ICAP 2017

Keynote Speeches


Prof. Martin Seligman

Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center

Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology

Director of the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology program (MAPP)

Known as the founder of Positive Psychology, Prof. Martin Seligman is a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism. He is also a recognised authority on interventions that prevent depression, build strengths and well-being. Prof. Seligman has written more than 250 scholarly publications and 20 books, while they have been translated into more than twenty languages and have been bestsellers both in the USA and abroad. Among his better-known works are Flourish, Authentic Happiness, Learned Optimism, The Optimistic Child, Helplessness, and Abnormal Psychology. His book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, was co-authored with Christopher Peterson.


In 1998, Prof. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association. His primary aim as the APA President was to join practice and science together so they both might flourish – a goal that has dominated his own life as a psychologist. Since 2000, his main mission has been the promotion of the field of Positive Psychology. Prof. Seligman is expanding Positive Psychology to education, health, and neuroscience, and has applied his research to groups like teachers and students, the U.S. Army, athletes, and everyday people. His goal is to make the world happier.


Prof. Seligman was born in Albany, NY and received his B.A. from Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude (Philosophy) – 1964; Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (Psychology) – 1967; Ph.D., Honoris Causa, Uppsala University, Sweden – 1989; Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, Massachusetts College of Professional Psychology – 1997; Ph.D., Honoris Causa, Complutense University, Spain – 2003; and Ph.D., Honoris Causa, University of East London – 2006.


Prof. Seligman lives with his wife, Mandy, and their children. As an avid bridge player, he has won over 50 regional championships. He was inspired by Aaron Beck, a renowned psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania and the Father of Cognitive Therapy.