11th Biennial International Meaning Conference 2021

From Vulnerability to
Resilience & Wellbeing:
Advances in Existential & Positive Psychology (PP 2.0)

August 5-8, 2021
Location: Novotel, 3 Park Home Ave., Toronto (North York), Ontario, Canada

Register Now

Meaning Conference Postponed

It is unfortunate that we have to postpone Meaning Conference 2020 until next year August 5-8, 2021 because of Covid-19 related travel restrictions. The venue remains the same—Novotel, North York (Toronto). The conference theme remains the same. There may be some changes in keynote speakers because some may not be available in 2021, but we will recruit prominent speakers to replace them. We will post these changes on www.meaning.ca/conference. For those who have already registered, you can either e-mail us at info@meaning.ca to ask for a full refund or keep your registration with us for the same-level registration package for the 2021 conference.

Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

Call for Papers

Submission and scholarship deadline: May 6, 2021

Our Meaning Conference once again rises to the challenge of the times with a world dangerously divided along ideological, economic and racial lines. The enormity and complexities of real-world problems, such as global warming, refugee crisis, growing income gap, and the alarming increases in depression, opioid-related deaths, and suicide, are beyond the scope of any school of psychology and demand a multidisciplinary solution. That’s why, now more than ever, the world needs INPM’s inclusive “Big Tent” approach.

We have chosen the conference theme, because at a time when our vulnerability is laid bare by the external threats and our collective existential crisis, we embrace it as an opportunity to explore and discover new pathways to resilience and wellbeing; this is the basic orientation of existential positive psychology or second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0). PP 2.0 may be defined as the scientific study of meaning, resilience, virtue, and wellbeing, as well as evidence-based applications to improve the life of individuals and society by embracing the dark side of human existence. We welcome researchers and practitioners from all disciplines and theoretical stripes to join us in tackling any of the following areas.

  1. The role of meaning in wellbeing.
  2. The contributions of cultural differences and indigenous psychology to global wellbeing.
  3. The need to confront human suffering as the foundation for wellbeing.
  4. The role of responsibility in personal, institutional, and global wellbeing.
  5. The transformation of shame, guilt, anxiety, and other negative emotions as a means of achieving sustainable happiness.
  6. The role of faith and spirituality in positive mental health.
  7. The positive psychology of sickness, death and dying.
  8. The effect of interactions between positive and negative emotions on wellbeing.
  9. A dialectical mindset in avoiding radicalism and achieving a balance.
  10. Humility and servant leadership in resolving conflicts.
  11. Moral courage in the face of dangers and risks.

The above is only a subset of the vast domain of PP 2.0. All submissions are welcome in any areas related to the adaptive benefits of what is typically considered as undesirable or unprofitable for wellbeing.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions are not restricted to the above conference themes. We welcome submissions on a wide variety of topics related to the broad domains of meaning research and applications, such as resilience, grit, addiction recovery, positive education, life and death education, and psychotherapy. Both qualitative and quantitative presentations are welcome.

Please submit all abstracts to drpaulwong@gmail.com no later than 11:59 PM on May 6, 2021:

  • The email subject line should be “Meaning Conference 2021 Submission | [Author Name(s)]”
  • The attached file(s) should be .docx or .doc (or .rtf for those without Microsoft Word)
  • Minimum 1 and maximum 3 submissions per person
  • Text should be single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-pt font
  • Include author name(s) and affiliation(s), submission title, presentation type, presentation length (if it is a workshop)
  • Please see the presentation types below for further instructions for each presentation type and CE credits

Notice of acceptance will be issued as soon as the review is completed, and no later than June 7, 2021.

Presentation Types


Symposia are 60-minute presentations by 3-5 individuals who address a common theme or topic. Ten minutes should be reserved for questions from the audience. Proposals for symposia should include a 300-word overview and abstracts from the individual participants of about 300 words.

Paper Sessions

Individual oral presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes and will be grouped with other presentations. Individual papers should include a 300-word abstract and an indication of which conference theme(s) apply to it. Your submission may be reviewed for a poster presentation if it cannot fit into a paper session. Please note that invited paper presentations will be 20 minutes.


Workshops may range from 1 to 2 hours. Typically, they involve interaction with participants with a focus on interventions. Workshop proposals should include a 500-word overview and a 250-word biography which includes the presenter’s education and professional experience.


Poster submissions should include a 300-word abstract. Posters will be displayed on 4’ x 3’ (121cm x 91cm) poster boards.

CE Credits

If you seek CE Credits, please include a 250-word biography for each presenter as well as the learning objectives of your submission.

Keynote Speakers

Blaine Fowers, PhD

Blaine Fowers, Ph.D. is Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Miami. He conducts theoretical and empirical investigations of virtue and flourishing. Fowers has written or co-written six books, including Frailty, Suffering, and Vice: Flourishing in the Face of Human Limitations (2017, APA), The Evolution of Ethics: Human Sociality and the Emergence of Ethical Mindedness (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), Virtue and Psychology (2005, APA), Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness (2000, Jossey Bass), and Re-Envisioning Psychology (1999, Jossey Bass). He and his research team study virtues, higher order goals, and their links to choiceworthy goods and human flourishing. Fowers has published over 100 peer reviewed articles, books, and book chapters. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham, England in 2016. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a recipient of the Joseph B. Gittler Award for Contributions to the Philosophical Foundations of Psychology.

Darcia Narvaez, PhD

My life has been an adventure through many careers. I am still growing. My academic scholarship has moved from work on nonconscious moral rationality (in the 1990s), to moral character education in the schools (late 1990s- early 2000s), to the neurobiology of moral development (mid 2000s to present), to the study of evolved parenting practices (presently), and the study of small-band hunter-gatherers who represent the type of society in which humans evolved (presently). All this comes together in a moral developmental systems theory that emphasizes the ongoing epigenetic plasticity of how we develop our humanity and our morality. We are co-constructed by our families and our experiences. My concerns are for developmental optimization and fulfilling human potential—actionable communal imagination.  I put some of this together in various articles and chapters but mostly in my 2014 book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom. All my careers aim at discovering what it means to be human, to develop and use one’s talents, to give more than take from Life, and to live a virtuous life. 

Robert A. Emmons, PhD

Dr Robert EmmonsDr. Emmons is Professor of Psychology at UC Davis (Davis, California). His research is in the field of personality psychology, emotion psychology, and psychology of religion. He has written or edited 6 books and over 100 articles for scientific journals. He is Editor-In-Chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. Emmons’ research examines the psychology of gratitude and the psychology of individual goal setting and their connection with positive outcomes in a person’s life. He was involved in a $905,000 research grant from the Templeton Foundation during 2006-2009 evaluating the effect of Young Life (a Christian youth ministry) on teens’ spiritual fruits such as kindness, generosity, and selflessness, and has received other grants from them. Emmons is known for working on multiple research projects focused on gratitude. He addresses many ways to stay grateful in different situations and has found through his research that gratefulness inspires happiness. He is focused on finding ways to engender gratefulness in youth. He has found that practicing acts of gratitude such as journaling things for which one is grateful for can promote wellbeing.

Corey Lee M. Keyes, PhD

Dr Cory Keyes My areas of expertise include social psychology and mental health. My research centers on illuminating the “two continua” model of health and illness, showing how the absence of mental illness does not translate into the presence of mental health, and revealing that the causes of true health are often distinct processes from those now understood as the risks for mental illness. This work is being applied to better understanding resilience, prevention of mental illness, and informs the growing healthcare approach called “Predictive Health,” which monitors the presence of positive physical and mental health and to develop and apply responses to correct early losses of it to maintain health and limit disease and illness. I have and continue to work on healthcare transformation and public mental health with governmental agencies in Canada, Northern Ireland, Australia, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

Kirk J. Schneider, PhD

Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and leading spokesperson for contemporary existential-humanistic psychology. Dr. Schneider is the current president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI), Council Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), past president (2015-2016) of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the APA, recent past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (2005-2012), and adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Schneider is also an Honorary Member of the Society for Existential Analysis and the East European Association for Existential Therapy.  A Fellow of the APA, Dr. Schneider has published over 200 articles, interviews and chapters and has authored or edited 13 books including The Spirituality of Awe, The Polarized Mind, Awakening to Awe, The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, Existential-Humanistic therapy, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, and the Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy. Dr. Schneider’s work has been featured in Scientific American, the New York Times, Psychology Today and many other health and psychology outlets. For more information on Dr. Schneider’s work visit https://kirkjschneider.com.

Tim Lomas, PhD

Dr Tim Lomas

Dr. Tim Lomas has been a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London since April 2013. Tim completed his PhD at the University of Westminster in 2012, where his thesis focused on the impact of meditation on men’s mental health. Since 2013, Tim has published numerous papers and books on topics including positive psychology theory, mindfulness, Buddhism, linguistics, and gender. His work has been featured in articles in prominent publications including Scientific American, The New Yorker, and The Psychologist. His main research currently involves creating a lexicography of untranslatable words relating to wellbeing (www.drtimlomas.com/lexicography).

Gordon L. Flett, PhD

Dr Gordon FlettDr. Flett is most recognized for his seminal contributions to research and theory on the role of perfectionism in psychopathology. His collaborative work with Dr. Paul Hewitt of the University of British Columbia on perfectionism has received widespread national and international attention and has been the subject of numerous media stories, including coverage on CTV, CNN, and the BBC. This work has been supported by major research grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Other current research interests include the study of feelings of mattering to others in health and wellbeing. Also, in keeping with his interest in adjustment across the lifespan, Dr. Flett is conducting programmatic research on the nature and correlates of suicidality in the elderly. Dr. Flett holds a Canada Research Chair in Personality & Health.

Louis Hoffman, PhD

Dr Louis Hoffman

Dr Hoffman is a widely recognized author, professor, scholar, therapist, and speaker. He is a psychologist in private practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association. Dr. Hoffman is a past president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the Society of Humanistic Psychology). An accomplished scholar, he serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Humanistic PsychologyThe Humanistic PsychologistJanus Head, and PsycCRITIQUES: APA Review of Books. He is a co-founder of the International Institute of Existential-Humanistic Psychology (IIEHP). Through the IIEHP and the China Institute of Psychotherapy, Dr. Hoffman provides training in certificate programs on humanistic and existential psychotherapy in China. In 2015, Dr. Hoffman was recognized as a fellow of the American Psychological Association, which is granted to individuals for “unusual and outstanding contribution or performance in the field of psychology.” He is also a fellow of three divisions of the American Psychological Association including the Society for Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32), the Society for General Psychology (APA Division 1), Society for the Study of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts (APA Division 10), and Division 52 (International Psychology).

Farooq Naeem, PhD

Dr. Farooq Naeem is the Chief of General and Health Systems Psychiatry at CAMH, and a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He was trained in Psychiatry in Merseyside training scheme in Liverpool, England. He completed his MSc in Research Methods in Health and PhD at the Southampton University in England. He also received training in Lean thinking and in quality improvement in England. Dr. Naeem is also a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. In addition to cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for common mental health disorders, he received training in CBT for psychosis from Professor David Kingdon while working as his lecturer during training. He has pioneered techniques for culturally adapting CBT. These techniques have been used to adapt CBT for a variety of common and severe mental health problems in South Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and China. He has conducted nearly 20 RCTs along with colleagues from Southampton and Manchester universities in England. He is considered a leader in global mental health. He has a keen interest in health systems. He has worked as an expert in Lean thinking and quality improvement in England, Canada and some low- and middle-income countries. He has written six books and numerous book chapters. He has published more than 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has presented his work at numerous conferences, and has conducted many workshops globally on CBT, especially CBT for psychosis.

His research areas include CBT, psychosis and culture, with an overall aim to improve access to CBT. He has also published on issues related to health services and quality improvement. He works with a team of IT experts, and has developed a CBT-based therapy program – called eGuru – that can be delivered through web and smart phone apps.

Christina Becker, MBA, RP

Christina Becker, MBA, RP is a recipient of a Diploma of Analytical Psychology – a PhD equivalent –  which gives her the designation of Jungian Analyst. She trained for 6 years in the C. G. Jung Institute (Zurich, Switzerland) and found meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in exploring Jung’s ideas and experiences.

In addition to her Jungian training, she studied astrology at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London, England, and with Liz Greene through the Astrodeinst seminars in Zürich. She is a member of the Canadian Association for Sandplay Therapy and has actively completed her certification in this modality.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music composition and has an active interest in sound healing and music. Her post-graduate degree was an MBA in non-profit management. She continues to be a successful organizational consultant to the non-profit sector. She is also a principal in a small family business Becker Associates.

Tayyab Rashid, PhD

Dr. Tayyab Rashid  is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Health & Wellness Centre. For more than 15 years, Dr. Rashid has worked with individuals experiencing complex mental health issues including severe depression, debilitating anxiety, borderline personality disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) using a culturally contextualized strengths-based therapeutic approach.  Dr. Rashid has also worked with individuals experiencing severe trauma, including survivors of Asian Tsunami of 2004, with refugee families and journalists who have worked in high conflict zones and with survivors of mass shootings.

Dr. Rashid has delivered more than fifty invited talks and keynotes and trained mental health professionals and educators internationally. His work has been published in academic journals, included in text books of psychiatry and psychotherapy and been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Maclean’s magazine. He has also been interviewed on CBC Radio. His book Positive Psychotherapy (2018), co-written with Martin Seligman, is considered one of the most comprehensive clinical resources in the field and has been translated into ten languages so far.  Dr. Rashid won the Outstanding Practitioner Award (2017) from the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and Chancellor Award (2018) from the University of Toronto.

Paul T. P. Wong, PhD

Paul T. P. Wong

Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych. is Professor Emeritus of Trent University. He is a Fellow of APA and CPA and President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (www.meaning.ca) and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. Editor of the International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology, he has also edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning. A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists. The originator of Meaning Therapy and International Meaning Conferences, he has been invited to give keynotes and meaning therapy workshops worldwide. He is the recent recipient of the Carl Rogers Award from the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Div. 32 of the APA).


Honey Family FoundationThe concept of second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0) has been in the literature since Wong (2011). Recently, empirical support for the importance of integrating negatives and positives has been reported (Gruber, Mauss, & Tamir, 2011; Ivtzan, Lomas, Hefferon, & Worth, 2015; Lomas & Ivtzan, 2015; Kashdan & Biswas-Diener, 2014; Wong & Roy, 2018).

One of the main conference themes is to explore ways to transform the vulnerability for shame, guilt, and fear to resilience and wellbeing (Wong, 2019a). A related conference theme is that sustainable wellbeing is built on embracing one’s Shadow and the dark side of human existence. Other conference themes related to PP 2.0 include the following:

  • The contributions of cultural differences and indigenous psychology to global wellbeing.
  • The role of responsibility in personal, institutional, and global wellbeing.
  • The role of faith and spirituality in positive mental health.
  • The effect of interactions between positive and negative emotions on wellbeing.
  • A dialectical mindset in avoiding extremes and achieving a balanced life.

PP 2.0 incorporates existential positive psychology and indigenous psychology. This scholarship contest is to encourage graduate students to get involved in the exciting and ongoing development of positive psychology. All submissions need to be related to some aspects of PP 2.0 as defined in Wong (2019b); submissions may be based on empirical research, case studies, literature review, or theoretical analysis.


As judged by a panel of adjudicators consisting of Piers Worth, Ph.D., Roger Tweed, Ph.D., and Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., the winners will receive the following scholarships to present at the International Meaning Conference 2021 in Toronto, in addition to waived conference registration.

  • First Prize: CAD $1,000
  • Second Prize: CAD $800
  • Third Prize: CAD $500

As well, three honourable mentions will receive waived conference registration for the all-inclusive package (valued at over CAD $500 for students). All six winners will have the opportunity for oral presentations at the conference and subsequent publication in our journal or proceedings.

Winners must become Student Members of the INPM in order to receive the prize at the conference. Click here for membership registration.

Winners will be notified before May 26, 2021.


All graduate students are invited to submit their papers to drpaulwong@gmail.com no later than 11:59 PM on May 6, 2021:

  1. The email subject line should be “Meaning Conference 2021 Scholarship | Author Name(s)”
  2. The attached file(s) should be .docx or .doc (or .rtf for those without Microsoft Word)
  3. Text should be single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-pt font
  4. The paper should be 1,000 words with a 200-word abstract
  5. The submission should be authored by either (a) one graduate student OR (b) one graduate student as the first author and a supervisor as the second author


Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good. Perspectives on Psychological Science6(3), 222-233. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691611406927

Ivtzan, I., Lomas, T., Hefferon, K., & Worth, P. (2015). Second wave positive psychology: Embracing the dark side of life. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kashdan, T., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2014). The upside of your dark side. New York, NY: Plume.

Lomas, T., & Ivtzan, I. (2015). Second wave positive psychology: Exploring the positive-negative dialectics of wellbeingJournal of Happiness Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9668-y

Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good lifeCanadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(2), 69. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022511

Wong, P. T. P. (2019a, March 23). Let your vulnerability be your strength. Positive Living in Difficult Times. Retrieved from https://www.meaning.ca/article/let-your-vulnerability-be-your-strength/

Wong, P. T. P. (2019b, July 31). Second wave positive psychology’s (PP. 2.0) contribution to counselling psychology. Retrieved from http://www.drpaulwong.com/second-wave-positive-psychologys-contribution-to-counselling-psychology/

Wong, P. T. P., & Roy, S. (2018). Critique of positive psychology and positive interventions. In N. J. L. Brown, T. Lomas, & F. J. Eiroa-Orosa (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of critical positive psychology. London, England: Routledge.


It was truly a pleasure finally meeting you both… The presentation was well done and informative – kudos to both of you! … Thank you so much for your time and for allowing me the opportunity to experience firsthand your wisdom and kindness.
Don Laird, M.S., NCC, LPC
Psychotherapist & Owner, Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates

Thank you SO MUCH for allowing me to participate in this wonderful weekend-long journey into meaning. I learned so much and plan on continuing to develop my coaching niche around the concepts and models you taught this weekend. With profound gratitude!
Karen Henry, M.A.
Owner, Henry Healing

Thank you for the great learning and sharing during this weekend.
Zheni Nasi, B.A.
Recent Graduate, York University

It was fantastic … there was still so much rich content. … I so appreciate the holistic approach you and Lilian bring, acknowledging, encompassing, and embracing both tragedies and triumph. And what I am also grateful for, what possibly some of the other participants don’t know, is that this is not mere theory, but values that both you and Lilian live out. I am a witness and beneficiary of your kindness and gracious hope.
Dean Davey, Ph.D. Candidate
Vice President for Student Development, Pacific Life Bible College

Thanks again for hosting such a great weekend to explore MiL and MT at your Summer Institute. You are both very inspirational to us on many levels.
Scott McCready
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Mobile Health Network

Thank you for a terrific and re-affirming conference!
Ronald Seletsky, M.Ed., LSW, LMHC
Associate Director of Mental Health Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Tewksbury Hospital