Update from the Founding Director


The concept of community is central to the Inspired Leadership Initiative.  In our context this means the community of fellows, the broader University community and communities beyond campus.

One of the most striking things at this stage of the Inspired Leadership Initiative journey is how the cohort of fellows has become a community in its best sense.  The fellows provide resources, support and guidance to each other as they individually begin to focus more intently on where this year will lead them.  This determination of individual purpose and direction is shaped by discussion forums they have initiated to ensure that they have the benefit of the wisdom of their own new cohort "family".  These forums are but one example of the power of the community they have formed.

Now comfortable in the ways of the campus the fellows are focused intently on ensuring they are taking full advantage of all the University community has to offer before their year is complete.   In addition to the core course, which you will learn more about below, the fellows are partaking in their individually tailored curriculum while also engaging in myriad ways across the campus.  A year which once seemed to be a considerable period of time now seems remarkably short and to be flying by. Fellows can be found at lectures, symposia, theatre, arts, athletic events and all the campus has to offer - as well as guest lecturing in areas of expertise and exploring their passions with faculty.

All of our fellows, and their spouse or a guest, recently returned from an opportunity to engage with a more global community through their Immersion in Rome, one of five global locations where Notre Dame has a "Gateway" with significant faculty and physical resource.  By design this was much more than academic tourism with ILI faculty leadership present augmented by expertise and access afforded by the University's presence and relationships.

Does joining such a community of accomplished individuals sound intriguing?  We are well into our application process for our 2019-2020 cohort and welcome further inquiry through our website, ili.nd.edu.

With Best Regards,

The ILI Core Course: Great Books 

Key to the experience of an ILI fellow is the opportunity to engage in Notre Dame's vibrant academic community. The fellows have enjoyed a wide range of courses this year, in disciplines ranging from Anthropology, Design, and Fiction Writing to Jazz, Philosophy, Venture Management, and World Politics. This semester, studio classes in drawing, watercolor, photography, and piano have added special personal enrichment for many of the fellows.
At the heart of their experience, is the program's core course, "Great Books and the Human Journey," team taught by two of Notre Dame's distinguished and popular professors, Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C. and Thomas Stapleford. The weekly seminar-style discussion has led the fellows since last August to study of some of the great texts associated with the intellectual traditions of ancient Athens, Rome and Jerusalem. The exploration of the themes and questions of these works served as catalysts for each to consider how the past can inform the journey of their own lives.
"The 'great books' are texts that transcend their time and place, that raise questions that continue to resonate with us today. To read a classic text -- whether from antiquity, the Renaissance, or the twentieth century -- is to step into another world. It stretches our minds and challenges us, but it also allows us to see ourselves and contemporary culture in a new light," shares Prof. Stapleford. "It has been exciting to watch the Fellows move through this process, learning from what they read and from one another."
Great Books and the Human Journey: The Heart's Desire and Discerning the Path of Authenticity, Meaning, Mission  
In the second semester, the theme of this course has deepened to include more personal reflection and communal connection to guide the fellows to consider their talents, values and vocation and to dream about how each of them can make a difference in the world.  As Fr. Groody puts it, “This course is not only a chance to read some of the great books of civilization but to see how they read us. That is, how they put us in touch with questions at the heart of our humanity as we navigate our journey through this world.” 
The fellows have found the richness of both community and personal discernment in this course. As one fellow offers, "It is simply a luxury to re-discover old texts and to be exposed to new works through the lense of both a humanist and theologian. Beyond that, it is a pleasure to listen to the insights of the other fellows as they bring their own experiences to the conversation."

ILI Fellows Travel to Rome

Notes from Co-Founding Director, Chris Stevens.....
The Army used to have an advertising campaign showing young well conditioned soldiers in all forms of early morning exercises with the tag line "We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day". They would have a hard time topping the very eager Inspired Leadership Initiative cohort that journeyed to Rome and Assisi, Italy for a full week immersion.
From private access to key sites throughout Rome such as the Vatican Museum, the Scavi, the Jewish Ghetto and the Sistine Chapel to a memorable trip to the beautiful and inspirational town of Assisi, the fellows of the Inspired Leadership Initiative had what they characterized as an unreplicable experience on their recent sojourn to Italy.
With the leadership of faculty who have been deeply engaged in the program such as Fr. Dan Groody and Professor Ted Cachey as well as the amazing Rome Global Gateway Staff, the fellows had a distinctive experience tailored to the ILI journey.  An immersion in Italy would not be complete without extraordinary Italian cuisine and the restaurant selections were terrific including a private meal right in the Vatican museum to reflect on a rich and rewarding day. Cap it off with invitations to Mass at St. Peter's led by Fr. Dan, a memorable lecture at the American Academy in Rome, a visit to the mission focused Community of St. Egidio, a presentation by the U.S. Charges D'Affaires to Italy, memorable evenings at the opera and the symphony, an audience with the Pope and an incredible visit to Assisi and the ILI Fellows were filled to the rim with both new knowledge and inspiring memories.
After their trip back across the pond, the cohort was back at it bright and early Monday morning at Notre Dame, sharing their recollections and diving back into class and the other activities on campus.  The Army would even be proud of the stamina of this hearty lot... and certainly the ILI leadership team is proud of being associated with such an inquisitive, resilient and wonderful group of ILI fellows and families.
Video from Rome and Assisi

Images of ILI in Rome and Assisi

We invite you to explore further joining

the ILI community. 

 For more information or to apply now to the Inspired Leadership Initiative, we invite you to visit ILI.ND.EDU 

or call 574.631.8070 to speak with a member of ILI Leadership. 

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