The Institute for Freedom & Community has created an array of opportunities for students, faculty, and society at large to engage in — and learn from — serious debate and civil discourse. Ranging from guest lectures to public debates; from social activism to the Public Affairs Conversation, The Institute sponsors and coordinates initiatives that make a difference in our world.
Events and Lecture Series
The Institute offers a year-round series of guest lectures and public debates by nationally prominent thinkers, political commentators, and social activists, representing a broad and balanced range of opinion and ideological perspectives. This includes the annual St. Olaf Symposium for Constructive Political Discourse and Inquiry that addresses a major public policy issue.
The Public Affairs Conversation is modeled on the other signature Conversation programs at St. Olaf. Students undertake an interdisciplinary journey through influential texts and ideas that have shaped civil discourse in the past and will guide its future. The Institute also co-sponsors Sustained Dialogue at St. Olaf, a program from the Sustained Dialogue Institute.
Resources and Mentorship
The Institute will appoint one or two Postdoctoral Fellows who will teach courses in The Institute’s area of interest and conduct scholarly research. Residencies by highly successful practitioners from politics/government, business, and the nonprofit sector will also be offered. These fellows spend three to five days on campus as Public Affairs Fellows, serving as a resource for students and faculty.