Our Seminars / 2024 Trumau-Vienna

The Phoenix Institute 2024 Trumau-Vienna Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions

JULY 5 – JULY 27, 2024


We are delighted to announce The Phoenix Institute’s 2023 Trumau-Vienna Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions, scheduled to take place from Friday, July 5, to Saturday, July 27, 2024.

Further information will be available on this website shortly. In the meantime:

  1. Mark the dates of the summer program on your calendar.

  2. If you haven’t done so already, kindly complete your pre-registration for the 2024 summer program here.

Classroom ITI edited
Dr. Brand and Dr. Overeem

The seminar is going to take place in Trumau, Austria, at the Katholische Hochschule ITI campus. It is located just 20 minutes south of Vienna and a 30-minute drive southwest of Vienna Airport. As a small city in the vicinity of Vienna, Trumau offers plenty of opportunities to explore Austria’s rich cultural scene.


For any inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us at summer.seminars@thephoenixinstitute.org.

The Phoenix Institute 2024 Trumau-Vienna Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions

JULY 5 – JULY 27, 2024



The courses that will be offered this summer are:

**Detailed course descriptions are available below.**


Tuition for the 2023 program will be 1,900 Euros

. **See below for details.**

Financial Aid 3
Dr. Clinton Brand
University of St. Thomas
Seven hundred years after his death and the publication of the Divine Comedy, Dante’s great poem remains as vital and challenging today, as it was when it first appeared complete in 1321. Dante’s Commedia narrates an epic journey through the realms of the afterlife—Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. It undertakes a study of the condition of souls after death (status animarum post mortem), but it also challenges its readers to an experience of self-examination and a survey of the condition of our souls in this life (status animarum in vitam). This course invites a focused reading of the Divine Comedy in relation to the aims and ends of education, specifically a liberal arts education directed to freeing minds and souls for the discovery and propagation of truth, goodness, and beauty, and for the sake of human flourishing.

 As we shall see, Dante builds into his poem a curriculum of study, including not only reflections on the Trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) but also engagement with the whole scope of what we call the “humanities” – those disciplines dedicated to understanding human things, including history, politics, literature, psychology, philosophy, and theology. In our reading of the Inferno, we will undergo an education in moral reasoning and interpersonal interpretation. Then we will climb our way up the Purgatorio and experience the lessons of works and worship and the integral formation of the imagination. Finally, we will ascend through the Paradiso and learn about love to gain a love of learning amid the prismatic colors of what Dante calls luce intellettual piena d’amore (“intellectual light full of love”). In that light, we will reflect upon Dante’s abiding relevance for education today as a torch for those who walk in darkness and find themselves “midway in the journey of our life” (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita)

Dr. Clinton Brand. Ph.D., English, Vanderbilt University. M.A. English, Vanderbilt University. B.A., English, University of Dallas. Associate Professor at the English Department of the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Patrick Overeem
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

A good society is one that makes it relatively easy to be a good person and lead a good life. Unfortunately, however, Modernity has had a hard time achieving these goals. The very notions of human virtue and moral life are often challenged in theory and in practice in today’s world. Hence we must seriously consider the double question: what does it mean to lead a virtuous life and how can we achieve it in modern times?

For answers, we draw inspiration from two eminent philosophers, namely Aristotle, who has laid the groundwork of the Western understanding of virtue and the development of the Christian ethos, and from Alasdair MacIntyre, who more than anyone else has contributed to the remarkable reappreciation of virtue ethics in recent decades. Particularly Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and MacIntyre’s After Virtue, besides some of their other writings, will be used to reflect on the double question mentioned.

Moreover, the careful reading and discussion of these texts will inevitably invite us to consider the moral quality of our own life. Are we actively practicing the virtues? Are we engaged in virtue-inducing social practices? And are we sufficiently resisting the moral risks and temptations that are no doubt partly timeless, but also increasingly and typically modern? Better knowing ourselves, our moral purpose, and our times – that is, in short, the main aim of this masterclass.


Dr. Patrick Overeem. Assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam, where he specializes in political theory and ethics. Dr. Overeem has published on integrity, virtue, statesmanship, and (political) compromise, among other topics.

Dr. Bernhard Dolna
Dean of Studies and Professor of Philosophy
International Theological Institute, Austria

Why is Mozart so incomparable? Why is it that for the receptive one, he has produced a type of music for which “beautiful” is the only possible epithet? His music is not entertainment, but food for the soul; music full of comfort and counsel that corresponds with the most profound aspirations of the human heart; music that is never a slave to technique or sentiment, but a free and liberating creation that builds its grandeur out of the wisdom, strength, and sovereignty that makes it beautiful.

But if this is true, it implies that music -and beauty, for that effect- is the result of much more than mere material stimulus, amusement or technical mastery, but a deeper reality that grows out of its relationship with the wholeness of the human person. No wonder why in ancient times authors like Plato and Aristotle were so aware of the educational and political impact that music had on society. Contemporary authors reflect on this too, entering the list of thinkers that explore the distinction between music that properly illuminates, forms, and fulfills our human nature, and music that obfuscates it.

In this class, we will explore and experience the beauty of music through Haydn’s serene tranquility, Mozart’s divine spark, and Beethoven’s noble loneliness, among others, as a kind of resonance of the harmony of a creation that includes lights and shadows, but in which shadows are not darkness, deficiency is not defeat, and sadness is not despair.

We will examine how such music is rooted in the truth underlying it and how it calls for a certain human ethical behavior explained by the relationship among the classical triad between Pulchrum –Verum – Bonum.

Dr. Bernhard Dolna. Assistant Professor of Ecumenical Studies and Jewish Studies and Dean of Studies of the International Theological Institute (ITI). Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Vienna, Dr. Dolna publishes extensively internationally.

Orientation is to be held on Saturday, July 8. Attendance is compulsory for all students.

This orientation session will provide you with a proper introduction to the summer course as a whole. As a student, you will meet your professors, classmates, and coordinators. You also will receive the official calendar of curricular and extracurricular activities and learn all you need to know about life at Trumau.


The Gerhart Niemeyer Graduation Seminar is the academic activity through which Phoenix senior students (third-year) complete the Institute’s Program in Advanced Social, Economic, and Political Studies.

During the 2023 Trumau-Vienna program, the Seminar discussion sessions will be held on the first full week of the summer program.

The Graduation Seminar will cost 65 Euros.


The cost of the program is 1,900 Euros. It includes:

  • Full tuition fee, double/triple-occupancy accommodations
  • A three-week Meal Plan (daily breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday).
  • Use of the ITI facilities
  • A number of cultural activities in and around Vienna (transportation included)

The full cost of the program’s tuition fee must be covered by June 15, 2023, preferably earlier. Admission to the campus will only be possible after full prior payment of the tuition fee.

The first step to apply is by filling out the Pre-Registration form that can be found here.

Click here for the full description of the 2023 Admission Procedure

A 300 Euro non-refundable initial payment will be required 72 hours after a student is notified of their acceptance to the summer program.

Enrollment in the summer program is limited. All applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to high demand, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

This payment is part of the total cost of the program.

The Graduation Seminar for third-year students only has an additional cost of 65 Euros.

Please note that the Phoenix Institute does not provide medical care or insurance coverage for its attendees. As such, make sure to purchase your own full medical insurance policy that would cover any medical emergencies or needs during the course.

To be admitted to the ITI campus, you would need to provide us with written proof of your insurance coverage by July 3, 2023.


The Seminar will be held in Trumau, Austria, at the campus of the International Theological Institute (ITI) which is located 20 minutes south of Vienna and 30 minutes southwest of Vienna Airport by car.

As a small city in the vicinity of Vienna, Trumau offers ample opportunities to take full advantage of Austria’s rich cultural atmosphere.

Due to COVID-19, airlines and governments in Europe and around the world may have special requirements. Please ensure that you understand and comply with these requirements when planning your participation in the summer program.