Meaning Conference 2008

April 21, 2012

The 5th International Conference on Personal Meaning was held July 24 – 27, 2008 at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto.

The main conference theme was Living Well and Dying Well: New Frontiers of Positive Psychology, Therapy, and Spiritual Care. It addressed the existential/spiritual issues that confront individuals in their journey through life and the character strengths they need to survive and flourish in trying situations.

The event featured many notable speakers including Pamela Wallin, Thomas Attig, Roy Baumeister, Salvatore Maddi, Robert A. Neimeyer, Kirk Schneider, Victor Shepherd, Ernesto Spinelli, Paul Wong, and Jeff Zeig, to name a few.

Download the full conference program here.


From Ryan M. Niemiec, PsyD (Psychologist, Coach, Author, & Workshop Leader)

I want to commend Paul Wong, his wife Lilian, and their entire crew for a successful, well-organized, conference of the International Network on Personal Meaning this past weekend. Some of my personal highlights were Roy Baumeister’s two presentations on his new research on self-regulation, Salvador Maddi’s talk on hardiness research, and Jeff Zeig’s two presentations on resiliency, grief, and clinical work. I would highly recommend those who were not able to attend to consider it in the future.

From Stefan E. Schulenberg, PhD (Associate Professor & Director of Clinical Disaster Research Center, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS)

It was enjoyable to hear so many people discuss their research at the recent Meaning Conference and have the opportunity to further converse with them. As a contributor to Dr. Hart’s symposium, it was also informative to receive feedback on my work with logotherapy as relates to college students and alcohol abuse. The meeting was productive, with numerous opportunities to exchange information.

From Danielle Nahon, PhD (University of Ottawa, ON)

Having attended over 200 academic conferences around the world, your International Meaning Conference held in Toronto this July and August stands out as a unique academic forum. First, this is the only conference of its kind in the world, with an existential, meaning-centred focus. Secondly, I found the level of scholarship to be outstanding. If anything, there was an embarrassment of riches. Every hour there were so many different sessions to choose from, from academic research papers to workshops by invited topics on the timely and important topic of death and dying with dignity and meaningfulness. Third, I have never seen so many plenary presentations available at a conference; I had to get up extra early to be there for the first and second plenary speaker, and that was just the first part of each day’s program! Finally, it was great to have such a breadth of attendees, from the many students from Canada and other countries that attended, to leaders in their fields from academic settings all over the world. I have made good contacts and look forward to future dialogue with colleagues from Indonesia, Taiwan, the USA, and Australia.

From Charles H. Hackney, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of Psychology Department, Briercrest College, Caronport, SK)

The opportunity to hear Roy Baumeister speak was especially exciting for me, and it was a tremendously stimulating thing to interact with such a diverse interdisciplinary group, seeing connections made all the way from the specifics of individual empirical studies to philosophical and theological considerations of the meaning of life and death. The presentation of stories and family photos by Viktor Frankl’s grandson was a real treat. I want to thank Paul and Lilian (and their small army of sleep-deprived volunteers) for all their work at making this conference a success.

From Ed Peacock, PhD, CPsych

I just wanted to say congratulations on another wonderful conference. I know this one was a unique challenge and you did a fantastic job in organizing and carrying out the conference. Thank-you!

From Teresa Steinfort, MA, MA, CCC

I gained plenty of personal and professional treasures on this occasion. I shall remember your gems: “We are performers”; “It’s about building relationship” and the “5Rs.” Many thanks.