The Penn SNF Paideia team, members of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, with honoree SNF Paideia Inaugural Faculty Director Michael Delli Carpini at the January 29th SNF Paideia Program celebration at Sweeten Alumni House. Photo by Constance Mensh.[/caption]
A celebration of the SNF Paideia Program took place on Monday, January 29, 2024 at Sweeten Alumni House in honor of SNF Paideia Inaugural Faculty Director Michael X. Delli Carpini. Friends and colleagues across the university, Penn Interim President Dr. J. Larry Jameson, members of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, faculty, fellows, and Program staff were in attendance.
Dr. Delli Carpini, named Faculty Director of Penn’s SNF Paideia Program in 2019, is the Oscar H. Gandy Emeritus Professor of Communication & Democracy at the Annenberg School for Communication.
Remarks were made by Penn Interim President J. Larry Jameson; SNF Paideia Faculty Director Sigal Ben-Porath; SNF Paideia Executive Director Leah Anderson; Global Co-Director of Programs Casey Russo, Stavros Niarchos Foundation; and SNF Paideia Fellows Brinn Gamer and Zachary Koung. Penn’s music group c0mbo4, with SNF Paideia Fellow Isaac Gateno on piano, added to the festive atmosphere of the evening.
At the event, Delli Carpini was given an olive tree sculpture as a gift of gratitude on behalf of SNF Paideia’s team and the university. The metal olive tree sculpture from the SNF Cultural Center in Athens, created by artist Dimitris Korovesis, is both a nod to the olive trees and gardens surrounding the center, and an ancient Greek symbol of peace and friendship.
In his speech, Delli Carpini recognized several organizations that the SNF Paideia program has learned from and partnered with, including the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies (PORES), Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, and Civic House.
“I’m proud of the work that I was able to accomplish,” Delli Carpini said. “This could not have happened without the help, and involvement, and creativity, and commitment of a whole number of organizations and people,” he said.
Delli Carpini also reflected on the program’s current relevance, saying it was “needed when it was founded five years ago” and “needed even more now.”
“This is a real fraught moment that we’re in,” he said. “But I think this program will play an important role in the future of Penn and hopefully beyond Penn.”
The SNF Paideia Program, founded in 2019 with a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), reimagines the ancient Greek ideal of paideia—“education of the whole person”—to provide Penn undergraduate students with the skills, knowledge, ethics, and experiences to integrate their civic identities with their personal and professional identities and to understand how their individual well-being is inseparable from the well-being of the communities to which they belong. In particular, the program’s courses and events encourage Penn students to lead informed and respectful dialogue on contentious issues facing the nation and the world, even across ideological, cultural, and demographic divides.