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Press Release: International Humor Association Picks President

Author Allen Klein of San Francisco to head Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, sets goal to “Humor-Eyes the World” in 2005

At its annual conference in Safety Harbor, Florida, February 17-20, the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor named Allen Klein, MA, CSP, its president for 2005. Klein, of San Francisco, is an award-winning professional speaker and author of several best-selling books, including The Healing Power of Humor.

Founded in 1988, the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) is a non-profit professional organization that advances the understanding and application of humor and laughter for their positive benefits. Its members include psychologists, counselors, teachers, nurses, hospital clowns, and others who incorporate humor into their work. The group counts Dr. Patch Adams, who was portrayed by Robin Williams in a movie of the same name, as a member.

Klein has selected “Humor-Eyes the World” as the theme for AATH in 2005. Its logo is a pair of Groucho glasses perched on a nose, with bushy brows above and an equally bushy moustache below.

“Humor helps us get a different perspective in any situation,” Klein says. “When you can see your trials and tribulations through the eyes of humor, you can more easily cope with them because you are less attached to them.”

“The goal of AATH members this year will be to ‘Humor-Eyes,” Klein says. “Whether they are lecturing about the benefits of humor, conducting laughter workshops, or working as a hospital caring clown, they are bringing a comic vision to not-so-funny situations. They are humorizing the world,” he explains.

AATH projects planned for the coming year include teleseminars with humor gurus, a curriculum designed for caring clowns, and a book award to be presented at the 2006 convention, scheduled for Austin, Texas.

The major sponsor for this year’s AATH Convention was the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Klein, 66, who bills himself as a “Jollytologist,” holds an M.A. in humor from St. Mary’s College in Minnesota and is a Certified Speaking Professional. He is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader for corporations, hospitals, and other entities and teaches the uses of humor in a variety of settings, including education, human relations, and healthcare. Early in his career, he worked at CBS in New York as a designer for children’s television shows, among them Captain Kangaroo. In addition to writing books and articles on the uses of humor, Klein is the editor of the Mid-Month Mirth Memo and founder of International Mirth Month, which occurs every March.