The past two decades have seen a significant influx of research and discourse on character development, from Martin Seligman identifying 24 universal character strengths, to David Brooks’s best-selling book on the importance of humility. But through the production of our film The Science of Character, and the launching of Character Day, a global day of events focused on character, we’ve discovered that these conversations are siloed. Educators are over here; scientists are over there; theologians are on another floor; and the bulk of humanity is not engaged at all.
Over the next three years, we propose to bring these conversations together, amplify the messages of each, and illuminate where the different perspectives (science, philosophy, religion, and more) differ and where they overlap. To do so we will organize three annual Character Days consisting of thousands of events around the globe, totaling an estimated 18,000 events, where groups screen films, engage with discussion materials and tools based on vetted research from established partners, and join a live global conversation through Google Hangout. We will also create an online curated resource hub to use year-round, updated continuously with new films, research, and topics. We will keep audiences engaged by regularly disseminating these materials and will work with a research firm to continuously collect and evaluate quantitative and qualitative impact.
There is a deep need to create an online space that brings these conversations together -- something that does not currently exist -- and makes the research and ideas generated from all disciplines more accessible and engaging to everyone, whether they are already engaged with character education or not. Coupled with a global day to galvanize energy, press, and a conversation, we will amplify the discussion across disciplines and across borders, and engage over one million people in a conversation about understanding our potential as humans.