Dr. Jean Houston, scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities, is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time. She is long regarded as one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement.
“In our time we have come to the stage where the real work of humanity begins. It is the time where we partner Creation in the creation of ourselves, in the restoration of the biosphere, the regenesis of society and in the assuming of a new type of culture; the culture of Kindness. Herein, we live daily life reconnected and recharged by the Source, so as to become liberated and engaged in the world and in our tasks.”
In 1965, along with her husband Dr. Robert Masters, Dr. Houston founded The Foundation for Mind Research. She was also the founder and principal teacher of the Mystery School, a school of human development, a program of cross-cultural, mythic and spiritual studies, dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the New Physics, psychology, anthropology, myth and the many dimensions of human potential. The school continued from 1984 until 2012 and took place on both the East and West Coasts. She also leads an intensive program in social artistry with leaders coming from all over the world to study with Dr. Houston and her distinguished associates. This program in innovative leadership strategies is now in its 13th year and is under the auspices of the Jean Houston Foundation. She is also the Founder as well as the Program Director of the International Institute for Social Artistry.
A prolific writer and author of 27 books including “ A Passion for the Possible”, “Search for the Beloved”, “Life Force”, “The Possible Human”, “Public Like a Frog”, “A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story”, and “Manual of the Peacemaker” . One highly regarded book, “Jump Time” explores a new Global Paradigm and speaks boldly of a regenesis of human society. The questions raised in this book and the exciting suggestion of possibilities are producing new pioneers – Social Artists – working on the frontiers of this new global society
As Advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, she has worked to implement some of their extensive educational and health programs, primarily in Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh. In 1998, Dr. Houston worked with leaders throughout New Zealand to help bring forth that nation’s promise. With other international agencies, she has implemented the social development of indigenous people through the integration of their unique cultural gifts into their health and educational systems. In September of 1999, she traveled to Dharamsala, India as one of the distinguished group chosen to work with the Dalai Lama in an informative and advisory capacity. Her advisory work with the Dalai Lama has continued.
Dr. Houston has also served for two years in an advisory capacity to President and Mrs. Clinton as well as helping Mrs. Clinton write, “It Takes a Village to Raise A child.” As a high school student she worked closely with Mrs. Roosevelt on developing strategies to introduce international awareness and United Nations work to young people. She has also worked with President and Mrs. Carter and counseled leaders in similar positions in many countries and cultures. Currently, she is working with the Ministries and secretariats of Ecuador to help create the “buen viver”, the plentiful society across all social structures. This work will soon be introduced into Peru, Columbia and Bolivia.
She has worked with numerous corporations, including Xerox, Beatrice Foods, General Electric and Rodale Press. She has also worked with governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment and the Department of Energy.
In the early nineties, under the auspices of UNICEF she trained nonmilitary leaders in Myanmar from departments of education, health, agriculture and welfare in her methods. In 1993 she brought in her team to bring new methods of education to Bangladesh (again under the auspices of UNICEF). Her work which she continued to direct through her associates resulted in the establishing of multi modal education in some thousands of schools.
In the past decade she has been working with the United Nations Development Program, training leaders in developing countries throughout the world in the new field of social artistry. To date this training has occurred in Albania, the Eastern Caribbean, Kenya, Nepal, the Maldives and the Philippines. In March of 2007 under the auspices of UN HABITAT AND CITYNET she traveled to Nepal where she trained leaders from 12 Asian countries in the principles of social artistry in order to affect positive gains in the millennium development goals. So effective was this training that she was asked by Dr. Monica Sharma, the Director of Leadership and Capacity Development for the UN, to create an eponymous foundation dedicated to training thousands of people the world over in her techniques in social artistry who, in turn, would train some 100 million people over a period of ten years. In 2007 and 2008, the Jean Houston Foundation was formed and has held many trainings of trainers. To date thousands of trainers are involved especially in Nepal.
Critical training programs are ongoing in Zambia with remarkable results for the betterment of that country.
A past President of the Association of Humanistic Psychology, she has taught philosophy, psychology, and Religion at Columbia University, Hunter College, the New School for Social Research and Marymount College, as well as summer sessions in human development at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of British Columbia. She was Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Oklahoma in that university’s Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program in 1982.
In addition, Dr. Houston presented the William James Lecture at Harvard Divinity School, the Orr Lectures at Wilson, and the Alfred Stiernotte Lecture in Philosophy at Quinnipiac University. She has spoken at hundreds of colleges and universities all over the world. She has directed two three-year courses in human capacities development and, for 30 years a program of cross-cultural mythic and spiritual studies. In 2002 she instituted the first summer Institute in Social Artistry with participants coming from all over the world. In 2014, this ten day program, now in its thirteenth year continues to be very successful in training leaders from all over the world in social artistry. A description of this program can be found in JeanHoustonFoundation.org. This year sees the launching of a new program training young leaders in the skills of social artistry.
She has chaired, among many other academic and scientific convocations, the 1975 United Nations Temple of Understanding Conference of World Religious Leaders. Under the sponsorship of the Department of Commerce, she also helped to initiate and then chaired the 1979 Symposium for leading government policy makers.
Her work has been the core of a great many teaching-learning communities throughout many parts of the world. In 1984, she created a national not-for-profit organization, The Possible Society, to encourage the creation of new ways for people to work together to help solve societal problems. Giving seminars to large groups of citizens in 17 cities throughout North America, she established ongoing teaching-learning communities devoted to the enrichment of their citizens and the betterment of their cities.
In 1985, Dr. Houston was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Association of Teachers Educators. In 1993, she received the Gardner Murphy Humanitarian Award for her work in psychology and the INTA Humanitarian of the Year award. In 1994, she received the Lifetime Outstanding Creative Achievement Award from the Creative Education Foundation. The flowing year, she was given the Keeper of the Lore Award for her studies in myth and culture. In 1997 she was made a Fellow of the World Business Academy and also received the in 1999 she received that Pathfinder award from the Association of Humanistic Psychology. She was given the Millennium award in 2000. In 2011 she was named Spiritual Hero of the year by the Science of Mind magazine.
Her PBS Special, A Passion for the Possible, has been widely shown. Her book drawn from the program was published by Harper San Francisco in August of 1997.
In 2011 two documentary films were made of her life.
She has just accepted the position as Chancellor of Meridian University where she is offering Masters and doctoral programs in social artistry and transformational leadership.
Currently, she has organized some of the world’s leading women thinkers and doers to design a world that works from a woman’s perspective. Beginning in Oxford, UK in 2013, Jean Houston and her co-conveners initiated the process of envisioning an emerging world that is compassionate, inclusive, equitable, creative and beautiful. We are carried forward by our conviction that it is entirely within our means as a species to transcend our current crises and enable the emergence of such a world that works for everyone. And we work as a value enterprise with women and men everywhere to realize our shared vision for the emerging world. To fulfill our purpose we:
· Sow new Visions of the emerging world,
· Crystallize far-sighted Strategies for transforming crises, and allies with enlightened decision makers, and youth and people’s movements to enact them.
· Fuel and Fertilize Women Rising on all continents,
· Create Value and foster beauty through the creativity of women around the planet.
A powerful and dynamic speaker, Houston holds conferences and seminars with social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide. She has worked intensively in 40 cultures helping to enhance and deepen their own uniqueness while they become part of the global community. She has lectured or taught in over 100 countries. She works at all levels of leadership. Her ability to inspire and invigorate people enables her to readily convey her vision – the finest possible achievement of the individual potential. That same ability lets her share with her audiences and students throughout the world, the excitement of that possibility.
Jean Houston holds a B.A. from Barnard College, a Ph.D. in psychology from the Union Graduate School and a Ph.D. in religion from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She has also been the recipient of four honorary doctorates.