Summer school 2006 in Putten

Every year, the Edmund Burke Foundation selects around 25 of the best and brightest students and young professionals in the Netherlands to participate in its annual summer school. The purpose of the event is to nurture a new generation of conservative leaders, by offering those students who are truly interested in ideas the opportunity to become acquainted with the greatest books, minds and ideas of the West’s cultural and intellectual heritage. This year, the event was held at the stunningly beautiful 18th Century Vanenburg castle from 5-8 July 2006, with the theme: “Decline of the West?” The 25 students came thoroughly prepared, having read a 250 page reader of collected essays, chapters and articles on the subject, including excerpts from authors such as Leo Strauss, Ortega y Gasset, James Kurth and Joseph Seifert.

Receptie zomerschool 2006

The conference began with a stirring lecture by Douglas Murray, bestselling author and one of Britain’s foremost conservative intellectuals. Murray told students that many of the core principles   of the Western Tradition are under attack, but to reject your own heritage is to commit civilisational suicide and compel yourself to cultural exile. Conservatism is really about love of the past, and love of what’s been good to you and forgiveness of those who have not.” Murray urged the students to undertake the serious effort to acquire the Western cultural, political and philosophical heritage and for their own sakes to look beyond modern mass-culture. “And even though admitting to be conservative has been described as “dinner party hara-kiri”, the faithful defenders of the Western alliance, must continue to expose that which we know to be true.”

The intense four-day programme included discussions, a general knowledge quiz, debates and lectures. As in previous years, the school was run in close cooperation with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute from the United States, whose director of Academic affairs Mark Henrie presented lectures on how Western civilisation grew out of the synthesis of Judeo-Christian, Classical and Germanic cultures. Students crowded around him with questions, and discussions continued before, during and after dinner for most of the week. One afternoon, the participants watched the film Metropolitan by the conservative filmmaker Whit Stillman, and Henrie lucidly explained the underlying intentions of the film and the moral dilemmas in it.

The intense four-day programme included discussions, a general knowledge quiz, debates and lectures. As in previous years, the school was run in close cooperation with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute from the United States, whose director of Academic affairs Mark Henrie presented lectures on how Western civilisation grew out of the synthesis of Judeo-Christian, Classical and Germanic cultures. Students crowded around him with questions, and discussions continued before, during and after dinner for most of the week. One afternoon, the participants watched the film Metropolitan by the conservative filmmaker Whit Stillman, and Henrie lucidly explained the underlying intentions of the film and the moral dilemmas in it.

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