IPPA will award the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, IPPA Fellows, and Dissertation Awards at the
Fourth World Congress on Positive Psychology.

Awards Categories

Christopher Peterson Gold Medal

This award represents the most important honor IPPA bestows. It should be conferred on the member whose career exemplifies the best of positive psychology – at the personal, professional, and academic levels.

Candidates will be asked to submit a CV with publication list in support of their nomination. A medal and $500 award shall be presented to the recipient.

The inaugural Christopher Peterson Gold Medal was awarded to Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., at the Third World Congress on Positive Psychology in 2013.

IPPA Fellows Program

The aim of this award is to confer the title of Fellow on IPPA members who have contributed most significantly to the development of the association and to the scientific advancement of knowledge in their specific field of research or practice within the domain of positive psychology.

The inaugural IPPA Fellows Program class in 2011 honored: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ed Diener, Raymond Fowler, Christopher Peterson, Martin Seligman, and George Vaillant.

Joining them in the class of 2013 were: Shane Lopez, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Nansook Park.

Candidates for the class of 2015 will be asked to submit a CV with publication list in support of their nomination. Certificates shall be presented to the recipients.

IPPA Dissertation Award

This award will be conferred on the author of a Ph.D. dissertation that has been officially passed between March 1, 2013 and February 28, 2015. The research reported in the dissertation should address a topic in the domain of positive psychology.

The candidates will be invited to submit the following documents:

  • A CV with publication list (if available);
  • An extended abstract of the dissertation (3-5 pages)
  • A letter of reference by the tutor / supervisor
  • An electronic copy of the thesis

A certificate and $500 shall be presented to the recipient.

Our inaugural IPPA Dissertation Award winner in 2013 was Claudia Harzer of Universität Zürich, Switzerland, for her dissertation, “Positive Psychology at Work: The Role of Character Strengths for Positive Behavior and Positive Experiences at the Workplace.” Honorable mentions went to Dana Arakawa, Rhea Owens, and Marco Weber.


A number of student scholarships will be offered to currently enrolled full-time students in an accredited university / college who have been accepted to present an oral or poster presentation at the Fourth World Congress.  Recipients will receive a complimentary student registration for the World Congress, and international applicants may be eligible for up to $500 in travel expense reimbursement.  The student scholarship program is overseen by the World Congress planning committee, and full eligibility requirements and application instructions will be available soon.  The exact number of scholarships awarded will be determined by the number of qualified applicants and the amount of funds raised in support of the scholarship program. For more information, visit the student fund page.



To be eligible for one of these IPPA awards, candidates must have an active IPPA membership at the time of their application. Anyone with a professional profile suitable for award consideration may be nominated, but candidates who do not yet have an active IPPA membership will need to join prior to submitting their application.


Nominations for the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, IPPA Fellows Program, and IPPA Dissertation Award have closed. Thank you to everyone who participated.


Identified candidates will be asked whether they would like to accept their nominations soon after the call for nominees close. If they would like to be considered for their respective award, candidates will need to submit an application with their supporting materials by May 10th. Please see the award descriptions for information about the required supporting materials.


All candidate application materials for the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, IPPA Fellows, and IPPA Dissertation Award will be reviewed by the IPPA Awards Committee, chaired this year by Robert Vallerand, Ph.D. Candidates will be notified of their application status in late May, and the award winners will be announced in a ceremony at the Fourth World Congress on Positive Psychology.