully Charged, a feature-length documentary film which explores the key elements of energizing one’s work and life through personal stories and interviews with the world’s leading social scientists.

In addition to his work as a researcher, writer, and speaker, Tom serves as a senior scientist for and advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent thirteen years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, strengths, leadership, and well-being. He is also a scientific advisor to Welbe, a startup focused on wearable technology.

Tom previously served as vice chairman of the VHL cancer research organization. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, where he is now a regular guest lecturer. Tom, his wife, Ashley, and their two children live in Arlington, Virginia.




Dr. Kate Hefferon, PhD

Keynote Speaker

From, Birth To Death: Living The Embodied Life

Abstract

We have all heard the adage “health body = healthy mind” and despite earlier criticism regarding the lack of body-focused research within positive psychology, the somatopsychic approach to wellbeing is becoming increasingly embraced. Drawing primarily from qualitative research conducted on a variety of populations, Hefferon will reflect upon key take home messages regarding the importance of the body on our overall wellbeing. The talk will conclude with reflections on how to harness these findings in order to potentially become more embodied in everyday life.

Biography 

Dr. Kate Hefferon (PhD) is a Chartered Research Psychologist, Reader and Head of the Posttraumatic Growth Research Unit at the University of East London. Kate has spent her career focusing on the Somatopsychic side to Flourishing, across a variety of populations and interventions. Kate has presented at conferences nationally and internationally and is the author/co-author of numerous peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and positive psychology textbooks including, ‘Positive Psychology: Theory, Research and Applications’ (2011),  ‘Positive Psychology: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing’ (2013), “Applied Positive Psychology: Integrated Positive Practice” (2014) and “Second-wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life” (2015).




Suzann (“Suzie”) Pileggi Pawelski, MAPP & James Pawelski, Ph.D

Keynote Speakers

Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Enhance Relationships


Abstract

In this lively and interactive session, husband-and-wife team Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and James Pawelski will address one of the most important factors in human flourishing. Relationships of all kinds-and especially romantic ones-can have an enormous positive influence on our well-being, yet they can also present some of the greatest challenges we encounter in our lives. Whether you are single, coupled, or newly single, join us to explore relevant scientific findings on topics like passion, positive emotions, savoring, and character strengths and to practice ways we can apply this research in our own lives to build love that lasts.


Biography

Suzann (“Suzie”) Pileggi Pawelski has a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a freelance writer and well-being consultant specializing in the science of happiness and its effects on health and relationships. Her 2010 Scientific American Mind cover story, "The Happy Couple," was the catalyst for this book. Suzie blogs for Psychology Today and writes the "Science of Well-being" column for Live Happy, where she is also a contributing editor.   She gives “Romance and Research” (TM) workshops around the world with her husband James. Previously, she directed award-winning media relations campaigns for Fortune 500 clients, worked in publicity at Radio City Music Hall, and was an associate producer for The Joan Rivers Show.


James Pawelski, Ph.D., is Professor of Practice and Director of Education at the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania where he co-founded the world's first Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program with Martin Seligman.  The Founding Executive Director of IPPA, he is currently leading a three-year, multi-million-dollar grant investigating connections between the science of well-being and the arts and humanities. An international keynote speaker, he has presented in more than 20 countries on 6 continents, including "Romance and Research” (TM) workshops with his wife Suzie. He is frequently featured in the media, including the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Today Show

 



Concurrent Session Guest Speakers



Haesun Moon, M.Ed

Invited Speaker

Confluence: How Hope Happens in A Dialogue


Abstract

From the contested proposal of learned optimism to the pursuit of happiness at work, the search for meaning and hope in one's personal and professional realms has entered the main stage of individual and collective narratives in the past decade. Such elusive yet substantial presence of the topic of "hope" has been an object of many dedicated scholars and intrigued laymen alike, however, the research has not yet broadened enough beyond the perspectives we borrow from the field of psychology. In this session, we will review three critical evidence from sociolinguistics and communications to analyze the process of co-construction in dialogues from classrooms, clinics, and workplaces. Practitioners will gain insight into how their use of language may increase "hope" in ordinary conversations with their clients, colleagues, and even families. In addition, several specific tools and tips will be shared to prepare practitioners to become an observer of their own work. This session will include brief cases, interactive discussions, and various scenarios to assist their learning.


Objectives:

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

Differentiate the function of dialogue from problem-solving and problem-diagnosis in your day-to-day practice

Identify key elements of how language is used to increase hope in therapeutic communication

Articulate one strategy to implement to increase one’s sense of resilience and wellbeing in your professional context



Biography 

Haesun is a highly sought-after speaker with a naturally engaging personality often appearing on podium at international conferences and symposia where coaching is talked about. As the founder and Program Director of the Solution Focused Brief Coaching program at the University of Toronto, she relentlessly questions and advances coaching as research-based practice. Her studies in collaborative dialogue and transformative learning contribute to the research and practice of coaching and its pedagogical methods. She resides in Toronto with her family including a lazy but sweet dog, Cookie.



Veronika Huta, Ph.D.

Invited Speaker

Well-being changes over the lifespan: What can you expect? And do your priorities matter?




Abstract

Past research has shown a U-Bend in happiness: life satisfaction follows a curve over the adult lifespan, bottoming out in midlife. Is there some way to prevent this bottoming out? Does it matter if you prioritize enjoyment, comfort, growth, or wealth/status? And what about other forms of well-being like meaning?

We’ve completed an online cross-sectional study (N=575) on people aged 18 to 82 from Canada and the US. We assessed self-reported well-being as life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, subjective aliveness, and meaning. We also assessed different ways in which people envision and pursue a good life, called orientations to well-being: hedonic pleasure (enjoyment, fun, physical pleasure), hedonic comfort (relaxation, ease), eudaimonia (authenticity, meaning, excellence/ethics, growth), and extrinsic priorities (money, power, status, popularity, image).

Some orientations to well-being changed with age, especially in males, while others did not. When we included all participants, most well-being variables showed the U-Bend pattern with age. Most importantly, people who scored high on certain orientations to well-being scored consistently high on all well-being variables at all ages, showing no U-Bend at all.  

The majority of outcomes supported our predictions, but some were unexpected and intriguing. In this talk, I will share the details of our findings.



Biography 

Veronika Huta is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa. She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. She conducts research on eudaimonia, hedonia, elevation, and meaning, and works on developing an integrated theoretical model of the eudaimonia-hedonia distinction in the domains of well-being orientations, experiences, and functioning. She teaches courses in positive psychology and advanced statistics, and is one of the top rated instructors in her faculty. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, she co-organized the first cross-disciplinary conference on eudaimonia, and has recently been interviewed for a book on the world’s leading women in positive psychology research.




Itai Ivtzan

Invited Speaker

Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life

Abstract

What is the first image that comes to our mind when positive psychology (PP) is mentioned? For most of us, it is the smiley emoticon. This symbol of happiness, optimism and joy reflects the way PP is commonly conceived and portrayed, both within the PP discipline and in society at large. As such, whatever is labelled as ‘negative’ is frequently rejected and considered to be outside the sphere of PP. But this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, PP investigates and researches some of the most difficult and painful human experiences. This talk explores a variety of topics that could be regarded as part of the ‘dark side’ of life, and emphasises the role they play in the positive aspect of our functioning and transformation as human beings. While doing this, cutting-edge theories, research, and practices are also introduced.


The ‘dark side’ refers to challenging experiences, thoughts, emotions and behaviours, which trigger discomfort in us. Such discomfort is frequently avoided, as it involves an engagement with fear, pain, distress or confusion. However, engaging with the challenge and discomfort has great potential for growth, healing, insight and transformation. In other words, the ‘dark side’ contains the seed for a potential positive outcome, even when the path towards this outcome is testing.


I would like students and other people who are interested in this field to feel they are allowed to include the aspects of life - which we might call ‘negative’ - in their PP experience. Moreover, it is important to stress that these aspects of life are frequently necessary for the experience of growth and flourishing to be complete. To achieve this, I describe in this talk the current state of affairs in the field of PP, with a view to dispelling the myth of its 'positivity'. People believe that PP involves only the positive, because they confuse experiences with outcomes. Indeed, the outcomes of PP theory and research are always positive in some way; however, the paths, the journey, what we experience on the way to these outcomes may be ‘negative’ and challenging. Second-wave PP recognises and acknowledges this journey, enabling the broadening of PP boundaries to embrace both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ in our experience of flourishing.



Biography 

Dr Itai Ivtzan is passionate about the combination of psychology and spirituality. It makes his heart sing. He is convinced that if we befriend both psychology and spirituality, and succeed in introducing them into our lives, we will all become super-heroes, and gain super-strengths of awareness, courage, resilience, and compassion. Isn't this an amazing prospect? Dr. Itai Ivtzan is a positive psychologist, senior lecturer, and program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London (UEL). He is also an honorary senior research associate at University College London (UCL). Over the past 15 years, Dr. Ivtzan has run seminars, lectures, workshops and retreats in the UK and around the world, at various educational institutions and at private events. He is a regular keynote speaker at conferences. He published several books, as well as many journal papers and book chapters. His main areas of research are positive psychology, mindfulness, and spirituality. Dr. Ivtzan is confident that mindfulness meditation has the power to change individuals – in fact, whole societies – for the better. Accordingly, he has been investing much time in studying mindfulness academically, writing books about it, teaching it, and training mindfulness teachers. He is the author/co-author of:

- Awareness is Freedom: The Adventure of Psychology and Spirituality

- Mindfulness in Positive Psychology: The Science of Meditation and Wellbeing

- Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life

- Applied Positive Psychology: Integrated Positive Practice


If you wish to get additional information about his work or contact him, please visit www.AwarenessisFreedom.com





Tim Pychyl, Ph.D.

Invited Speaker

Research That Helps Solve The Procrastination Puzzle

Abstract

The voluntary delay of an intended act despite some awareness of the negative consequences of this delay is a self-defeating choice that puzzles the procrastinator and psychologist. Why do we become our own worst enemy and how can we stop this needless delay to enable more effective goal pursuit? In this presentation, Dr. Pychyl will summarize a variety of research from over the past 20 years that helps us understand different forms of delay, the costs of procrastination, why we do it and what we might do to break what many call the procrastination habit. Although driven by research, there will be a focus on practical strategies for change.


Biography

Dr. Tim Pychyl is the Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education and Associate Professor of Psychology at Carleton University (Ottawa). Tim has developed an international reputation for his research on procrastination. In addition to scholarly articles, Tim has co-edited two books, the most recent of which is Procrastination, Health and Well-being (2016, Elsevier). He is also author  of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change (2013, Tarcher/ Penguin), You can learn more about his research and access his Psychology Today blog or his iProcrastinate podcast at procrastination.ca.












Bryan Smale, Ph.D










Invited Speaker





The Canadian Index of Wellbeing: From Measurement to Social Change


Abstract

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) provides unique insights into the quality of life of Canadians and the communities in which they live both overall and in eight specific domains that matter to wellbeing: our standard of living, the quality of our environment, our health, our education, the way we use our time, the vitality of our communities, our participation in the democratic process, and our leisure and culture. Two measurement strategies have been developed by the CIW to assess and track wellbeing over time: a social indicators approach that contributes to the CIW composite index at the national and provincial levels, and a subjective wellbeing approach that gathers data through a community-based survey designed around the CIW framework. Both strategies rely on a collaborative process of engagement with organisations, communities, and citizens to facilitate the transition of research into action and social change.


Biography 

Bryan Smale, Ph.D., is the Director of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing housed in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo (UW), a Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies with a cross-appointment to the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at UW, and a Research Faculty Associate in the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Western Ontario after receiving a Master’s and B.A. in Leisure Studies from the University of Waterloo. He is currently a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Social Conditions, on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Leisure Studies (CALS), and Editor in Chief of Leisure/Loisir. His research focuses on the role of leisure in the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, the spatial distribution and analysis of leisure in communities, time use allocation, and social indicators research. He was elected as a Fellow to the Academy of Leisure Sciences in 2012.




John Zelenski, Ph.D

Invited Speaker 

Nature is a path to healthy people, communities, and environments

 

Abstract

I will describe how research in environmental psychology can dovetail with positive psychology in useful ways. For example, spending time in nature typically produces positive emotions. Beyond pleasures, connecting with nature also seems to facilitate the experience of autonomy, vitality, and meaning, relieve stress and fatigue, and promote physiological health. Beyond individual benefits, nature exposure is associated with generosity, sociability, helping behaviour, and cooperation. Thus, nature has potential to foster positive interpersonal relationships and stronger communities. Beyond human communities, connecting with nature may also aid environmental protection efforts. When people enjoy the benefits of nature, they form a psychological connection with it, which, in turn, increases motivation for environmental protection. In addition, overcoming environmental challenges typically involves solving social dilemmas. Nature exposure seems to push people towards pro-sociability and cooperation, thus avoiding the tragedy of the commons. In contrast to approaches that use doom and gloom messaging about the environment, connecting with nature may provide a happy path to sustainability—an approach that has all the hallmarks of positive psychology.


Biography 

John Zelenski is a Professor of Psychology and directs the Carleton University Happiness Laboratory (CUHL) in Ottawa, Canada. He studies individual differences in happiness and how these unfold as momentary thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Much of this work has focused on the trait of introversion-extraversion and how people connect with nature.


He has received nearly a million dollars in research funding, published dozens of articles in strong academic journals, and been featured in popular media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CBC. He has taught university courses on personality and positive psychology to rave reviews at Carleton, Washington University, and literally around the world with Semester at Sea, and is currently authoring a positive psychology textbook for undergraduate students.


More information: http://www.carleton.ca/~jzelensk/




Margarita Tarragona, Ph.D.

Invited Speaker 

Positive Psychology for Helping Professionals: how to bring scientific findings about wellbeing and positive psychology practices to your work

Abstract

Applying positive psychology can be much richer than suggesting positive interventions to our clients. In this presentation, I offer a conceptual framework that proposes 4 different ways in which helping professionals can integrate positive psychology in their work in therapy, coaching, counseling and other helping professions.



Biography

Margarita Tarragona is a psychologist who specializes in applying positive psychology in the helping professions and education. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago, is on the board of directors of IPPA and is an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Positive Psychology of the University of Melbourne. Margarita co-founded and teaches in Grupo Campos Elíseos, is adjunct faculty of the Wholebeing Institute and teaches in the CIPPLA program (Certificate in Positive Psychology, Latin America). Margarita incorporates scientific findings on wellbeing with collaborative and narrative ways of working with people to generate dialogue and expand their life stories. She´s the author of Positive Identities: Positive Psychology and Narrative Practices (2012).




Alejandro Adler, Ph.D.

Invited Speaker

Teaching Well-Being Enhances Academic Performance: Evidence from around the World

Abstract

Can well-being be taught at a large scale, and should it be taught in schools? Does teaching well-being improve academic performance? In Study 1, 18 secondary schools (n=8,385 students) in Bhutan were randomly assigned to a treatment group (k=11) or a control group (k=7). The treatment schools received an intervention targeting ten non-academic well-being skills. Study 2 was a replication study at a larger scale in 70 secondary schools (m = 68,762 students) in Mexico. The schools were randomly assigned to a treatment group (j = 35) or a control group (j = 35). Study 3 was the last replication study at a larger scale in 694 secondary schools (q = 694,153 students) in Peru. The schools were randomly assigned to a treatment group (h = 347) or a control group (h = 347). In all three studies, students in the intervention schools reported significantly higher well-being and they performed significantly better on standardized national exams at the end of a 15-month intervention. In Study 1, the results for both well-being and academic performance remained significant 12 months after the intervention ended. For Studies 2 and 3, time will tell if our results endure 12 months after the end of the intervention. In all three studies, perseverance, engagement, and quality of interpersonal relationships emerged as the strongest mechanisms underlying how increases in well-being improved academic performance. Our results suggest that, independent of social, economic, or cultural context, teaching well-being in schools at a large scale is both feasible and desirable.

Biography

Alejandro Adler is the Director of International Education at the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He works under the leadership of Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology. His research focuses on well-being, education, skills, and public policy. Currently, Alejandro is working with the governments of various countries, including Bhutan, Nepal, India, Mexico, Peru, the UAE, Australia, Jordan, and Colombia to infuse curricula across schools in these countries with Positive Psychology skills and to measure the impact of these interventions on youth well-being. He has published a number of articles in both scholarly and non-academic outlets, and he frequently speaks at international conferences and gatherings.


Originally from Mexico, Alejandro has a B.A. in psychology, a B.Sc. in economics, an M.A. in psychology, and a Ph.D. in psychology, all from the University of Pennsylvania. Alejandro has worked as a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a think tank dedicated to channeling philanthropic funds to where they can have the most social impact. He also frequently advises international organizations, including The World Bank, The United Nations, the OECD, among others. He is currently one of 60 members of the United Nation's International Well-being Expert Group – a group of leading international experts from distinct disciplines who are working with the United Nations to create a New Development Paradigm based on well-being, which went into effect in 2015 when the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expired and became the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


 



Mary Ann Baynton

Invited Speaker

Sponsored Showcase – Plan for Resilience


Abstract

Building Stronger Teams recognizes that many of us are put into leadership roles without having any training on how to actually lead. As a result, there can be an emotional cost that can impact our mental health as well as the mental health of those we lead, manage and support. Higher levels of emotional intelligence can help reduce our own stress while positively impacting the effectiveness of our teams.

 


Biography 

Mary Ann Baynton has been the Program Director of the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace for over a decade. She served as co-chair on the development of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. She is also the principal of Mary Ann Baynton & Associates where she consults with all levels of government and a diverse range of organizations across the country. Mary Ann’s expertise is in approaches that support the psychological well-being of all employees, including those with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Her mission is to improve working lives for everyone.


Robert Vallerand, Ph.D

Keynote Speaker

1st Scientific Meeting


Abstract

Over the past 15 years an explosion of research has focused on the concept of passion. Two types of passion are proposed: harmonious and obsessive.  Obsessive passion is involved when people feel that they can’t help themselves. On the other hand, harmonious passion refers to a strong inclination for the activity that nevertheless remains under the person’s control. Research reveals that harmonious passion promotes optimal functioning whereas obsessive passion leads to mixed outcomes, including some indices of maladaptive functioning. In this address, I review research that takes the passion concept and the idea of obsessive versus harmonious passion in unchartered areas and novel directions. Some of these include the role of passion in resilience, persistence, and temporal perspectives, as well as a better understanding of non passionate people. Implications for research in positive psychology are highlighted.


Biography 

Professor Robert J. Vallerand is Full Professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Comportement Social at the Université du Québec à Montréal where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Motivational Processes and Optimal Functioning. He has published 7 books and well over 300 scientific articles and book chapters and has received a number of research grants. Over 20 of his former students are university professors across Canada and Europe. He has served as President of several associations including the Canadian Psychological Association and the International Positive Psychology Association. Professor Vallerand has been elected a Fellow of over a dozen scientific societies (including the APA, APS, SPSP) and he has also received numerous awards, including the Donald O. Hebb Career Award (for Science) from the Canadian Psychological Association, the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal Award from the International Positive Psychology Association, and the Sport Science Award from the International Olympic Committee. Finally, he has received the William James Award from the American Psychological Association for his 2015 book, The Psychology of Passion with Oxford University Press.




 M. Gloria Gonzalez-Morales, Ph.D.

1st Scientific Meeting Speaker 

Advancing research methods in positive psychology


Abstract

Positive psychology research is sometimes depicted as a “soft science”: therefore, as scientists, it is our responsibility to conduct ethical, rigorous and relevant research. Rigorous methods should provide strong support for empirical findings to be evaluated as valid and reliable. Unfortunately, cross-sectional surveys are no longer enough, forcing us to rethink our methods. This involves the use of randomized control trials to examine positive psychology interventions; clear protocols to facilitate replication and reproducibility; diary or ESM (experiential sampling) methods to understand the mechanisms proposed by positive psychology theories; rigorous qualitative research to explore the complex questions of our lived experiences.


Biography 

I am associate professor of Psychology at University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada). I obtained my Psychology Degree at Universidad de La Laguna (Canary Islands, Spain) and completed my dissertation, awarded with the European PhD (Doctor Europaea), in 2006 at University of Valencia (Spain) in the Work and Organizational Psychology Interuniversity Doctoral Program. In 2007, I moved to Virginia (USA) to conduct research as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at George Mason University for two years. I was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Delaware for a year before starting at University of Guelph on 2010. My research involves the disciplines of occupational health psychology and positive organizational psychology and focuses on stress, work-life issues, victimization, incivility and civility, and positive organizational interventions to enhance well-being and performance. My research has been published in outlets such as Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Work & Stress and Journal of Organizational Behavior. I am an incoming associate editor (2018) of Work & Stress. An International Journal of Work, Health & Organisations. (2016 Impact Factor: 3.400, 2017 Clarivate Analytics, 2017 Journal Citation Reports). In addition, I serve on the editorial boards of Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Stress & Health, Anxiety, Stress & Coping, and Occupational Health Science. For more information, please visit: https://www.uoguelph.ca/psychology/users/m-gloria-gonz%C3%A1lez-morales 




Veronika Huta, Ph.D.

1st Scientific Meeting Speaker

Going Beyond Happiness 

Abstract

This will be less of a talk than an opportunity to raise some overarching questions about the field of positive psychology and suggest some hypotheses for discussion. The core question will be whether “more happiness” is exactly what we are after. To provide structure, I will touch on: a chapter I wrote on the importance of developing “meta-positive-psychology”, i.e., research and insight on where the positive psychology toolbox fits into human life – what to expect of the tools, and what well-being is in the first place; some of my research on the distinction between hedonic pleasantness and eudaimonic meaning; findings on the benefits of positive affect; research on the negative correlates of wanting happiness; and the growth of second-wave positive psychology. I would like to engage the audience in a discussion of how well-being might more fully be defined, and how to share research findings with the public in a way that is engaging and yet does not skew the lessons learned.

Biography 

Veronika Huta is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa. She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. She conducts research on eudaimonia, hedonia, elevation, and meaning, and works on developing an integrated theoretical model of the eudaimonia-hedonia distinction in the domains of well-being orientations, experiences, and functioning. She teaches courses in positive psychology and advanced statistics, and is one of the top rated instructors in her faculty. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, she co-organized the first cross-disciplinary conference on eudaimonia, and has recently been interviewed for a book on the world’s leading women in positive psychology research.




Margaret Lumley, PhD.

Panel Moderator

1st Canadain Scientific Meeting


1st Canadian Scientific Meeting

Panel Moderator

Biography

Dr. Margaret N. Lumley is an Associate Professor in the child clinical psychology program at the University of Guelph and a registered clinical psychologist practicing with children and adolescents. Dr. Lumley’s research has been funded the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, Canada Foundation for Innovation and Ministry of Education. She has been recognized for her teaching excellence and recently developed and evaluated a for-credit course to promote positive mental health among University students coping with mental illness. Dr. Lumley’s research on children, youth and young adults examines positive cognitive schemas, positive life events and character strengths as well as positive developmental trajectories following childhood adversities. Her research is aimed at understanding and promoting positive developmental pathways for all youth, including those with mental illness. Her research examines how the natural resilience that youth possess can be bolstered by intervention efforts informed by positive psychological science and has been published in quality journals.


For the past several years, she has been extensively involved in bringing positive psychological approaches to the classroom, working collaboratively with parents, teachers, principals and school board administrators. To highlight some of this work, together with the Wellington Catholic District School Board she co-developed a Strengths in Education website (www.strengthsineducation.ca). She is passionate about contributing to public knowledge of factors that promote positive mental health and well-being, and towards this end has delivered numerous public talks and workshops for a wide variety of audiences.





Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D.

Workshop 1:

Character Strengths Interventions: How Practitioners Can Boost Flourishing and Foster Resilience.

Full Day Workshop


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Abstract

What is the latest science revealing about character strengths interventions? How do I know if I really am a strengths-based practitioner? What is the difference between character strengths and talents, skills, and other types of strengths human beings have? How might I apply character strengths interventions in my work as a practitioner?

This interactive workshop will answer these questions by bringing the new science of character strengths to life. You will practice with character strengths activities – through experiential activities and discussions – that help people flourish and manage stress and problems more effectively. You will walk away with essential tools you can begin using with your clients tomorrow.


Biography 

Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec is a leading figure in the education, research, and practice of character strengths that are found in all human beings. Ryan is author of several books including Character Strengths Interventions; Mindfulness and Character Strengths; Movies and Mental Illness; and Positive Psychology at the Movies. Ryan is education director of the VIA Institute on Character, a global, non-profit organization in Cincinnati that advances the latest science and practical applications of character strengths. He’s an award-winning psychologist and adjunct professor at Xavier University, and annual instructor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ryan was awarded Fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association in 2017. As a frequent keynoter and workshop leader, he’s offered several-hundred presentations on positive psychology topics across the globe. As a columnist for Psychology Today, Live Happy Magazine, PsycCentral, and Thrive Global, he’s penned hundreds of articles for the general public on character strengths and positive psychology. He’s also written over 60 scholarly articles/chapters. He’s passionate about the connection between character strengths and mindfulness, spirituality, health, disability, parenting, positive movies, and savoring.

On a personal note, Ryan lives with his wife and three kids (all 6 and under) near Cincinnati, Ohio. Ryan is an avid collector of Pez dispensers, a passionate fan of The Walking Dead, and a zealot for Michigan State athletics. His highest strengths are hope, love, curiosity, honesty, fairness, and appreciation of beauty.





Renee Jain

Workshop 2:

Educational Resilience

Full Day Workshop


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Abstract

If the Western world were made up of 100 students representing the whole, 31 would meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. The treatment gap is so vast, 24 of those students would never get help. This doesn’t account for kids on the precipice of diagnosis, or those who feel relentlessly pressured, overwhelmed, or just plain stressed out. This is a public health crisis. It is our duty to answer the call of our children, yet our current approach is falling short.

Positive psychology can help.

We have been trying to help our kids with stress, anxiety, depression, and anger by focusing on “managing” emotions. For many children, "managing" translates into numbing, denying, or suppressing feelings--a pathway with devastating consequences. And in solely focusing on reducing the “bad stuff”, we have also ignored nourishing hope, optimism, gratitude, meaning, purpose or the "good stuff".

In this workshop, we’ll focus on strategies which provide children with a very different way to process emotions: transformation.

You will learn 5 practical, science-backed strategies that will help K-12 students transform their emotional life. The outcome will be students who flourish socially, emotionally, and academically. We will specifically work on:

  1. Transforming Stress
  2. Transforming Anxiety
  3. Transforming Anger
  4. Transforming Perfectionism
  5. Transforming Disengagement

Biography 

As founder and Chief Storyteller at GoZen!, Renee is recognized as a pioneer in marrying technology and child psychology in a unique approach that nurtures the hearts and minds of kids. Through her writing, product invention and development, masterclasses for parents, and children’s advocacy, she works to build the emotional intelligence of kids, including resilience, empathy, kindness, and critical thinking. Tens of thousands of families and professionals testify to the unparalleled success of GoZen!'s programs. Originally a tech entrepreneur who’s suffered with her own anxiety, Renee founded GoZen! to help a new generation of kids, parents and therapists.

Renee is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and PsychCentral, is a certified life coach, and holds a MA in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Renee has been personally mentored and trained by some of the top depression prevention experts in the world. As a coach, Renee has worked with thousands of adults and children to help them uncover their individual paths to thrive.


Facilitated by: Lisa Sansom, Andrew Soren, Jan Stanley, Paddy Steinfort & Shannon Waffen

Workshop 3:

Building Flourishing Organizations – An “unconference” on Applying Positive Psychology at Work

Half Day: Morning Workshop


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Abstract 

As Positive Psychology continues to grow and mature, more and more practitioners are becoming interested in how to apply its learnings in organizational contexts. This session is designed for participants who want to bring their own questions, wisdom and desire to learn from their peers.

It will follow an “unconference” format, meaning that rather than having one expert speaking while everyone else passively listens, we will harness the expertise and energy of everyone in the room. We will build an agenda together, identifying the topics you care about most. We will then spend the bulk of the time in small-group conversations about those topics: learning from each other, sharing expertise, creating and strengthening our social connections, and reporting back to the bigger group.

The unconference will be facilitated by 5 practitioners, all graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Applied Positive Psychology Program, who have worked deep within organizations to apply positive psychology at scale, helping people and the organizations they work for flourish. With expertise in leadership development, culture change, high performance, HR systems and governance structures, across a wide range of industries and organizational contexts, our facilitators will be eager to jump in to workshop any challenges and opportunities you want to bring to the session!


Biographies 

Paddy Steinfort

As head of Mental Performance for the Toronto Blue Jays, Paddy Steinfort is confronted daily with challenges that impact the well-being of 200+ professional athletes and 150+ coaches and staff - not to mention the hopes and dreams of an entire country of fans!

With a background as a pro athlete in his home country of Australia, as well as years coaching at the highest level in a number of countries (including Olympic, NFL and NCAA teams), Paddy now applies what he learned while studying a Master's of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania to tangible challenges of maintaining wellbeing while still performing at an elite level.

 

Shannon Waffen

Shannon Waffen currently works at American Greetings in Human Resources where it is her mission is to foster Happiness, Laughter & Love in the workplace every single day! Shannon is from Cleveland, Ohio.  She graduated from Baldwin Wallace with Bachelors Degree in Business Administration.  She then went on to graduate from Cleveland State University with a Masters of Human Resources and Labor Relations and the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology.

 

Lisa Sansom

Lisa Sansom is the owner of LVS Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that helps to build positive organizations. In these roles, Lisa shares positive psychology tools and techniques with her clients through speaking, corporate training and coaching. Lisa has been working in Organizational Development since 2000 working at financial companies, government, education and health care. Her focus is primarily on change management, high performing teams and leadership development. Additionally, she writes articles and does book reviews for several magazines and online publications.

Lisa earned her MBA from the Rotman School of Management, and her coaching accreditation from Adler International Learning / OISE-UT.  In addition, she holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education from Brock University. She completed her MAPP (Master of Applied Positive Psychology) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.


 Andrew Soren

Andrew Soren is a Senior Leader within LRN’s Advisory practice where he works with organizations on how to co-create values-based cultures, develop inspirational leadership, and cultivate governance structures that foster freedom. Based in South America, Soren has supported NGOs, non-profits and Fortune 500 corporations across the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

 

Soren joined LRN from BMO Financial Group, a global financial institution based in Canada with operations across North America, Europe and Asia, where he spent 13 years working in marketing and human resources, with a focus on global leadership development strategies, brand revitalization and high-performance culture. Prior to that, he worked in the arts and culture sector with a focus on philanthropy. Soren is an ICF certified coach and teaches in the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, where he focuses on harnessing evidence-based practice to help individuals and organizations thrive.


 Jan Stanley

Jan Stanley is strategist and facilitator who has worked with companies from the Fortune 500 to Silicon Valley, the US Army, NASA and the Harvard Business School, among others, to develop leaders. As a Senior Advisor for LRN, Jan brings deep experience in connecting the learning and development needs of leaders to the values and behaviors that drive business success.

 

As a financial services executive, Jan was instrumental in the initial designs of governance, leadership and technology solutions for organization-wide ethics and compliance initiatives. Previously Jan was a member of the elite Penn Resilience Team, a group of psychology experts from the University of Pennsylvania who work closely with individuals and organizations to increase mental agility, collaboration and resilience. Jan has also coached leaders as a member of Silicon Valley Change, a global network of leadership and executive coaches who help companies improve performance through increased leadership effectiveness. One of the first 200 people in the world to obtain a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Jan has studied the conditions under which individuals and organizations flourish. Jan has fully integrated this new knowledge into writing, coaching, facilitation and consulting practices.



Itai Ivtzah

Workshop 4:

Mindfulness Programs in Positive Psychology

Half Day: Morning Workshop


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Abstract

Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular interventions in psychology, the interest in which grows year after year. Positive psychology (PP) is the fastest developing branch of psychology, whose expanding journey of investigating human flourishing has attracted great interest. What happens when these two are brought together?

This workshop will inform you about the fascinating points of convergence between mindfulness and PP. We will explore various mindfulness programs focused on increasing positive variables, such as meaning, compassion, positive emotions, strengths, and gratitude. These programs are flourishing-focused, thereby embodying the spirit of PP.

The workshop covers three aspects: Theory, Research, and Practice. We will discuss some theoretical background to the convergence between PP and mindfulness, including the role of savoring and meaning in the creation of what I call the “positive mindfulness cycle”. Research will be addressed as well, and studies that bring to life the impact of mindfulness on the experience of flourishing, growth, and positive transformation will be highlighted. Finally, we will practice different mindfulness exercises designed to increase self-compassion, meaning, and savoring. This experiential aspect of the workshop is important, in that it allows you to engage in the actual experience of the meeting point between mindfulness and PP.

This workshop is intended to provide an adventurous, creative, and open space, where we learn about mindfulness and PP, while being mindful and playful.


Biography 

Dr Itai Ivtzan is passionate about the combination of psychology and spirituality. It makes his heart sing. He is convinced that if we befriend both psychology and spirituality, and succeed in introducing them into our lives, we will all become super-heroes, and gain super-strengths of awareness, courage, resilience, and compassion. Isn't this an amazing prospect? Dr. Itai Ivtzan is a positive psychologist, senior lecturer, and program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London (UEL). He is also an honorary senior research associate at University College London (UCL). Over the past 15 years, Dr. Ivtzan has run seminars, lectures, workshops and retreats in the UK and around the world, at various educational institutions and at private events. He is a regular keynote speaker at conferences. He published several books, as well as many journal papers and book chapters. His main areas of research are positive psychology, mindfulness, and spirituality. Dr. Ivtzan is confident that mindfulness meditation has the power to change individuals – in fact, whole societies – for the better. Accordingly, he has been investing much time in studying mindfulness academically, writing books about it, teaching it, and training mindfulness teachers. He is the author/co-author of:

-           Awareness is Freedom: The Adventure of Psychology and Spirituality

-           Mindfulness in Positive Psychology: The Science of Meditation and Wellbeing

-           Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life

-           Applied Positive Psychology: Integrated Positive Practice

 

If you wish to get additional information about his work or contact him, please visit www.AwarenessisFreedom.com




Shannon Polly

Workshop 5:

Present Positive:  How Coaches and Their Clients Can Leverage the Psychology of Presence to Improve their Performance

Half Day: Morning Workshop


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Abstract

Social scientists have researched for decades how people influence each other, through words and body language.  This workshop will take coaches through both influencing verbally and non-verbally; internal and external presence; presence of self as coach and tools to share with their clients to build presence. 

Are you a coach who wants a new somatic approach to coaching?  A coach who is interested in giving speeches or presentations?  A coach who has clients who have challenges with their presence and you aren’t sure how to direct them?

It’s a common myth that you either have ‘executive presence’ – that essence that helps you to command a room – or you don’t. There are tangible techniques and exercises you can do to cultivate that presence…and they can be taught. This workshop deviates from traditional presentation skills training and translates the skills of the theatre to both coaches – how they can manage their own presence when being with their clients; and coaching clients – how to help them if they are struggling to convey presence.  The approach is from two vantage points - the external and the internal aspects of presence.

Externally, we will address aligning spoken messages with unspoken ones in the workshop by focusing on the external aspects of presence: posture (standing and seated), breathing, voice, eye contact, gestures, movement, and body positioning.  To focus on the internal aspects of presence we will take participants through a process to discover their “super-objective”. In acting, this is the through line of the character, the over-riding urge or drive or need that motivates every one of the character’s actions. To affect other people, and thus to affect change in your own life, you need verbs, action words, to lead to change.

 A coach’s objectives of the session will be tracked through the ICF’s core competencies and PCC markers.  Time will be given to work on how to help a client establish their life’s super-objective and sub-objectives for their goals and conversations. 

Shannon Polly, as a MAPP graduate, a professional actor and a PCC certified coach from Georgetown, blends her backgrounds to create an experiential workshop with practical tools coaches can take away and use


Biography

Shannon Polly was one of the first 100 people in the world to receive her Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the dynamic facilitator, sought after speaker and founder of Shannon Polly + Associates. Shannon has spent the last nine years translating her Yale acting training into designing training and coaching that engages employees and helps them leverage their strengths for higher performance.  She is a faculty member of the University of Texas Dallas’ coaching program and a board member of the Metro DC International Coach Federation.

She is also passionate about bringing the science of resilience to help mitigate the stress of our busy lives. Shannon was chosen to be a part of the groundbreaking facilitation team for the U.S. Army’s Master Resiliency Training.  She has trained over 1,000 Army sergeants in psychological resilience at Army bases all over the country. Shannon is the co-editor of the new book Character Strengths Matter:  How to Live a Full Life.  All profits from Character Strengths Matter go to support a scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is an honors graduate of Yale College, a coaching graduate from Georgetown University.




Margarita Tarragona, Ph.D.

Workshop 6:

Stories for human flourishing: incorporating narrative practices in positive psychology work

Half Day: Afternoon Workshop


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Abstract

In this workshop we will learn how exploring people´s life stories through the lens of positive psychology can help them strengthen their relationships, reconnect with their values, progress towards their goals and find more meaning. It is theoretical and practical, and we will do many experiential exercises that participants can apply in their life and work.

Biography 

Margarita Tarragona is a psychologist who specializes in applying positive psychology in the helping professions and education. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago, is on the board of directors of IPPA and is an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Positive Psychology of the University of Melbourne. Margarita co-founded and teaches in Grupo Campos Elíseos, is adjunct faculty of the Wholebeing Institute and teaches in the CIPPLA program (Certificate in Positive Psychology, Latin America). Margarita incorporates scientific findings on wellbeing with collaborative and narrative ways of working with people to generate dialogue and expand their life stories. She´s the author of Positive Identities: Positive Psychology and Narrative Practices (2012).



Jan Stanley & Andrew Soren

Workshop 7:

The HOW of Eudaimonia at Work: Creating PERMA-Culture in Your Organization

Half Day: Afternoon Workshop


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Abstract 

In our reshaped, interconnected and hyper-transparent world, HOW we behave at work can be a competitive advantage. This session will help you explore ways you can help your organizations do well by doing good.

Aristotle described that a life well lived was one that strives for eudaimonia: the fulfillment we realize when we bring our highest selves to a meaningful mission. One way we can intentionally design flourishing organizations is by building cultures that enable eudaimonia in our everyday pursuits. Exploring case studies from the facilitators work with organizations, and diving into experiential activities, we’ll use the positive psychology framework of PERMA to explore the HOW of work, identifying the habits, rituals and practices that cultivate more eudaimonia in the workplace.

Biography

Andrew Soren is a Senior Leader within LRN’s Advisory practice where he works with organizations on how to co-create values-based cultures, develop inspirational leadership, and cultivate governance structures that foster freedom. Based in South America, Soren has supported NGOs, non-profits and Fortune 500 corporations across the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

 

Soren joined LRN from BMO Financial Group, a global financial institution based in Canada with operations across North America, Europe and Asia, where he spent 13 years working in marketing and human resources, with a focus on global leadership development strategies, brand revitalization and high performance culture. Prior to that, he worked in the arts and culture sector with a focus on philanthropy. Soren is an ICF certified coach and teaches in the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, where he focuses on harnessing evidence based practice to help individuals and organizations thrive.


Jan Stanley is strategist and facilitator who has worked with companies from the Fortune 500 to Silicon Valley, the US Army, NASA and the Harvard Business School, among others, to develop leaders. As a Senior Advisor for LRN, Jan brings deep experience in connecting the learning and development needs of leaders to the values and behaviors that drive business success.

As a financial services executive, Jan was instrumental in the initial designs of governance, leadership and technology solutions for organization-wide ethics and compliance initiatives. Previously Jan was a member of the elite Penn Resilience Team, a group of psychology experts from the University of Pennsylvania who work closely with individuals and organizations to increase mental agility, collaboration and resilience. Jan has also coached leaders as a member of Silicon Valley Change, a global network of leadership and executive coaches who help companies improve performance through increased leadership effectiveness. One of the first 200 people in the world to obtain a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Jan has studied the conditions under which individuals and organizations flourish. Jan has fully integrated this new knowledge into writing, coaching, facilitation and consulting practices.


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