Keynote Bio

Catherine O'Brien


Dr. Catherine O’Brien is an Associate professor in the education department of Cape Breton University. Her research and teaching have focused on sustainability and sustainable communities for more than twenty years. Catherine created the concept of sustainable happiness with the aims of fostering wellbeing for all, sustainably. She developed and teaches the world’s first university course in sustainable happiness. Through her teaching, workshops, and writing she encourages individuals and organizations to identify how their happiness and wellbeing are interconnected with the wellbeing of other people and the natural environment.

In 2010, Dr. O’Brien was honoured by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication with the designation of Outstanding Post-Secondary Individual. She was an invited participant at the 2012 UN High Level Meeting on sustainable wellbeing and continues to contribute to national and international discussions about the role that education can play to create a sustainable and desireable future.
Catherine is currently on sabbatical writing a book: Sustainable Happiness and Wellbeing, Meeting Our Global Learning Needs, Sustainably. It outlines how educators and students can be change leaders to realize a vision for education of wellbeing for all, sustainably.

Sustainable happiness is happiness that contributes to individual, community, or global wellbeing without exploiting other people, the environment, or future generations. (O’Brien, 2010)

Please see Catherine O'Brien's website for more information