Interdisciplinary conferences on human flourishing

As part of its mission, the Human Flourishing Program hosts annual conferences and workshops that bring together scholars in the humanities and social sciences to integrate knowledge on topics central to human flourishing. Conference topics are selected based on the current research interests of the program.

On April 19th - 20th, 2019 we hosted a international interdisciplinary conference on the meaning of life. If you would like to see some of the talks from that conference, you may view them on the Human Flourishing YouTube Channel.

Past Conferences

2019 - Meaning of Life

In April, 2019, the Human Flourishing Program hosted an interdisciplinary conference on the Meaning of Life in the Tsai Auditorium on Harvard's campus. The conference featured over 200 attendees and a distinguished list of international speakers. As a result of the conference, the Human Flourishing program has launched a new comprehensive measure of meaning and purpose in life. 

Conference Presenters
Conference presenters included Roy Baumeister, Thaddeus Metz, Crystal Park, Michael Steger, Samantha Heintzelman, Frank Martela, Joshua Hicks, Joshua Seachris, Jeffrey Hanson, and Charles Taliaferro.

meaning of life conference

2018 - Well-Being Workshop

Interdisciplinary Workshop on Happiness, Well-Being and Measurement

Dates: April 5-6, 2018
The Human Flourishing Program, in conjunction with the Center for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, hosted an interdisciplinary workshop on the topic of well-being measurement. Rather than focusing on the eudaimonic versus hedonic measurement debates of the past, the conference participants focused principally on how best to provide thoughtful guidance on ways that approaches to measurement might vary by context: e.g., government surveys vs. psychology well-being studies vs. an employer vs. large public health cohorts. Participants also discussed how to make progress in knowledge in the face of the proliferation of measures. In addition to sessions being led by leading sociologists and psychologists, the conference included panels led by philosophers and theologians on the ways that perspectives from these disciplines can inform well-being measurement.

Workshop Presenters
Workshop presenters included Paul Allin, Anne Baril, Colin Farrelly, Guy Fletcher, Corey Keyes, Matt Killingsworth, William Lauinger, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Seth Margolis, Neil Messer, Susanna Rinard, Carol Ryff, Louis Tay, Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald, Tyler VanderWeele,  and Mark Wynn.

2017 - Conference on Suffering

Interdisciplinary Conference on Suffering

Date: January 3-6, 2017

The Human Flourishing Program hosted an interdisciplinary conference on suffering in Rome, Italy. The conference brought together philosophers, theologians, clinicians, and empirical researchers on the topic of suffering. The conference papers will be published in an edited volume.

2016 - Religion and Health Symposium

Symposium on Religion and Health

Date: December 2, 2016

The Human Flourishing Program hosted a one-day symposium in Boston, MA at Harvard’s Medical School and T.H. Chan School of Public Health on “Religion and Health From Public Health to the End of Life: Current Research and Critical Issues of Practice.” More information about the conference program including videos is available on the conference site:

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