UCLA Receives $20 Million To Study Kindness

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Ben McDonald Contributor
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UCLA received a donation of $20 million to create an institute centered around the study of kindness.

The University Of California Los Angeles (UCLA) announced Wednesday that the school received $20 million from the Bedari Foundation to start the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute.

“Universities should always be places where we teach students to reach across lines of difference and treat one another with empathy and respect — even when we deeply disagree,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute will bring the best thinking to this vital issue and, I think, will allow us to have a real social impact on future generations.” (RELATED:UCLA Students React To Mandatory Fees Funding Toxic Masculinity Committee)

According to the press release, the institute will start immediately and will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding kindness through a variety of perspectives including: biological, psychological, economic, cultural, and sociological.

The research will focus on actions, thoughts, feelings, and social institutions associated with kindness and will use researchers from both UCLA and outside organizations to do the work.

Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA division of social sciences, said that the Kindness Institute seeks to be an antidote to the violence and strife of current world politics.

“Rooted in serious academic work, the institute will partner and share its research on kindness broadly in accessible formats. The Bedari Foundation’s extraordinary gift is truly visionary and we are grateful for its support and leadership,” Hunt said.

UCLA said that the Kindness Institute will provide funding for research projects that examine social and physical mechanics of kindness and how kindness might be harnessed to create better societies.

The first director of the institute is anthropology professor Daniel Fessler, who has done research exploring how witnessing acts of kindness can cause uplifting emotional experiences.