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

In the News

Systemic racism and its impact on health and wellness

The fifth of 13 conversations in Penn’s ‘Racism and Anti-Racism in Contemporary America’ preceptorial highlighted racial health disparities and discussed policies that could support a more equitable future.

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From the Blog

Looking up at a large tree

Making Hope Actionable

Asked to give a favorite quote about nature, Elizabeth Main, sustainability coordinator for Penn Sustainability, refers to a Chinese Proverb. "The best time to plan a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now." Implicit in the quote is the urgency of our response to deforestation and climate change more generally. Equally implicit, however, is the hope that by the single, clear, definable action of “planting a tree,” we can be part of positive change.Read More
Torn and tattered paper flag
Event Recap

In Search of Political Wellness: Thinking About Individual and Community Healing Across Political Difference

The past few months—from the protracted 2020 election, to the insurrection at the US Capitol building, to the change in tone and direction of the new Biden administration—have led to a range of emotional reactions. The SNF Paideia Program, in collaboration with Penn Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Wellness at Penn, Fox Leadership, and PORES created a wellness focused event to acknowledge the emotional toil and find ways to think about accountability and action as the country moves forward into 2021. Giving attention to individual and community wellness moment may need to foreground dialogue across political difference in this particularly intense political moment. The discussion relied on psychological insights from Dr. Batsirai Bvunzawabaya, director of outreach at CAPS, polling and leadership from Andrew Arenge and Sandy Vogel from the Fox Leadership and the PORES programs; and political science insights from Dr. Lia Howard at the SNF Paideia program.Read More

Listening to Birds Provides Answers

A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. ~Maya Angelou According to Maya Angelou birds sing not to solve life’s mysteries but simply because they have a song to share. Yet even though birds may not intend to provide answers when they sing, often they do.Read More

Upcoming Events

Mar 16

The Education System: Higher Education

Panel Conversation for Racism and Anti-Racism in Contemporary America "The Education System: Higher Education" Panelists: Camille… Read More
Mar 18

The Power of the Open Mind: How Viewpoint Diversity Makes You Smarter and Stronger

Join us for an online conversation with social psychologist, Dr. Jonathan Haidt. Dr. Jonathan Haidt of New York University is author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. He is the co-founder of Heterodox Academy and OpenMind.Read More
Mar 18

Race, Class and Privilege: How Latino Jews Navigate Life in the United States

Using a comparative perspective to understand the lived experiences of Latino Jews in the United States, this talk explains how this group of immigrants attain upward mobility by successfully navigating racial and class structures.Read More

In the News

Professor Angela Duckworth teaching her class Grit Lab
In the News

Penn’s pre-professional culture is the enemy of passion

In a recent Penn in Washington event, Ariana Berengaut, a former State Department speechwriter, quoted a remarkable statistic: nearly half… Learn More
Democratic and Republican Symbols
In the News

The Future of Conservatism

The aftermath of Donald Trump’s election loss, the insurrection by his supporters at the United States Capitol, and the subsequent… Learn More
Zoom screen shot of Stacey Abrams and Ben Jealous
In the News

A conversation with Stacey Abrams

After Stacey Abrams lost the 2018 Georgia governor’s race, she said she was “the saddest I’ve ever been and the most worthless I’ve… Learn More

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