Institute of World Culture

Theme for 2019
FREEDOM, EXCELLENCE AND SELF-TRANSCENDENCE

The theme for the year is Freedom, Excellence and Self-Transcendence.  These core ideas point to fundamental potentials in human beings.  Each can be used to develop inner qualities of character in an individual, and each can be used to contribute to the culture of a society.  Together these ideas interact and nourish cultures.  In time, a world culture can emerge from the authentic development and use of these ideas.

All of the 10 Aims in the Declaration of Interdependence will offer seed ideas for the programs, but Aims #2 and #9 will receive particular attention.

Aim 2: 
To renew the universal vision behind the American Dream through authentic affirmations of freedom, excellence and self-transcendence in an ever-evolving Republic of Conscience.

Aim 9: 
To assist in the emergence of men and women of universal culture, capable of continuous growth in non-violence of mind, generosity of heart and harmony of soul.

flying eagle

 

 

Forum
Global Dialogue and Revolutionary Change

Saturday, January 12, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenters: Maurice Bisheff and Jenny Bisheff


In this forum, discussion will highlight the global dialogues at four international conferences whose abstract and concrete aims promoted human dignity, revolutionary change and greater freedom for human choice. These aims pointed to transformations in religion, universal philosophy, basic income programs, development of the commons and non-violence in education. Questions will be encouraged including whether these and many other global dialogues are icebergs covering a hidden revolution in global values and the expression of compassion. The presenters attended these conferences held during 2018, including the World Parliament of Religions held in Toronto with 10,000 participants.

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Seminar
Ecstatic Non-Violence in the North-West Frontier of British India,
1930s – 1050s

Saturday, January 26, 2019
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Safoora Arbab


In this seminar an original analysis will reveal how Abdul Ghaffar Khan encouraged and led a nonviolent resistance movement, Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) among the Pashtun people. Although Ghaffar Khan was referred to as a “frontier Gandhi”, study of Pashtun literature, especially poetry, shows that the values of this nonviolent movement reflected the local, indigenous codes of conduct in Pashtun tradition and metaphors of Islam. Illustrations of this local source of nonviolent embodiment will be drawn from the Pashto autobiography of Ghani Khan, from the voices of women published in the Pukhtun journal and from the iconic modern poetry of Ghani Khan. This perspective on the Khudai Khidmatgar movement is the subject of Safoora Arbab’s dissertation prepared at UCLA for the Department of Comparative Literature.

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Forum
The Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles:
Faith Politics and Religious Leadership

Saturday, February 9, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Mario T. Garcia


Professor Garcia, author of a recently published book on Father Luis Olivares, A Biography: Faith Politics and the Origin of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles, will explain the history and evolution of this movement during the 1980s.  As a practitioner of Liberation Theology, Father Olivares, applied his Catholic faith toward the empowerment of the Latino community in Los Angeles and toward aiding Central American refugees and undocumented Mexican immigrants in the sanctuary.

Mario T. Garcia is a distinguished Professor of Chicano Studies and History at UCSB.

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Seminar
George Washington's Farewell Address:
His Warnings to the American People


Washington's farewell

Saturday, February 23, 2019
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Marlin Roehl


As George Washington completed his second term as President of the United States, he sent a letter to a newspaper giving his advice on how the principles of the new Republic could be preserved in practice. He warned of several dangers such as foreign entanglements and the divisive pursuit of private interests. These warnings are still current and will be discussed with the hope that the values of liberty, equality, justice and the rule of law will be pursued more fully. Washington is known for his leadership skills and his life-long ability to put public needs ahead of his private interest. He saw the experiment of the American Republic as a shared opportunity for self-definition and moral perfectibility in a well-ordered but fraternal society.

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Link to the Farewell Address
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Seminar
Progressive Reform and Women Activists

Jane Addams Lillian Wald Florence Kelley portrait

Saturday, March 9, 2019
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenters: Carolyn Dorrance and Donna Moore


In response to dramatic economic and social change in the late 19th century, many called for fundamental reforms such as the end of child labor, protections for industrial workers, women’s suffrage and the elimination of slum conditions and the political corruption that prevented reform. Among the voices for change were several women who plunged into activism ranging from founding settlement houses and health clinics to political campaigns to oust the corrupt and initiate protective legislation. The ideas and work of Jane Addams, Florence Kelly and Lillian Wald will be described in this seminar.

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Forum
A Grand Tour of the Solar System:
The Outer Planets and Trans-Neptunian Objects

Jupiter

Saturday, March 23, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenters: Russ Lewin and Carl Nolt


The outer planets of our solar system and TNO’s will be explored in light of the findings from recent and current NASA and ESA missions.  We will emphasize the Juno Mission at Jupiter and the Cassini Mission at Saturn.  Trans-Neptunian Objects will draw from the New Horizons Mission at Pluto and Ultima Thule.  Comets, the Kuiper Belt and some surprise objects will also be included.

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Film and Discussion
Brother Sun, Sister Moon

St. Francis

Saturday, April 6, 2019
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara


Brother Sun, Sister Moon is the 1972 film about the life of St. Francis of Assisi, directed by Franco Zeffirelli.  Raised as an pampered and privileged young man, Francesco returns from a war and undergoes a physical and spiritual transformation. He renounces his wealthy, aristocratic life, and begins a life of poverty and service to the poor while rebuilding the remains of a chapel. Various conflicts and challenges arise, culminating in Francesco’s visit to the Pope in Rome, a scene ripe with its own challenges. The story is complimented by lush cinematography, music and songs by folk singer Donovan.                             

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Forum
Jazz du Jour

jazz musical notes

Saturday, April 20, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Sandy Cummings


Jazz du Jour, led by vocalist Sandy Cummings and accompanied by Woody De Marco on keyboard and Hank Allen on bass, will present a program of standards.  They will discuss what 'standard' jazz is, relative to other forms of the genre.  The band will present music from the American Song Book. Composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jimmy van Heusen, Duke Ellington, and the like will be the source of the music of the day. They will also demonstrate improvisation, styles, and how a group works together in a collaborative way to put their own stamp on the material.  In addition, they will talk briefly about the history of the art form.

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Forum
The Farthermost Thule:
The New Horizons Mission to Pluto and Ultimate Thule
and The Cassini Mission to Saturn

New Horizons spaceship

Saturday, May 11, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Russ Lewin


"I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule –
From a wild weird clime, that lieth, sublime . . . "
~ Edgar Allan Poe

The New Horizons spacecraft traveled over 3 billion miles in 9 years to reach Pluto, which had never before been explored in human history. Scientists were surprised to find that Pluto is geologically active and still evolving. It is alive with many exotic features that include massive Nitrogen ice glaciers, 11,000 foot mountain ranges made of ice, blades of ice that extend like skyscrapers for 100s of feet from the surface, a blue atmosphere, and a 1,000 mile grand canyon on its moon Charon. Most of the major scientific discoveries made at Pluto by NASA scientists accompanied by the original
mages will be presented. After encountering Pluto, the spacecraft traveled an additional one billion miles into the Kuiper Belt to explore the object
known as Ultima Thule. In addition, highlights of the Cassini Mission to Saturn will be illustrated including the landing of the Huygens spacecraft on
the surface of the moon Titan. It has a dense atmosphere, clourds, rivers, lakes and seas made of liquid hydrocarbons (methane and ethane). The largest seas are hundreds of feet deep. Images of the surface features will be shared along with scientific discoveries.

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Forum
William Butler Yeats: Poetry, Politics, and Mysticism

William Butler Yeats portrait

Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Jerry Hejka-Ekins


In this forum a broad panorama of the life and work of William Butler Yeats will be presented. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of Irish mythology and folklore in his early work and some later poems, as well as his role in the Irish Literary Renaissance. Reference will be made to his lifelong interest in the paranormal and to mysticism. A consideration of a selection of his poems will illustrate his symbolism and the themes important to him.   

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Forum
Archetype, Imagination, and Character:
Exploring the Work of James Hillman



Saturday, June 8, 2019
11:00 – 1:00 pm (Note the earlier starting time of this Forum.)
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Susan D'Arbanville


In this forum, the work of James Hillman, psychologist and scholar will be reviewed. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Soul’s Code, Re-Visioning Psychology, and The Force of Character. In his writings, Hillman amplifies such concepts as growth, purpose, aging, and character by drawing upon Western traditions of classical mythology and philosophy as well as the findings of modern psychology. Thereby he reexamines psyche or soul in terms of metaphor and imagery.
Trained as a Jungian analyst and originator of post-Jungian “archetypal psychology,” Hillman held teaching positions at Yale University, among others, and at the University of Dallas, where he co-founded the Dallas Institute for the Humanities and Culture.

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Founding Day Address
Transformation and Self-Discovery
in the Writings of Ursula K. Le Guin

cover for Earthsea

Saturday, June 29, 2019
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Jonathan Colbert


In observance of the Founding of the Institute 43 years ago, the path-breaking and visionary writings of Ursula K. Le Guin will be explored. Author of many novels, short stories, poetry, literary critiques, several children’s books and renditions of myths and legends, she pioneered in what she called “speculative fiction.” Thereby she expressed new possibilities for individual experience and visions of alternative political structures. Her well-known and much read Earthsea trilogy vivified human life as an “archetypal journey” with a search for identity and moral insight whereby the human potential for challenging the shadow of darkness could bring reconciliation of the opposition of good and evil. Thus, human societies could develop cultures that reflected the cycles of harmony in nature and rejected war and various forms of social discrimination. Her creative and prolific writings over 60 years became a model for literary imagination and free-form narratives as well as a source of political debate for decades. Her audience is said to be ageless although some works had a special appeal for teenagers and for those drawn into the reality of magic.

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Click here for a brief essay related to the talk: Reflections on the Aims and Principles of the Institute of World Culture

 

 

Illustrated Narration
Discovering the Culture of Tajikistan

Saturday, July 13, 2019
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Janice Setser


Using a power point presentation, Janice Setser will share her experiences of living for nearly 18 years in foreign countries including years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer. During her decade of discovering Tajikistan, now a Central Asian Republic, she developed a nuanced and intimate understanding of the lives and culture of the people that is linked to and dependent upon an ancient landscape. Her deep passion and fresh insights enabled her to discover a side of Tajik culture that is not well known. How people gracefully co-exist with a struggle for the bare necessities of life in an emerging, contemporary society and maintain their traditional values of warmth and generosity will be depicted. This visual, audio and tactile journey will uncover the magical realm of Tajikistan.

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IFilm and Discussion
In Pursuit of Silence

A Documentary Film by Patrick Shen
Tree, open field and sky

Saturday, August 17, 2019
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara


In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise in our lives. It includes comments by Pico Iyer (author of The Art of Stillness), John Cage (composer of the silent composition 4’33”) and other explorers of silence. It is a beautiful and thought provoking cinematic journey around the world as well. 

Suggested donation of $5 per person.
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Seminar
The Bodhisattva Ideal

The Path of Service and Self-Transcendence
Kuqn Yin Statue

Saturday, September 7, 2019
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenters: Jonathan Colbert, Kirk Gradin and Eva Moberg


The ideal of the Bodhisattva is one of the most sublime and  elevating conceptions of human capacity handed down to modern culture by the sages of antiquity.  In this seminar, a panel of three speakers will explore the concept of the Bodhisattva from diverse viewpoints. This will include an introduction to one of the most revered texts of Mahayana Buddhism, The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicaryavatara), by the eighth century Indian scholar Shantideva, first translated into English from the Tibetan in 1997. The seminar will explore how this lofty conception has parallels in other philosophical and religious traditions and how the ideal has been depicted in monumental sculpture and painting as found in the Ajanta and Ellora caves, at Borobudur, in Tibetan monasteries and elsewhere. Finally, the speakers will explore the many ways in which the ideal is inspirational to diverse non-Buddhist seekers in the modern world. In what way does the Bodhisattva ideal provide salutary guidance in the re-education of thought, will and feeling in everyday life? 

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