The University of Pennsylvania has announced a $6 million gift to launch the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Paideia Program for undergraduate students.
Known as “Paideia” for short, the program will reimagine the ancient Greek ideal of “paideia” — which translates into “education of the whole person” and “educating citizens” — for the 21st century and beyond, with courses focusing on wellness, service and citizenship.
Beginning in fall 2019, the program will emphasize informed civil discourse and deliberation by encouraging participants to engage productively across ideological divides.
“Among the many aims of a great university, none is more essential than fostering the free exchange of ideas and the robust civil expression of divergent views,” UPenn President Amy Gutmann said. “The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Paideia Program at the University of Pennsylvania will be dedicated to doing just that, and more than that.”
UPenn will begin Paideia as a five-year pilot program, building on and collaborating with existing programs and organizations on the university’s campus. The program will incorporate 12 new courses as well as already existing courses taught by leading UPenn faculty.
For smaller cohorts of student leaders selected as Paideia Fellows, the program will provide a more structured experience. It will also sponsor and cosponsor events designed to model civil, informed and solution-oriented dialogue on contemporary public issues; serve as networking hub for other UPenn programs and organizations that focus on issues of wellness, service and citizenship; and offer internships.
“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is committed to supporting civil discourse, civic engagement and informed leadership, and we believe that educational institutions have a crucial role to play in each,” SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos said. “We are excited to partner with the University of Pennsylvania in helping educate citizens who will contribute to — and have faith in — fair and thriving democracy.”
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, offering grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports and social welfare. Since 1996, the foundation has donated more than $2.75 billion through more than 4,400 grants to nonprofit organizations in 124 countries.
The foundation funds organizations and projects that aim to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.
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