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Alejandro Adler

Research Scholar, Center for Sustainability Development at Columbia University

Originally from Mexico, Dr. Adler has a B.A. in psychology, a B.Sc. in economics, an M.A. in psychology, and a Ph.D. in psychology, all from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Center for Sustainability Development at Columbia University, Dr. Adler served as Director of International Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, and previously as lead researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a think tank dedicated to channeling philanthropic funds to where they can have the highest social impact. He frequently advises international organizations, including The World Bank, The United Nations, the OECD, among others. He is currently one of 60 members of the United Nation's International Well-being Expert Group, and has published a number of articles in both scholarly and non-academic outlets. He frequently speaks at international conferences and gatherings.

Alejandro Adler directs CSD's well-being science and policy initiatives. His research and policy work focus on well-being, education, skills, sustainable development, and public policy. Currently, Dr. Adler is working with international organizations and with the governments of various countries, including Paraguay, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Mexico, Peru, UAE, Australia, Jordan, and Colombia to infuse education systems in these countries with skills-based teacher training, curriculum development, technology use, and, financing; to measure the impact of these interventions on youth well-being and long-term life outcomes; and to ultimately empirically inform and systematically transform education systems to advance social development. 

>Presentation Topic: Education, Well-being, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

In September of 2015, the 193 member countries of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our research shows that SDG 4 (Health and Well-being) contributes to SDG 3 (Quality Education). Beyond showing results and data for this causal relationship, new data show that students who have received well-being skills training have more well-being resilience during the current global COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, we have new data showing that well-being contributes to other SDGs beyond SDG 3, and vice-versa -- that the SDGs provide a public policy pathways towards well-being governments and societies. This calls for a new global development paradigm based on well-being as both the mechanisms and outcome variables, a new paradigm towards global human flourishing, particularly during the unprecedented challenges that humanity is currently facing.

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