Albert Bandura, Ph.D. — A Life Committed to Global Sustainability

September 2, 2021 • News

Albert BanduraAlbert Bandura

Albert Bandura, Ph.D., December 4, 1925 – July 26, 2021

Albert Bandura, PMC’s dear friend and a long-time member of the Advisory Board; was one of most influential psychologists of the twentieth century. He taught the world that human behavior is learned from role models. As an esteemed member of Stanford University’s faculty, he had a 57-year research career that resulted in 17 books and hundreds of published scientific papers.

Dr. Bandura’s numerous awards and honors included the Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association, the James McKeen Cattell Award from the American Psychological Society, and the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Psychological Science from the American Psychological Foundation. In 1980, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President Obama presented him with the 2016 National Medal of Science.

Dr. Bandura was wise to the obstacles preventing global sustainability. “We are destroying ecological systems that have evolved over eons and that keep our planet cool and habitable,” he noted in an address to the British Psychological Society. He also stated unequivocally that “soaring population growth” was one of the most critical challenges for human civilization, remarking “failure to address the psychosocial determinants of human behavior is often the weakest link in social policy initiatives.”

Bandura’s numerous publications on Social Learning, Social Cognitive, and Self-Efficacy Theories are central components of PMC’s Theory of Change and are used in trainings for new writers and producers all around the world. PMC’s ongoing work to address social and normative barriers to the uptake of modern contraception, and to share stories about the many health and economic benefits of small families, are based on this important insight.

“Dr. Bandura’s passing is a great loss to all of us,” said Bill Ryerson, president of PMC. “At Population Media Center, we are grateful for the many substantial and transformational contributions Dr. Bandura made to human civilization. They will continue to live on in our programs, uplifting individuals, communities, and the environments we all share.

Before his passing, Dr. Bandura selected PMC as one of just three charities where donations in his memory should be made. Bill said, “Bandura saw Population Media Center as the embodiment of his theories of social change and social learning. He was proud to know our characters were instilling self-efficacy for positive change in our audiences, so they too had the chance to improve their lives.”

Dr. Bandura’s fundamental contributions to Population Media Center, and our work towards global sustainability, will live on forever. We benefited from the ongoing counsel he provided, moral support he leant, and good words he spoke about us to his lecture audiences around the world.

Thank you, Dr. Bandura.

Donations can be made to Population Media Center in memory of Albert Bandura’s life and legacy here.

Editor’s note: Bill Ryerson has been asked to join three Stanford University Psychology faculty members in an online colloquium about Dr. Bandura’s work, to be held on November 17, 2021.


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