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Dr. Ilona Boniwell

Visiting Tutor, MSc in Coaching & Behavioural Change


Dr Ilona Boniwell is one of the world leaders in the field of positive psychology, who founded and headed the first Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) in Europe.

Professor Ilona Boniwell is one of the European leaders in positive psychology, having founded and headed the first Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) in Europe at the University of East London. Nowadays, she is a full professor of positive psychology and coaching psychology at the UEL, programme director of the PhD in Positive Psychology and Coaching, co-programme leader of the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology (MAPP CP), teaches Positive Management at l’Ecole Centrale Paris and HEC, and consults around the world as a director of Positran. Her main teaching expertise lies in the areas of positive psychology and positive psychology applications, with research interests around: resilience, subjective time use, time perspective, eudaimonic well-being, tangible tools and applications of positive psychology to business, executive coaching and education.

Ilona founded and was the first Chair of the European Network of Positive Psychology (ENPP), and was subsequently the member of its Steering Committee for many years. She organised the first European Congress of Positive Psychology in June 2002 (Winchester), starting a successful tradition of bi-annual events. She was the first Vice-Chair of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and has been continuingly the member of its Board of Directors since 2007.  She is now the Vice-President for the Francophone Association of Positive Psychology, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN) and is a co-editor of the Applied Positive Psychology Journal.

She had authored, co-authored and co-edited twelve books within the discipline of positive psychology. Ilona is the author of Positive Psychology in a Nutshell (2006, PWBC; 2016, McGraw-Hill), co-author of The Happiness Equation (2008, Adams Media), Positive Psychology: Theory, Research and Applications (2011, 2019, Open University Press), Well-Being Lessons for Secondary Schools (2012, Open University Press), co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Happiness (2013, Oxford University Press) and Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace (2021), and co-author of Motivated Adolescents (2015, Odile Jacob) and PEPS: Positive Education for Parents and Schools (2018, Leduc). She is currently working on a new book, Positive Psychology at Work in a Nutshell (forthcoming in 2022). She acted as the main consultant for and appeared in the BBC2 series The Happiness Formula (2006). Her other media work included Guardian, Times, Top Sante, Cosmopolitan and Psychologies articles, TV and radio interviews, and columns. Currently, she is consulting ARTE on the documentary about the progress of positive psychology (appearing alongside Professor Martin Seligman) and writing a monthly column for the Positive Psychology and People at Work magazines.

Ilona is passionate about practical applications of positive psychology to coaching, business and education. Her clients include L’Oreal, Microsoft, SNCF, EDF, Sanofi, Bull, Mars, Eric Bompard, Microsoft, BNP Paribas, Sanofi, Sodexo, FitBit and many others. Nowadays, as a director of Positran, a boutique consultancy specialising in the applications of evidence-based methodologies to achieve lasting positive transformation, Ilona delivers advanced professional training in positive psychology. She has developed her own approach to positive psychology coaching and training and trained thousands of professionals around the world (in Japan, Singapore, China, Dubai, South Africa, Portugal, France and the UK). She further worked for the Government of Bhutan to develop a framework for happiness-based public policy at the request of the UN, as a member of the International Expert Working Group for the New Development Paradigm. Currently, she consults the Prime Minister’s Office of the UAE around the development of the toolkit for workplace positivity and organisational well-being assessment.