Press Releases | Citizenship

ACTA Recognizes Duke University’s Arete Initiative as an Outstanding Liberal Arts Program

May 24, 2021 by ACTA

Washington, DC – Duke University’s Arete Initiative has been named an Oasis of Excellence for its commitment to helping students cultivate intellectual and civic virtue.

ACTA promotes rigorous academic study, a strong liberal arts curriculum, and broadening viewpoint diversity through its Oases of Excellence initiative. These 70 plus programs share a commitment to educating students for informed citizenship in a free society by maintaining the highest academic standards, introducing students to the best of the foundational arts and sciences, teaching American heritage, and ensuring free inquiry into a range of intellectual viewpoints.

Housed in the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, the Arete Initiative provides students and faculty with opportunities to engage with the foundational questions of humanity and citizenship through lectures, conferences, courses, and research. The program also works to foster friendship and bring the campus community together across ideological divides. In addition to its collegiate programs, the Arete Initiative offers a summer program on virtue for high schoolers and a summer program on ethics for medical students.

The Arete Initiative is led by Faculty Director Jed W. Atkins, E. Blake Byrne Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Associate Professor of Political Science, and by Associate Director John Rose. Atkins notes, “Arete’s courses and programming help equip a rising generation of Duke students to disagree well and to view those who hold opposing positions on political, religious, and cultural issues as fellow friends, learners, and (eventually) co-workers from whom to learn rather than as foes to be silenced or ostracized. By creating classrooms hospitable to viewpoint diversity, students can learn to charitably discuss the significant questions of meaning, value, purpose, and spirit that confront us as human beings and citizens.”

ACTA is proud to partner with a program that immerses students is a wide variety of viewpoints and creates a community of critical thinkers who will be well-prepared for the challenges of career and citizenship upon graduation.

“The ability to grapple with differing viewpoints is fundamental for true citizenship,” said Michael Poliakoff, president of ACTA. “In an age too often sadly defined by apathy and ignorance, programs like the Arete Initiative ensure that students who enter America’s higher education system can grow into the informed citizens and successful leaders that our nation needs.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Gabrielle Anglin
PHONE: (202) 798-5425


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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