The Institute for Human Ecology invites you to join us in reviewing the highlights of 2019, a year of events and initiatives that increased understanding of the conditions necessary for human flourishing.

Through a broad scope of events — big discussions like Patrick Deneen’s lecture on aristopopulism in March and the Ahmari-French debate in September, conferences with graduate students in July and disability advocates in November, and interdisciplinary meetings and dinners — Fellows, followers, and friends benefited from opportunities to engage in rational discussion on critical issues.

The Catholic intellectual tradition illuminates every aspect of the Institute’s work. It pierces through, not just in the questions asked and the caliber of scholarship employed to answer them, but in the way IHE Fellows model civil discourse in their fields. We are excited to share the fruits of our work.


Ulrich Reading Group Begins under the Direction of Reinhard Huetter and D.C. Schindler

IHE Fellows and theologians Reinhard Huetter and D.C. Schindler began a faculty-student reading group devoted to the study of the magnum opus of Ferdinand Ulrich, Homo Abyssus: The Drama of the Question of Being. Their discussion focused on Ulrich’s Catholic metaphysics, bringing to light the profound ontological depths of the relationships that constitute human existence.


Intelligence Studies Program Director Nicholas Dujmovic Hosts “The Humanity of Espionage”

Frequent presenter at IHE events and Catholic University’s Intelligence Studies Program Director, Dr. Nicholas Dujmovic, moderated a panel exploring the relationship between spies and their handlers. Panelists included John Bennett, the former Director of the National Clandestine Service at the CIA, and Gil Kindelan, a retired case officer with the U.S. Army and CIA.


Patrick Deneen Speaks on “Aristopopulism: A Political Proposal for America”

Together with First Things, the IHE hosted Patrick Deneen, Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame, for a lecture on aristopopulism. Deneen proposed that only a well-formed elite can support a humane condition of the populace, and only a well-formed populace can fruitfully restrain the hubris of a liberal elite and orient them toward virtue.


IHE Executive Director Joe Capizzi Moderates “Rational Disagreement: An Examination” with Baylor University

In April, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, the IHE co-hosted “Rational Disagreement: An Examination” with Baylor University to discuss the decline in American civility and the role of universities in modeling rational disagreement. Panelists included IHE Fellows Tom Hibbs and Chad Pecknold, as well as Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a member of the IHE’s M.A. in Human Rights Advisory Council.


The John Courtney Murray Dinner Series Begins

Spurred by ongoing public discussion about the relationship between Catholicism and classical liberalism, IHE Faculty and Graduate Fellows came together over a series of several dinners moderated by Fellows Brad Lewis and David Walsh to raise and tackle surrounding questions in depth.


American Enterprise Institute Students Learn from IHE Fellows

Two dozen American Enterprise Institute students were hosted by the IHE during a week-long course, “Capitalism & Christianity: Do Markets Allow Us to Love Our Neighbor?” Participants heard from Director of Research and Planning Emmett McGroarty, as well as Fellows William Saunders and Chad Pecknold, on the IHE’s broad philosophical and theological commitments as the nation’s leading academic institute committed to increasing scientific understanding of human flourishing.


Rising Scholars Take Part in Civitas Dei Summer Fellowship

The IHE and the Thomistic Institute held their second annual Civitas Dei Summer Fellowship, introducing students to foundational themes in philosophy, political theory, and theology. Civitas Dei Fellows studied Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and modern constitutional jurisprudence under IHE Fellow Chad Pecknold, Harvard Law professor Adrian Vermeule, and Father Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P. Listen to the lectures here.


The IHE Welcomes New Graduate Fellows, Including First Class of M.A. Students

The IHE welcomed six new Graduate Fellows to pursue doctoral degrees in Politics, Philosophy, and Theology, bringing the total to thirteen. Five additional students began their studies as the first class in the IHE’s new M.A. in Human Rights program.


Ahmari-French Debate

In September, the IHE hosted Sohrab Ahmari of the New York Post and David French of National Review for a highly-anticipated debate on their dueling visions of cultural conservative engagement with the post-liberal left. IHE Fellow and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat moderated the discussion, which drew thousands to Twitter and live stream.


Second Annual Lecture on Human Rights: Thirty Years after Tiananmen Square

Guangcheng Chen and William Saunders, J.D., Director of the IHE’s Program in Human Rights, discussed the current state of human rights in China. Guangcheng Chen, the “barefoot lawyer” who drew worldwide attention to forced abortion in China, commented on developments since the Communist party crushed the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.


The IHE Co-Sponsors “Recognizing the Body of Christ: A Theological Engagement on Disability” with the National Catholic Partnership on Disability

The IHE partnered with NCPD for a symposium on the distinctively Catholic approach to disability. Moderated by J.D. Flynn, Editor-in-Chief of Catholic News Agency, the symposium drew clergy, religious, pastoral and catechetical leaders, seminarians, theology students, and academics. Participants heard from several speakers, including Miguel Romero, David Byers, and IHE Fellow Reinhard Huetter.


M.A. Students Meet with Experts in the Field

Throughout their first semester, M.A. in Human Rights students enjoyed regular opportunities to meet with experts in the human rights field, including Secretary General of the Tanzanian Bishops Conference Father Charles Kitima, Canadian public intellectual Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, and Professor Robert P. George (McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a member of the IHE’s M.A. in Human Rights Advisory Council).