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Steve Leventhal

CEO of CorStone

Since joining CorStone as Chief Executive Officer in 2008, Steve Leventhal has focused on helping some of the world’s most marginalized and economically disadvantaged populations to find their personal strengths, advocate for their rights, and become agents of positive societal change. Through Steve's passionate leadership, CorStone’s evidence-based positive psychology and resilience-based programs have reached over 100,000 youth and women living in poverty in India, Kenya, Rwanda, and the US. Steve oversees all strategic planning, global program development, external relations, and operations for the organization.  During Steve’s tenure, CorStone has pioneered the development, implementation, and scale-up of some of the first resilience and positive psychology programs delivered in low and middle-income countries.


Steve holds a BA in Psychology and Asian Studies from Washington University, St. Louis, MO, and an MPA with an emphasis in organizational psychology and conflict management from The Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. He holds a 4th-degree black belt in the martial art of Aikido.


Steve received the Outstanding Practitioner Award at the 2019 World Congress of Positive Psychology, awarded bi-annually to a practitioner who has shown outstanding excellence and impact in advancing the practices of positive psychology in ethical and evidence-based ways.

>Presentation Topic: A Call to Action: Positive Education for Vulnerable Youth in Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries in the time of COVID-19

According to a recent United Nations report, the COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in over 190 countries, and impacting up to 99 percent of the student population in low and lower-middle income countries (LMICs; United Nations, 2020). Threats to the safety, wellbeing, economic security, health, nutrition and education of youth, particularly girls, in LMICs are already increasing rapidly and will likely continue even after the crisis has abated--potentially erasing decades of progress and exacerbating pre-existing disparities.


What role does positive education have to play in supporting the resilience and wellbeing of students and teachers during COVID-19 and beyond in LMICs?


This keynote discusses our obligation as leaders, practitioners, and researchers to respond to the crisis and describes concrete steps that can be taken to ensure that positive education contributes both to alleviating the suffering of vulnerable students now, and to building skills and supports they can utilize in the future. Weaving insights from a CorStone study of teacher experiences during COVID-19 in India, as well as previewing a remotely-delivered positive education program that can be accessible to vulnerable youth in LMICs, this talk aims to provide a vision of the potential of positive education beyond the WEIRD populations the field has traditionally served (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic; Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010).

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