2022: The Jubilee Centre’s 10th Anniversary Year

2022 marks ten years since the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues was founded by Professor James Arthur and The Templeton Foundation at the House of Lords on 16 May 2012. 

Throughout the year, the Centre will celebrate this decade of applied research excellence, impactful outputs and meaningful engagement with educators, professionals and academics on the topic of character and virtue ethics across the world with a range of activities, unique publications and special events bringing together many of those who have been involved this last decade together in celebration and reflection.

Director Professor James Arthur – 10-year Anniversary Editorial – May 2022

On 16th May 2012, in the Attlee Room of the House of Lords, we launched a new research centre, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. Today, ten years later, we mark our anniversary and reflect on the journey that we have been on that has taken us to becoming one of the world-leading centres researching matters of character and virtues. Indeed, we have just received news that the Jubilee Centre has been recognised nationally as a Centre whose impact is rated as ‘Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour’.

We return to the House of Lords on Friday 20th May for an anniversary celebration of High Tea and Dinner. These events will bring together Jubilee Centre colleagues with those we have engaged with over the past decade – more than 200 scholars, practitioners, politicians and professionals joining us to mark the occasion. We have achieved a huge amount in these ten years, have exceeded our own expectations and have raised over $38million in grant income. The current Celebration Britain phase of John Templeton Foundation-funded work builds on the three previous phases of the original horizon project for the Jubilee Centre, envisaged by Drs. Jack and Pina Templeton.

This project has formed the bedrock and foundations of the Jubilee Centre on which our research, theoretical scholarship and practical application of character education has been based. At its conclusion, it will be eleven years in the making (2012-2023) and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jack and Pina for their initial inspiration and ideas, as well as to the JTF for their continued support. During the ten years, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in our research; tens of thousands of schools, organisations and charities have used our resources; we have worked with hundreds of school leaders; trained many researchers and worked with successive Secretaries of State for Education nationally and internationally. The remit of our work and our influence as thought leaders has grown exponentially, and has taken us to every continent on the globe.

In addition to our JTF-funded work, we have secured research and teaching grants from other funders including but not limited to the Kern Family Foundation, Department for Education, Porticus, Nuffield Foundation and Templeton World Charity Foundation. These grants have supported our expansion, particularly of our teaching provision, through our MA Character Education, the world’s first taught online degree in character. In addition, it has helped give a practical application to the research, through the creation of teaching aides and curriculum resources, evaluation of character initiatives being delivered globally and providing opportunities to undertake cross-cultural studies. The numbers of research participants, countries visited, value of grants captured have all been published in various forms previously, and are summarised in our ten-year film ‘A Decade Worth Celebrating’, so I won’t repeat them here. Instead, I look back to that launch event at the House of Lords and reflect on the journey that we have been on since.

At the launch event, I was the only member of the Jubilee Centre. Others would soon join, and we have benefitted from a settled and stable management team over the past ten years that has ably guided us to where we are today. We were joined by our, then, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham – Sir David Eastwood, as well as by JTF representatives and Dr. Jack Templeton, who spoke passionately about the project of establishing a centre dedicated to researching matters of character and virtue in the anniversary year of Sir John Templeton’s knighthood. I have seen it as my mission to bring to life the vision that Jack had for the Jubilee Centre, and I trust that I have done this vision justice. We are spending much of 2022 celebrating the tenth anniversary year of the Jubilee Centre, whilst taking time to reflect on our achievements over the past decade. Such has been the pace at which we have worked, and the speed with which we have created meaningful and lasting influence and impact, time to look back and reflect has been in short supply. This editorial offers a short pause for thought both on what we have achieved, but also that there is more to come. Our research has reached communities of young people, professionals, educators and scholars and helped shape the picture of character and virtues today. Our distinctive neo-Aristotelian approach to character has provided a firm theoretical grounding for our research, whilst our innovative and modern approach has brought ancient concepts into the twenty-first century. We have always maintained that Character virtues are critical to human flourishing, can be exercised within all human contexts, and are educable. As I say in my ‘Welcome’ message on the Jubilee Centre website, our collective vision for the Centre is not simply to research past and present conceptions of character and virtues, but to shape future attitudes and behaviours. We aim, therefore, through our rigorous research portfolio and applied work to enable people to explore their own character and, if and where required, transform it. Our prime goal is and has always been not theoretical, but practical. One thing that is worth repeating, and has been a regular feature in Jubilee Centre publications and presentations is this quote from Aristotle, ‘the purpose of our examination is not to know what virtue is, but to become good.

Yet, for all our celebrations this year, our work is not done and there is far more that we and others can do to contribute to the new and emerging communities of character that exist worldwide. The Jubilee Centre team will look to take on many of the challenges facing character researchers in the coming years, to break new ground, articulate conceptions, bust myths and provide practical applications. Please continue to follow our work and collaborate with us as we move into our second decade. For those of you who have contributed to our work, in large or small ways, I want to thank you, as our successes are as much yours as ours. I also wish to personally thank my Jubilee Centre colleagues, past and present, as we reach this major milestone today. I did not know, nor had even turned my thoughts towards, what a ten-year celebration would constitute back in the Attlee Room in 2012, but I look forward to celebrating this week with colleagues and friends, as well as looking ahead to the next ten years and what the future will bring for character and virtues scholarship.

Professor James Arthur OBE

Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues

16th May 2022

Highlights: The 10th Annual Conference – Integrating Research on Character and Virtues: 10 Years of Impact

The Centre’s 10th annual conference, ‘Integrating Research on Character and Virtues: 10 Years of Impact‘ took place at Oriel College, Oxford, between the 8th and 10th of September 2022.

The ten years since the Jubilee Centre was founded have witnessed an enormous surge of interest in character-and-virtue research across a number of different academic disciplines, with inroads also made into various fields of practice. This renewed interest has been stimulated by generous grants from the John Templeton and Kern Family Foundations, and the Presidents of both organisations, Heather Templeton Dill and Jim Rahn, joined and spoke after the dinners as part of this conference.

Alongside 40 seminar papers, keynote lectures were offer by Professor James Arthur (University of Birmingham, UK), David Goodhart (Policy Exchange, UK), and Professor Dan Lapsley (University of Notre Dame, USA) and an expert panel was convened to discuss the legacy and impact of the centre since 2012.

  • Fr. James Burns – President, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  • Lord James O’Shaughnessy – Senior Research Fellow, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
  • Dr. Beth Purvis –  Senior Program Director, Character Kern Family Foundation
  • Professor Concepción Naval – Dean, School of Education and and Psychology, University of Navarra
  • Professor Blaine Fowers – Professor of Psychology, University of Miami
  • Ben Perks – Head of Campaigns & Advocacy, UNICEF

In addition to celebrating the first decade of work in the Jubilee Centre and taking stock of the impact that it has had, the 2022 anniversary conference brought together more than 120 experts from a range of disciplines to explore the merits and demerits of cross-disciplinarity in the character-and-virtue research field(s). Among the big questions that emerged here are: How amenable are the different research traditions of philosophy and social science to crossover work? How easy is it to integrate the foci on what a virtue ‘is’ (philosophy) and how it is ‘experienced’ (psychology) with how it can be ‘cultivated in educational settings’ (education)? Have academics and practitioners been able to communicate effectively, and how can such communication be enhanced?

The conference programme for the 10th Annual Conference is available to download via the link below.

A selection of positive messages shared by delegates at the conclusion of the conference are shared below:

‘Allow me to thank you once again for the invitation to attend the 10th annual conference of the JC, your generous hospitality and the manifold inspirations your team and you enabled us participants to take with us! I enjoyed the sessions, the key notes and the numerous informal conversations I had over the three days, in a marvelous setting – as always.’

‘Words cannot express my heart-felt gratitude. Thank you — and your incredible staff — for demonstrating and practicing the Benedictine virtue of hospitality.’

‘Congratulations on a magnificent conference – it was such a pleasure to be there ‘

‘This was a truly outstanding conference’

‘The Anniversary Conference was top-drawer- The programme was perfect; just the right amount of scheduled and unscheduled time with excellent company.’

‘Congratulations on an amazing packed three days of agenda, great speakers, betters conversations and an amazing set up. The spirit of the group was outstanding. Real conversations, deep conversations and a non-common humility from the participants. I learned a lot and I’m coming home inspired and motivated to do more.’ 

‘I am truly in awe of the global community of friends in service to humanity that you have built and orchestrated with such wisdom, imagination, and panache.’  

‘It is a privilege and delight to be part of this. The friendships I’ve made and deepened over the past 12 days are already leading to new collaborations and they will surely enrich my life for years to come. Congratulations on a decade of remarkable service and accomplishment!’ 

‘The conference renewed my sense of urgency and my own commitment to writing and speaking on character, and expanding my network.’ 

‘Just a quick note to say thank you for inviting me to the conference. I met some wonderful people and caught up with other good friends, the food and wine were amazing, a really wonderful celebration of 10 years.’ 

‘Thank you for the wonderful experiences in Italy and for the exceptional conference your team orchestrated! The global network you have created is quite amazing. I am blessed to be a small part of it. ‘ 

‘What a wonderful Jubilee celebration of 10 years and more of incredible work and passion. I feel very blessed and honored to have been and remain a part of your vision and the mission of the Centre. It continues to become so clear how the vast network of folks you have assembled and advised  bring virtue back into the mainstream and thereby bettering peoples lives, whether they are fully aware of it or not.  The past 2 weeks have been such a joy and inspiration, from Palazzola and Rome to Birmingham and Oxford to London.’  

‘Just a note of deep thanks, once again, for your invitation to join you at Oriel College for the Jubilee conference that celebrated its remarkable 10-year anniversary. I know the immense work of staging such conferences and I appreciate all that was done on our behalf. Everything was perfect. The hospitality was superb. The meetings were consequential and interesting. The gifts were generous and thoughtful (I especially prize the Oriel scarf!) The new colleagues I met will also soon be new friends, and I am grateful for that especially. I even met a colleague from Notre Dame for the first time!’

‘This is an overdue note to thank you for all your work in hosting another tremendous Jubilee Centre conference. It was tremendous to be back with so many familiar faces at Oriel and to have the opportunity to celebrate the incredible work you and the team have done over the last ten years.’ 

Highlights: Awards, Recognition and Celebration

2022 is a year of reflection for the Jubilee Centre; reflection on a decade worth celebrating. As part of this reflective period, we have begun contemplating the impact that we have created and sustained since 2012, particularly on the difference to the understanding of character and virtues in schools and professional training. As part of this, we have sought to profile key individuals who have played a major role in our achievements.

We have launched a Spotlight On series to recognise partners and friends of the Jubilee Centre who have made significant and impactful contributions to our work since 2012.

Recognising their outstanding contributions to the development and understanding of character education in practice, policy and in public life the Jubilee Centre has, since 2020, recognised several leading educators, charity executives and advocates for the development of character as an Ambassador of Character. Below are some of the Ambassadors recognised in 2022, more details can be found here.

Highlights: Anniversary Events
10th Anniversary: Centre Marks Occasion with Dinner at the House of Lords

Hosted by Rt. Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan, former Secretary of State for Education and Honorary Research Fellow of the Jubilee Centre, with Lord James O’Shaughnessy, Jubilee Centre Senior Research Fellow, acting as Master of Ceremonies, the Centre marked a decade of success with a dinner in the Peers Guest Room at the House of Lords.Joined by more than 120 friends, colleagues, collaborators, peers, and leading figures in the field of character education from around the world, this event reflected on the global impact of the Centre and the positive change it has initiated. Following its recognition as a world-leading research centre in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, the speeches highlighted the significant and varied impact on policy that the Centre has achieved in ten years.

Centre Hosts Celebratory High Tea at the House of Lords

The Centre was joined by more than 90 teachers, school leaders, staff and collaborators to celebrate its 10th Anniversary with a High Tea in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace at the House of Lords. Co-hosted by Rt. Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan, former Secretary of State for Education and Honorary Senior Fellow, and by Lord James O’Shaughnessy, Senior Fellow, this event celebrated the Centre’s work with schools and communities across the country, in addition to its impact on pedagogy, policy and practice, during the past 10 years. Alongside this, the Centre celebrated the launch of Character and Virtue: 10 Years of the Jubilee Centre, written by Aidan P. Thompson, which captures the successes achieved since 2012, and featured a keynote address from Herminder Channa OBE JP, Principal of Ark Boulton Academy.