Michael Josephson is an influential and internationally renowned champion of character education for youth and ethical conduct in business, government, policing, journalism, sports, healthcare and law. He is credited by many as the person most responsible for reviving and professionalizing the character education in school and youth-serving organizations.
In 1987, after a distinguished 20-year career teaching law and as the CEO of a prominent legal education company (Josephson bar Review Center), he resigned his professorship and sold his business to found the Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics, a nonprofit organization named in honor of his parents.
In 1992, under the auspices of the Josephson Institute he created CHARACTER COUNTS!, the world’s most widely implemented character development initiative based on a common language of shared values – the Six Pillars of Character) and Pursuing Victory With Honor (1996), a companion program promoting ethics in sports. These programs reach about 8 million young people and their families each year. Every year since 1993, the U.S. Senate passes a joint resolution and the president signs a proclamation declaring the third week in October National CHARACTER COUNTS! Week.
Employing his groundbreaking insights and strategies, Mr. Josephson has assisted corporations, state legislatures, government agencies, and professionals in politics, education, sports, journalism, healthcare, law, and the nonprofit community to strengthen individual and institutional decision-making and create sustainable ethical cultures. Clients include many of the most influential companies, agencies and organizations.
He has authored more than a dozen books and major studies including biennial surveys and reports on the Ethics of American Youth (since 1992 these reports provide the benchmark for measuring the values, attitudes and conduct of high school students), a Model Code of Journalism Ethics for Associated Press Managing Editors, Olympism and Olympic Ideals for the U.S. Olympic Committee, Make US Proud (training program for all U.S. athletes participating in the 2012 Olympic Games); and the Exemplary Peace Officer series (for police) . In 2014, he wrote the Model Standards for Academic, Social, Emotional and Character Development providing a road map for educators for a comprehensive integrated student development model. He also maintains several social media communication channels.
He has been named the UCLA Alumnus of the Year, an honor given to less than 70 of the nearly 600,000 people who earned degrees from UCLA. He has also received America’s Award for Integrity presented by former President Ronald Reagan. In 2015 the U.S. State Department commissioned him to consult with government and educational institutions in Seoul, South Korea regarding their character education efforts.
Michael Josephson’s highest priority, however, is his family – his son Justin, and his four daughters Samara, Abrielle, Carissa, and Mataya.