About us

Founded and directed by composer Daniel Asia, the American Culture and Ideas Initiative celebrates the American intellectual experience, especially the rich legacy of high art, music, and dance, and the philosophical principles of the founding of America--both political and economic--that promote this flourishing culture. 

The Initiative contributes to the intellectual diversity and breadth of the University with a renewed emphasis on the Western tradition, emphasizing the confluence of distinct cultures in the history of Western civilization including those of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, London, and New York.  At the same time, the program is genuinely multi-cultural and global in character.  Its research profile includes how Eastern cultural traditions contribute to, and help define, the American experience.  

Goals and Objectives: 

• Combat a wide-ranging illiteracy and unfamiliarity of the American intellectual and cultural experience with respect to the philosophical principles at the core of the nation.

• Serve as a laboratory for pedagogical innovation, specifically in integrating cross-college modes of inquiry.  It provides significant outreach through lectures, presentations, conferences, and performances.

• Formulate the character of future leaders through a concentration in the foundations of American institutions and culture.

• Emphasize the close study of great texts—works of music, dance, theater, the visual arts, philosophy, religion, political thought, and literature.

• Expand intellectual toleration and act as free speech and open inquiry advocates in the arts and humanities.