The humanities are confronted with a political and social climate that increasingly view them as irrelevant, even unessential to America's economic and cultural vitality, which has prompted a reassessment of their value or worth in 21st Century Higher Education. The primary goal of this project is to engender a meaningful debate about the nature, scope, and future of the humanities and liberal arts in American 21st century higher education.
A White Paper with the findings of the Humanities Symposium held at NYU's La Pietra in Florence, Italy was released February 2013. To view videos from public sessions of the conference, please see the section below.
This panel presented three views of the state of the humanities and the current state of affairs in the university, profit and non-for-profit sectors. The panelist speak of the value the humanities add to society.
In his keynote speech, Anthony Kronman tackles three questions in ascending order of controversy and difficulty: why study the humanities? Why study a canon? And, why study the West?
Tom Petri represents Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District and is serving his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. First elected in April 1979, Petri has been returned to office every two years since.
Group rapporteurs present the findings of their group sessions (view group topics here). This panel is moderated by Jane Tylus, who synthesises the findings to offer a summary of the accomplishments of the symposium.
The future of the humanities and liberal arts in a globalized world is a question of vital importance. Arguably, the humanities promote development of the aesthetic and analytical abilities required for advanced degrees. They also encourage the type of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary thinking our increasingly global world demands. In recent decades, however, a majority of colleges and universities have reorganized or restructured their curricula in order to offer more "practical" and/or marketable majors with a preference towards studies in the natural and social sciences.
"The irony is that one of the oldest queries in education – the role of the humanities – is one of the most urgent today. Appropriately, New York University, and its Brademas Center for Study of the Congress, is leading an effort to reinvigorate this inquiry."
- Jim Leach, Chairman, National Endowement for the Humanities
The Project on Cultural Diplomacy, organized by New York University's John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, engages artists, foundation and cultural institution leaders, scholars and policymakers in this effort. The Project is working to enhance visibility and resources for America's international cultural engagement in the cause of peace, economic growth and stability, and mutual understanding, respect, and tolerance. The goal is an expansion of exchange programs and structural reforms to foster better strategic planning, coordination, and implementation by the Federal Government and American citizens of this critical component of our relations with the governments and peoples of other countries.
A special thanks to all of our co-sponsors.