The Phoenix Institute 2017 Notre Dame Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions July 1st - 29th


This year, The Phoenix Institute Summer Seminars for the Study of Western Institutions will include three basic activities:

  • Two mandatory courses to be attended by all students;
  • A program of academic and cultural activities designed to mark the 30th Anniversary of the first Phoenix summer course; and
  • The Gerhard Niemeyer Graduation Seminar, to be attended by all third year students.


The Opening Seminar is designed to provide a proper introduction to the summer course as a whole. Students will meet their professors, classmates and coordinators; review the calendar of curricular and extra-curricular activities; learn all they need to know about life at Notre Dame; etc. The Seminar will take place in the morning of Sunday, July 2. Participation in the Opening Seminar is compulsory for all students.


Dr. Bradley Lewis
Associate Professor, School of Philosophy
Catholic University of America, USA

Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War is one of the greatest historical narratives ever produced, telling the story of the epic struggle between democratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta and their allies that took place between 431 and 404 BC. But it is much more: along the way Thucydides presents deep analyses of the nature of democracy and other political regimes, the moral hazards of empire, justice among nations, and the causes of war. He penetrates to the roots of political life in human nature. His reflections are thus not only of historical interest but take us to matters of permanent relevance in human affairs.

Dr. Bradley Lewis. Ph.D. Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame. M.A., Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame. B.A., Government and Politics, University of Maryland. Associate Professor at the School of Philosophy of The Catholic University of America. Associate Editor of The American Journal of Jurisprudence.

Dr. Randall B. Smith
Scanlan Professor of Theology
University of St. Thomas, Houston

The individualism that characterizes the modern and post-modern condition has been the subject of major critiques recently, especially by many proponents of virtue ethics, but also others who are concerned not so much about how modernity values the individual, but the degree to which it causes people to avoid thinking about others and the common good. A counter-tradition running back to the Greek, Hebrew, Roman, and Christian forebears of the Western culture suggests that human flourishing depends upon the persons' commitment to others. This course will explore the relationship between the individual, especially the heroic individual, and the common good of the larger community. Course readings will include selected texts from Virgil, the Bible, Ignatius of Antioch, Tertulian, Boethius, Jacques Maritain, Philip Hallie, and Alasdair MacIntyre, among others, along with the screening of films relevant to the course.

Dr. Randall B. Smith. Ph.D. Medieval Studies and Philosophy, University of Notre Dame. M.M.S. Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame. M.A. Department of Theology, University of Dallas B.A., Chemistry, Cornell College. Scanlan Professor of Theology of the University of St. Thomas, Houston.


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.

In 2017, the Seminar discussion sessions will be held between Thursday, June 29, and Saturday, July 1st.

Third Year students are expected to arrive on Campus on Wednesday, June 28 (three days before the rest of the group).

The Graduation Seminar will cost $80.00 USD.


Back in 1987, a group of students and teachers organized a summer program in the University of Texas at Tyler to explore the question "what is it to be human?"

They did so out of their common need for a multinational and multidisciplinary environment where professors and students could get together to explore the nature, main features and historic development of the Western tradition.

At the end of that summer, the Phoenix Institute was born.

Thirty years later, such initial question -along with the need for a community of friends to discuss it with- remains an urgent one.

We will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the first Phoenix summer program with a series of cultural and academic activities. The details of these activities will be announced in the weeks to come.


The Seminar will be held in the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. The University is about two hours by car from Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport and about 90 minutes from Midway International Airport. Coach USA maintains a bus shuttle several times daily between campus and both Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway airports. The South Shore Line trains run directly from the Chicago Loop (corner of Michigan and Randolph) to South Bend Regional Airport in South Bend (about a two-hour trip). From the airport, the Notre Dame campus is approximately a 15-minute ride by car.


The cost of the program is 3,150 USD and it includes the full tuition fee, double/triple-occupancy accommodations, 25-meals Plan (TBC), and the fees for the use of all the libraries and recreational facilities available on the Notre Dame campus.

The full cost of the program’s tuition fee must be covered by June 15th, preferably earlier. Admission to the campus will only be possible after full prior payment of the tuition fee. Cash payments will not be accepted.

A 300 USD nonrefundable initial payment will be needed for registration.

Enrollment to both Summer Programs is limited. If interested in attending, you should apply by May 8, 2017, preferably earlier. Applications will be considered as they arrive**. The first step to apply is by filling out the pre-register.

**Applications received after May 8 will still be processed by the Phoenix Institute, in the understanding that they will only be reviewed and considered after the first admission list is exhausted.


As for this year, due to a recent change of policy, the University of Notre Dame will not require foreign students to get a student visa in order to participate in our summer programs (a regular B2 visa will suffice).


Because of the high cost of medical treatment in the United States, all students must purchase a medical insurance policy prior to arrival at the University of Notre Dame.

The Phoenix Institute cannot provide for any medical care or medical costs and insurance coverage.

Participants, who have not sent the Institute prior written proof of their medical insurance coverage, will not be admitted.


Apply for the 2017 Summer Programs.