Institute of World Culture

Theme for 2015

Exploring the Rich and Relevant Values of World Culture

Welcome to another year of thought and discussion at the Institute of World Culture. As you may know the theme for 2015 is Exploring the Rich and Relevant Values of World Culture. We look forward to your participation in the variety of programs being scheduled to explore this theme. A number of new speakers have agreed to present a program. At our first seminar January 17th, an introduction to concepts and topics illustrating world culture will be offered. Topics on all sources of human culture – artistic, literary, philosophical, scientific, sociological, economic, environmental and political will be explored. A review of the ten aims expressed in our Declaration of Interdependence could offer insights into the constitutive values of an emerging world culture. In this time of disturbance and great suffering throughout the world, the Institute can be a calm center of humanitarian thought and constructive vision. The proposition that ideas can change the world is more evident than cursory news may indicate. The opportunity for growth in our vision and capacity for compassion was expressed so clearly in a letter sent by Albert Einstein to The New York Times in 1950. We are adopting his observations as a source of inspiration for this year’s programs at the Institute.  

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thought and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
                                                                                                –Albert Einstein

Click here for more information on the IWC Declaration of Interdependence

Program for 2015

What is World Culture?

Saturday, January 17, 2015
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara

A panel of Institute members will present their understanding of culture and the characteristics of world culture. Propositions about how culture is cultivated and whether or not cross-cultural understanding is possible will be examined with examples. The case for the emergence of world culture will be suggested by a review of the topics for programs at the Institute during 2015. Attendees will be encouraged to share their perceptions of culture, cultural conflict, the values implicit in the concept of world culture and the evidence of an emerging world culture. Call Carolyn Dorrance at 967-1055 if you would like to be on the panel or email

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Forum and Film
Forgiveness: A Path to Peace

Saturday, January 31, 2015
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Moderator: Professor Nandini Iyer

An exploration of the requirements for and impact of forgiveness will follow the showing of a penetrating, documentary film on Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate. Recent examples of reconciliation and collective forgiveness in various countries around the world such as Rwanda will indicate how the scope and challenges of forgiveness as a deep means of conflict resolution have expanded. Discussion will include focus on how peace and the emergence of world culture depend on individuals transforming anger and hate into forgiveness and fellowship.

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Macrobiotics for People and Planet:
Ethical Eating, Energy and Asian Culture
ying-yang symbol

Saturday, February14, 2015
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Professor Catherine Albanese

Access to great diversity of multi-cultural food is a popular part of emerging world culture. While Europeans enjoy varieties of Chinese dinners, the McDonald’s menu has become immensely popular in China and around the globe. However, word is getting out regarding the damage that Western, and especially American, food consumption patterns are doing to our planet.  Global warming, water pollution and scarcity, the vanishing of rainforests, world food distribution issues, animal abuse, and much else have been laid at the feet of an immense and profit-driven agribusiness system.  Meat, dairy, and sugar for First World countries translate into poverty and malnutrition in the developing world as well as into environmental abuse everywhere.  As this damage increases and spreads, awareness of the ethical implications of American eating patterns for our own bodies and spirits is increasingly apparent.

Enter East Asian culture with its centuries of developed food philosophy.  In the most salient current version—macrobiotics—Asian, and specifically Japanese-inspired, teachings provide a comprehensive model for returning to a tradition that also provides a cutting-edge intervention for future food consumption.  Based on Asian ideas of the energetic differences between yin and yang as applied to food, climate, and physiological constitution and condition, macrobiotics turns neo-traditionalism inside out to chart a new pathway to human health and wholeness that honors and transforms our planet as well.  With a theoretical perspective that encompasses everything from the energy of the cosmos to the inherent energetic differences between different foods, macrobiotics offers its own “great chain of being” to help heal the planet and heal ourselves.

Professor Catherine Albanese, an Associate Teacher and Counselor for the Kushi Institute with four certificates in macrobiotics will explain how this ancient diet can bring about this healing.

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Forum: Film and Discussion
American Revolutionary:
The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs

Saturday, February 28, 2015
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Concord Hall, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Moderator: Maurice Bisheff

Constructive change and humanistic progress require people with commitment to ideals and compassionate concern for the well-being of others. Such a person is an unsung heroine, Grace Lee Boggs, 99, a Chinese American philosopher, writer and activist working in Detroit, Michigan for over 75 years. Engaged in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she used her experience and dedicated her life to constructive social change, first as a Marxist, and eventually as a proponent of non-violence as taught by Martin Luther King. American Revolutionary offers us an inspiring tale of how this smart, determined, idealistic Chinese American woman became a civil rights movement fixture from its earliest post-war days and, later, a spokesperson for Black Power. Often the only non-black — and only woman — in a roomful of unapologetic activists planning for a revolution they believed inevitable, Grace Boggs challenged people “to not get stuck in old ideas. Keep recognizing that reality is changing and that your ideas have to change.” Revolution, Boggs says, "is about something deeper within the human experience — the ability to transform oneself and transform the world." Discussion will follow the showing of this 82-minute documentary.

This event is a collaboration with the award-winning documentary series  POV (

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Contrasting Chinese and American Culture

chinese woman with paper umbrella

Saturday, March 14, 2015
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Yan Raynor

Observations of the values and customs of life in China will be compared to those experienced in American society by Yan Raynor, a Chinese immigrant into the United States. Points of comparison will include family life, educational and work place experiences and social roles. The sense of identity and the virtues that a human being is expected to cultivate in Chinese society will be contrasted with those valued in American culture. Differences in basic ideas about freedom, equality, justice, harmony, democracy and the use of history will be considered. References to Chinese literature may supplement the account of the presenter's personal experience.

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Impact of Modernizationon on Traditional Culture in Southeast Asia

Saturday, March 28, 2015
2:00 – 5:00 pm
Concord House, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara
Presenter: Julie Campbell

How have the methods of modernization and economic development such as exploration by transnational corporations, large-scale mining and factory production impacted traditional values and lifestyles in Southeast Asia? Can reverence for the natural world, the use of traditional medicines, the belief in holistic mythology and protective taboos survive and continue to nourish people, at least in rural villages? Will the threats to land titles, burial grounds and fishing rights undermine the traditional meaning of “to belong” to a community and to live in harmony within the natural environment? Can modern education and the tools of ecology management empower those suffering from the rush toward modernization and help them to adapt to change while preserving some of their traditional values and core identity? Will exposure to modern life styles and values lead instead to impoverishment and alienation?

These and other questions will be addressed with the aid of stories, taped conversations and photos presented by Julie Campbell. She lived in Indonesia for over 20 years doing original research and working in Irian, Jaya with native tribes and oil, mining and exploration corporations to reduce the impact of development plans. She has studied the impact of modernization on other traditional societies in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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