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Carol Graham Opens W&L Seminar Series on Happiness

The first visiting speaker in Washington and Lee’s year-long “Questioning the Good Life” interdisciplinary seminar series is Carol Graham, College Park Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Her talk will be Thursday, Sept. 13, at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of the speech, which is open to the public, is “Happiness around the World: Happy Peasants, Miserable Millionaires, and Questions for Policy.”  The series will examine our national obsession with happiness during the 2012-13 academic year.

Graham is also senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). She is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness (Brookings Press, 2011), which considered happiness as a national performance indicator.

Graham has written more than five books including Happiness around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires and Safety Nets, Politics and the Poor: Transitions to Market Economies, among others. She has co-written Happiness and Hardship: Opportunity and Insecurity in New Market Economies, among others.

She is the author of articles in journals including The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Health Affairs, World Economics and the Journal of Happiness Studies. Graham offers a wide-ranging and thorough overview of what researchers in economies and psychology know about happiness.

Graham, born in Lima, Peru, has an A.B. from Princeton University, an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a Ph.D. from Oxford.

“Questioning the Good Life” will feature six visiting speakers during the year, each of whom is recognized as a leader in the respective discipline (economics, literature, philosophy, psychology/sociology, neuroscience and business). The speakers will bring their considerable insight and expertise to bear on the topic of happiness. Five W&L faculty members teamed up to plan the series.