Category: Programs

Blog author: jcouretas
posted by on Monday, January 11, 2010

A friendly reminder that registration is currently open for the 2010 Acton University (AU), which will take place on June 15-18 in Grand Rapids, Mich. This year’s distinguished international faculty will once again guide participants through an expanded curriculum, offering even greater depth of exploration into the intellectual foundations of a free society.

For four days each June in Grand Rapids, the Acton Institute convenes an ecumenical conference of 400 pastors, seminarians, educators, non-profit managers, business people and philanthropists from more than 50 countries. Here, people of faith gather to integrate and better articulate faith and free enterprise, entrepreneurship, sound public policy, and effective leadership at the local church and community level. With this week of AU fellowship and discourse, participants build a theological and economic infrastructure for the work of restoring and defending hope and dignity to people around the world.

Space and scholarship funds are limited – so get a move on! Please visit www.acton.org/actonu where you will find the online registration form along with complete conference information. If you have any questions, please contact Kara Eagle, Acton’s Education Initiatives Manager, at keagle@acton.org or at 616.454.3080. We hope to see you in June!

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From the vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 to Augustine’s City of God, the civitas is an enormously pervasive and rich biblical and theological theme. On the contemporary scene there area number of indications that evangelicals are looking more deeply and critically at engagement with the “city” as a social, political, ethical, and theological reality. This is part of the explicit vision of The King’s College in New York City, for instance, where Acton research fellow Anthony Bradley is currently a visiting professor of theology. At Houston Baptist University, the publication aptly named The City, “featuring leading voices in Christian academia and elsewhere on the critical issues of the times.”

North of the border, the Canadian think-tank Cardus has long examined the issues surrounding Christian cultural engagement, particularly within the dynamic matrix of what we call “cities.” Recently Cardus published critical perspectives from Darryl Hart and Nelson Kloosterman, “The Gospel and the City: What’s a Believer To Do?”

For a number of years now the Acton Institute has produced specialized conferences focused on the more specialized call to move “Toward a Free and Virtuous City.” The most recent installment of the “City FAVS” took place last month in Weehawken, New Jersey, and featured Dr. Bradley, Rudy Carrasco, Acton president Rev. Robert A. Sirico, and Michael Lee of Georgetown University.

As the Lord said to Jonah of that ancient capital, “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

Blog author: jcouretas
posted by on Monday, March 9, 2009

Maurice Black and Erin O’Connor, research fellows at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, write in “Illiterates,” a column in Newsday, that “younger Americans are deplorably uninformed about economic and financial matters.” They observe that “students who do not understand money become adults who are financially irresponsible.” And, of course, they become adults who are not equipped to understand broader economic issues involving government, such as taxation, debt and spending. From the column:

Some colleges and universities offer programs such as free and confidential peer counseling sessions or classes that teach undergraduates the nuts and bolts of managing their personal finances. But efforts along these lines are not being made systematically. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has found that only one of 100 leading American universities requires an economics course.

No wonder that a 2008 Intercollegiate Studies Institute survey revealed stunning levels of economic ignorance among the American people as a whole. Only 16 percent could differentiate free markets from central government planning. Less than 30 percent understood the relationship between taxes and government spending, and less than 40 percent knew what sort of fiscal policy would produce economic stimulus.

These problems are deepened by pre-existing deficits in essential literacy and numeracy skills. Some colleges have no math requirements at all. Even at schools that require quantitative reasoning, it’s often easy to avoid math. At the University of Pennsylvania, to take one example, students can satisfy their quantitative requirement with courses on anxiety disorders, perceptual learning or the family.

Support the Acton Institute’s educational programs via this secure online link.

Blog author: apienta
posted by on Monday, February 9, 2009

Maltese-American marketing professor, Dr. Andrew Abela, is the winner of the Acton Institute’s 2009 Novak Award.

Dr. Andrew Abela

Dr. Abela’s main research areas include consumerism, marketing ethics, Catholic Social Teaching, and internal marketing communication. Believing that anti-free market perspectives seem to dominate discussion about the social impact of business, Dr. Abela is working to explore Christian ethics further to show how these issues can be resolved more humanely and effectively through market-oriented approaches. To aid this work, Dr. Abela is currently preparing a catechism for business leaders, which will address tough ethical questions in business in the light of Christian social ethics.

A frequent guest on television and radio programs, Dr. Abela has recently addressed such issues as the moral underpinnings of the current financial crisis and ethics in advertising. Dr. Abela is also widely published in refereed academic and professional journals, including the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and the Journal of Markets & Morality.

For a look at some of Dr. Abela’s work, click on the below links:

“The Price of Freedom: Consumerism and Liberty in Secular Research and Catholic Teaching”Journal of Markets & Morality
“Is Consumerism Harmful?”Religion & Liberty
• “Subsidiarity and the Just Wage: Implications of Catholic Social Teaching for the Minimum Wage Debate” (forthcoming) – Journal of Markets & Morality, Spring 2009

Named after distinguished American theologian and social philosopher Michael Novak, the Novak Award rewards new outstanding research by scholars early in their academic careers who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of theology’s connection to human dignity, the importance of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom. Recipients of the Novak Award make a formal presentation on such questions at an annual public forum known as the Calihan Lecture. The Novak Award comes with a $10,000 prize. To learn more, visit Acton’s awards and scholarships page.

Dr. Abela received his Ph.D. in Management with concentrations in marketing and business ethics from the University of Virginia, Darden Business School in 2003 and an MBA from the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Chair-elect of the Department of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He also has extensive professional experience, including most recently as the Managing Director at the Marketing Leadership Council, a research program serving Chief Marketing Officers of leading global firms. Dr. Abela also spent several years with the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company, and was a brand manager with Procter & Gamble.

Blog author: jspalink
posted by on Friday, July 18, 2008

It’s not even close to the end of summer but we’re already promoting Acton University 2009! Acton Media has just released a video short promoting Acton University – take a look and see if it looks interesting to you.

Acton University is a truly eye-opening experience filled with lectures and discussions with experienced and knowledgeable experts on economics, religion, and beyond. Find out more about Acton University by visiting the ActonU Website. No materials have been published on Acton University 2009, but you will get a good idea of what topics are covered and who is involved. Also, there is a slide show available online that gives another picture of what AU looks like – take a look!

Blog author: mvandermaas
posted by on Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Update – Tuesday, 5:00 PM: The full menu of lecture recordings is now available. We’ll likely post some video of the evening speakers as well sometime this week. Enjoy!

It’s hard to believe, but AU 2008 has come to a close. From a staff perspective, it’s a strange feeling after a week of nonstop running (and in my case, sweating) to realize that, by golly, I don’t have any lectures to record tomorrow!

A hearty thanks goes out to all of this year’s participants from around the world, as does a fond farewell. A big part of what makes AU great is the quality of the people who come to Grand Rapids for a week in order to engage the big ideas that are presented in the lectures below. We hope to see many of you back in 2009.

And I’d be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the amazing work of Kara Eagle and her army of staff and interns, without whom the impossible task of planning, organizing, and actually putting on AU would remain impossible.

Tuesday, June 10

Wednesday, June 11

Thursday, June 12

Friday, June 13

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Monday, June 16, 2008

We had a very active week on the blogosphere during this year’s Acton University. The daily round-ups are linked below, as well as updated links to summary and reflective posts written after the conference’s completion. Many of our bloggers have been inspired to produce a series of reactions in the days and weeks following this year’s events.

If you’ve posted your thoughts on Acton University 2008 and we haven’t noted it above, kindly drop us a line in the comment boxes below.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Friday, June 13, 2008

We’re wrapping up the final day of classes here at Acton University 2008. Check out some of the initial reactions to Day 3 proceedings below.

To be updated as more final day posts and overall reflections roll in.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Thursday, June 12, 2008

Acton University 2008 is in full gear as we proceed with the second full day of classes. Our staff is working hard at capturing audio from the conference, which you can keep abreast of here.

And our attendees are continuing their excellent work in their commitments to attend each session and bring critically thoughtful engagement with the topics. Highlights of the blogging from Day 2 include:

As in our previous blogger round-ups, if you’ve got a post that should be included, let us know by dropping us a line in the comment boxes below.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A number of bloggers have begun posting their summaries, thoughts, and reactions to the first day of sessions at Acton University 2008. Below is a list, which will be updated periodically throughout the day.

If you have a post that ought to listed, please note it in the comments below and I’ll add it to our watch list.