The Phoenix Institute 2018 Trumau-Vienna Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions July 6th - July 28th

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; and
  • The Gerhard Niemeyer Graduation Seminar, to be attended by all third year students.


The Opening Seminar offers an introduction to the summer course as a whole. The Phoenix Institute Mission Statement will be read, explained and discussed and additional reading will be handed out and read and discussed in small groups to gain a deeper understanding of the aims of the Phoenix Institute. The introductory seminar will take place on Saturday, July 7th. Participation in the Opening Seminar is compulsory for all students enrolled in the program.


Dr. Bernhard Dolna
Lecturer of Jewish Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria
Dean of Studies and Professor of Philosophy at the International Theological Institute, Austria

The great Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) lived at the height of the Middle Ages and witnessed the first signs of the coming Renaissance. In no other work is the life and spirit of the Middle Ages so thoroughly revealed and at the same time so passionately defended as in the Divine Comedy. The course will present Dante's masterpiece in the framework of Western philosophy, history, religion and culture. The concept of the world in the Middle Ages was based on a set of strong theological foundations. The Renaissance shifted away from these foundations towards the individualism that would eventually shape the modern world. The course will outline, question and discuss this development and its ramifications for the development of Western Thought. Through the study of the Divine Comedy, the foundations of European culture can be better understood whilst a deeper sense for the fullness of Western culture as a whole can be attained. These considerations should also enable the participants to appreciate the greatness of being human, which is so clearly mirrored in the Divine Comedy: in the use of his reason, man might be limited; in the use of his will, he could be constructive or destructive; yet he always stands in relation to God his creator. This he may acknowledge or reject, yet it constitutes the essential meaning of life: that man is a complex being in which heaven and earth are interwoven. This is one of the main dramas of the Divine Comedy. The course is an invitation to delve into one of the most important and influential works of world literature.

Dr. Bernhard Dolna. Philosophy, theology, and German literature at the University of Vienna and at the University of Freiburg. Doctorate in Theology. Assistant Professor of Ecumenical Studies and Jewish Studies and Dean of the International Theological Institute, Austria. His areas of specialization include Judaic Studies, Jewish/Christian Relations, and theological and philosophical reflections on world literature. Dr. Dolna publishes extensively internationally.

Dr. David Walsh
Professor of Politics
The Catholic University of America

The term prospon identified the mask held by an actor in Greek tragedy. From it we get our word "person." Yet the notion of what it means to be a person has only begun to be clarified. The philosophical movement known as Personalism, that inspired Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, was an important reminder of the centrality of the person in all that we do and think. The difference between someone and something, between I and Thou, underlines the crucial aspect. Persons are not merely things but beings who possess interiority, an inner life that enables them to enter into relationship with one another. Indeed, the capacity to set oneself aside for the sake of the other is what it means to be a person. For this reason, we cannot define a person but only love him or her. By adopting this person-centered perspective we will see that many of the controversies about the beginning and end of human life can be addressed. It will provide us with a way of appreciating the way in which the language of rights really is an attempt to name what we already know in relating to others. Only persons can recognize persons as inexhaustible centers of value and dignity in the order of things.

Dr. David Walsh. Ph.D. in Government, Professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America. As specialist in political theory, Dr. David Walsh is the author of a three-volume study of modernity addressing the totalitarian crisis, the resurgence of liberal democracy, and the philosophical revolution of the modern world.


If you are a Phoenix Institute third year student and are looking forward to graduating this summer during the Trumau-Vienna Summer Seminar, please contact Luzma González for further information on the corresponding procedure.


The Seminar will be held in Trumau, Austria, at the new campus of the International Theological Institute (ITI). Located 20 minutes south of Vienna and 30 minutes southwest of Vienna Airport by car, Trumau offers ample opportunities to take full advantage of Vienna's rich cultural atmosphere.


The cost of the program is 1,870 Euros, and it includes the full tuition fee, double/triple-occupancy accommodations, use of the ITI facilities, a number of cultural activities in and around Vienna (transportation included), and the Meal Plan (daily breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday).

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 Euro nonrefundable initial payment will be needed for registration.

Enrollment to both Summer Programs is limited. If interested in attending, you should apply by May 1st, 2018, preferably earlier. Applications will be considered as they arrive.*

*Applications received after May 1st 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.


Applicants from outside the EU need to inform at the Austrian Embassy or consulate in their home country whether a (student or tourist) visa is required for entry into Austria.


Prior to arrival in Austria, all participants must purchase a full medical insurance policy that covers any medical emergencies or needs whilst attending the course.

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 to our Summer Programs.