Educating the whole person

How Do I Pronounce Paideia?

Integrating Wellness, Service, and Citizenship Through Dialogue

παιδεία (Paideia) is an ancient Greek word meant to capture the moral, intellectual, and physical education of an ideal member of the Athenian city-state—that is, “educating the whole person.” It is also translated as “educating citizens,” since they saw private and public lives as inseparable. This vision of education and citizenship was limited to a minority of the population, however. Through the intellectual and financial support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the SNF Paideia Program reimagines a more inclusive and equitable version of this ancient Greek approach to education, serving as a hub for civic dialogue in undergraduate education at Penn. In collaboration with other Penn programs and organizations, SNF Paideia provides curricular and co-curricular opportunities for all students to develop the knowledge, skills, and ethical frameworks necessary to be informed, engaged, and effective community members, and to lead fulfilling and integrated personal, professional, and civic lives.

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Courses for the holistic student.

SNF Paideia designated courses, designed and taught by faculty from all of Penn’s twelve Schools, integrate students’ personal, professional, and civic development. Open to all Penn undergraduates, these courses focus on dialogue, wellness, service, and citizenship from different disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

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SNF Paideia Fellows.

While individual Paideia courses are designed to be taken by any of Penn’s 10,000 undergraduates, the program also provides a more structured and immersive experience for a select number of SNF Paideia Fellows.

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Connecting theory and practice.

In addition to courses, fellowships, and events, SNF Paideia serves as the home for several co-sponsored initiatives that connect classroom learning with real-world dialogue and public problem-solving.

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The Latest from SNF Paideia


Integrating Academic, Civic, and Personal Passions through the Fellows Program

Spending time between her hometown of Little Rock, AR and her grandparents’ home in Huntsville, AR, Celia Kreth (C’23) grew up experiencing the differences between urban and rural lifestyles. Looking back, she can see how this exposure to divergent cultural views fostered a deep appreciation for history, communication styles, and the impact that specific word choice may have on the outcome of a situation.

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From the Blog

book cover

A Book Club Where You Don't have to Read the Book to Feel Included in the Conversation

Nineteenth surgeon general of the United States Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, traveled the nation to contextualize loneliness. He listened to voices often unheard, met with change-makers, and started a wellness group with friends. His findings toward a connected life served as a starting point toward a conversation on empathy in this year's SNF Paideia fellows’ book club.Read More
center ring with woven spokes

Friendship and Our Emotional Core

“…the comfort, calm and emotional energy we gain from all supportive friendships strengthen our emotional core. And the stronger we are at the center, the more we have to offer everyone else in our lives.” Vivek Murthy, from "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World." When we are emotionally strengthened by bidirectional relationships, we can be fully present to give to other people. Beyond just giving to our friends, we are better able to give to our broader communities. In this way, having inner strength allows us to better contribute to the work of social change.Read More
student in biology lab

Educating Community Oriented Biologists

Cell biology, plant science, and neurobiology were all areas of study undertaken by students in the SNF Paideia designated course Research in Biological Sciences and its Social Impact. Projects were grounded in scientific inquiry with an added community focus.Read More

Upcoming Events

In the News

students, faculty, and staff standing in group
Press Release

SNF Paideia Program Expands, Thanks to New Grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

“The SNF Paideia Program has been a tremendous resource for students to obtain the knowledge and skills to foster lives of citizenship,… Learn More
students on campus praying
In the News

Hundreds of Muslim students at Penn celebrate Ramadan on campus

Hundreds of Muslim students at Penn observed the holy month with community dinners and prayers in the first fully on-campus Ramadan in years.Learn More
In the News

Engaging in intersectional conversations on race and racism

As heated discourse and targeted legislation take hold across the United States on issues from critical race theory, abortion access, and… Learn More

Apply for a fellowship.

Students may apply or be nominated for an SNF Paideia Fellowship in the spring semester of their first year. Applications are due Sunday, February 27.

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