The Phoenix Institute is an international educational organization dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of the Western tradition among people who are seriously interested in the question What is it to be human?
Such question, followed by its social, economic, cultural, legal, and political implications, rests at the heart of every Phoenix activity.
Knowing that such an important endeavor can only be accomplished by a vast and robust community of friends, the Institute organizes international summer seminars and local activities where the study of disciplines such as political philosophy, ethics, philosophical anthropology, literature, and international law serve as the means to achieve this deeper understanding of the Western tradition.
The Phoenix Institute is built around three pillars:
Our educational activities aim to provide an ideal setting where brilliant undergraduate and graduate students can become friends while exploring, on one hand, the roots, history, and current situation of the Western culture, and on the other, the role that they want to undertake in the future development of such culture.
The four guiding topics that the Phoenix Institute wants to explore and promote by means of all of its activities are:
- The dignity of the human person
- The transcendental nature of the human existence
- The role of virtue and heroism in human life
- The roots, history, and current situation of the Western culture
In the words of our Founding Director of Studies
Dr. John X. Evans, our founding Director of Studies, described the Phoenix Institute’s nature and objectives in the following terms:
The Phoenix Institute is an educational organization that concerns itself with the question What is it to be human?
Tracing the course of Classical and Judeo-Christian thought, we seek truth by searching for the knowledge of reality and the realization of the good.
Today, more than ever, the world needs men and women willing to undertake this kind of adventure. Despite remarkable advances in science, technology, and economics, the world suffers disorder at every level of society because of an absence of order and fulfillment in the lives of individuals. The Phoenix Institute exists to help mankind recover from such absences. We do not believe that we offer the only way, but we offer one way, a very good way.
The way the world can recover is person-by-person, community-by-community, and nation-by-nation. This is a long process, requiring humility, courage, wisdom, generosity, and endurance.
Logically, this challenge should begin with a careful consideration of all that is common to humanity and the mutual responsibilities of the state and its citizens, leading to the good that accrues when people weave their lives together in some shared conception of civility, friendship, and happiness.
We must, above all, re-appropriate the philosophical and moral coordinates that give order to society and hope to individuals.
The experience of the international students and faculty brought together by the Phoenix Institute since 1987 offers compelling evidence that the human spirit is still invincible and that human beings are still capable of individual and collective greatness.
Our summer sessions in the United States and Europe, the extensions of these summer programs on three continents and our international conferences, are designed to communicate our confidence in the human spirit to young men and women who are determined to embody all that makes mankind honorable, just, and true”.
– Dr. John X. Evans Founding Director of Studies
The Phoenix Institute is not listed as an organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Phoenix Institute’s international and local activities aim to spread the insightful ideas, useful skills, and long-lasting international relations that its students will need in order to become relevant actors in a complex and challenging world.
On the international level, The Phoenix Institute Summer Seminars for the Study of Western Institutions –currently held at the University of Notre Dame (USA) and in Trumau-Vienna (Austria) – are the main academic activities that the Institute has been offering since its foundation in 1987.
Designed to foster a better understanding of the Western intellectual tradition, these summer programs bring together students and professors from all over the world to explore the enduring ideas of Western Civilization through the disciplines such as political philosophy, ethics, philosophical anthropology, literature, and law.
Students that attend three Summer Seminars (consecutive or not) complete the Phoenix Institute Program in Advanced Social, Economic, and Political Studies.
On a local level, the Phoenix Institute organizes a series of lectures, seminars, cultural activities, and more throughout the year.