The Dallas Institute exists to enrich and deepen the practical life of the city with the wisdom and imagination of the humanities.
The Dallas Institute accomplishes its mission through events, conferences, and general courses of study for our community, through professional programs for educators, and through publications. We exist to care for the actual things of the urban world. In some instances, these things are visible-education, architecture, medicine, art, technology, money. Equally important are the invisible forms within which life takes place and has meaning-friendship, the soul, taste, imagination, community, intellectual life, ritual, leadership.
Our culture is in crisis. Once reserved for college symposiums, academic speculation has rapidly crept into classrooms and board rooms across the country. What is a woman? What is a man? Can science and scientists offer objective truth? How do we humans contend with machine intelligence? What is the purpose of life? The diverse responses to these questions reveal a growing polarization between Americans, clearly seen in our cultural confusion and the trajectory of our youth.
The effects of this crisis are everywhere: our young people are deathly anxious and distracted, and the pressures of social media, the volatile economy, and the bewildering political sphere can only make them so. The institutions to which we once looked for stability have either collapsed or traded the spirit of inquiry for the spirit of ideology.
The American university is one such institution. Instead of equipping students with the tools to pursue wisdom and foster civil discourse, the modern university forms students to be technically proficient yet deficient in the pursuit of wisdom that makes us human.
Only through study, reflection, introspection, and conversation do we find practical, tangible answers to these fundamental human questions, and the Dallas Institute exists to provide a classroom, a forum, and a launching pad for citizens and city leaders alike to contemplate these answers. Our hope is that, together, we can reclaim our human authority and responsibility to imagine – and perhaps shape – a vibrant, healthy culture.
Young people deserve – and yearn for – teachers, artists, and civic leaders who will evoke the courage and enduring wisdom needed to face the uncertain future. If Dallas is to last as a distinct community, professionals, leaders, and every citizen alike must receive more than mere technical training. The city is not a machine but a body, with each different part serving the others and sharing in the soul of the city.
Dallas Institute’s goal is a flourishing city, no matter the difficulty and amount of work ahead. We measure the success of our endeavors through different metrics, such as attendance or people reached, but DIHC’s true impact will be found in those impacted by the art and literature we sponsor and human beings we help shape. From the ideation of these classes, conferences, and events, action for the good of Dallas arises in the Dallas Institute and our affiliates, who contribute to all sectors of city life.
The Dallas Institute depends upon generous donors to support our operations and programs - many of them offered free or or at low cost to our city's educators. Your gift will ensure that our soul-nourishing programming continues and expands across our city. Visit the "Our Programs" tab above to learn about our offerings, including the upcoming 40th Anniversary of the Sue Rose Summer Institute and the exciting launch of our Humanities & programming this fall!
To attend programs at the Dallas Institute, please view our upcoming events and register here.