Parker J. Palmer

Enjoy this song written by singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer for Parker on his 75th birthday. Read more about this occasion!


ParkerJPalmer-informal600 Parker J. Palmer, founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, is a world-renowned writer, speaker and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He has reached millions worldwide through his nine books, including Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, and Healing the Heart of Democracy.

Parker holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 2010, Palmer was given the William Rainey Harper Award whose previous recipients include Margaret Mead, Elie Wiesel, and Paolo Freire. In 2011, he was named an Utne Reader Visionary, one of "25 people who are changing your world."

He is the author of nine books, including several best-selling and award-winning titles: Healing the Heart of Democracy, The Heart of Higher Education (with Arthur Zajonc), The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, The Active Life, To Know As We Are Known, The Company of Strangers, and The Promise of Paradox.

His latest book, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, was chosen by Spirituality & Practice as one of the best books of 2011 on contemplation and social activism.

In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named Dr. Palmer one of the thirty “most influential senior leaders” in higher education and one of the ten key “agenda-setters” of the past decade.

Since 2002, the Accrediting Commission for Graduate Medical Education has given annual Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” and “Courage to Lead” Awards to directors of exemplary medical residency programs.

In 2005, Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer, was published (Jossey-Bass) by Sam M. Intrator (Editor). A member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), Dr. Palmer and his wife, Sharon Palmer, live in Madison, Wisconsin.  


A Note from Parker

As founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, I take deep pride in the way this small non-profit organization provides support for people in the serving professions.

Since 1994—working through a network that now numbers 200 facilitators across the United States, Canada and Australia—the Center has offered programs to help teachers, physicians, clergy and others “rejoin soul and role,” renewing their passion for their work, reclaiming its basic values and deepening their service to others.

The Center's staff has done a remarkable job of putting wheels on some of the things I wrote about in The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, and Let Your Life Speak. Amazingly, more than 50,000 people have been directly touched by Courage & Renewal programs and retreats to date.

At age 75 it's clear to me that, of all the things I've put my hand to, the Center's work is the most important. That's why I've decided to give this work most of my energies in the years ahead.

If you already know about this work—as tens of thousands of people do—I hope you will want to deepen your participation in it. If you are new to this work, I hope you will want to learn more about it.

I hope, too, that you will want to join me, the Center’s board, staff and friends, in helping to secure and expand the Center's important contribution to the growing movement to reclaim integrity and courage in professional and public life.



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