Attendees are encouraged to arrive before 6:00 pm when our first speaker will take the stage. This is a great opportunity to explore the venue, collect your welcome packet, and ask our staff any questions you may have.
We're kicking off with an inspiring speaker whose story, enmeshed in a tragic reality, will provide the context for why we're here in the first place. An interview conversation will follow. We'll then break for a reception dinner and then return to the main hall for a musical performance by one of Europe's most talented young musicians.
This isn't your average ideas conference featuring statesmen, celebrities, and business leaders. The Savannah Symposium is first and foremost about ideas and their transformative power. Each of the three full days of programming will begin with a lecture on the text that anchors this event, Plato's Symposium. The close reading of this text, one of the richest works of literature from the ancient world, is absolutely crucial to the culture of ideas central to the founding principles of Ralston College. These lectures, delivered by the sublimely talented Eli Diamond, might blow your mind, bring you to tears, or leave you in contemplative wonder–but they will definitely make you think.
No one ever recommended thinking on an empty stomach. Enjoy a tasty lunch prepared by chef Nick Mueller. Eat, relax, converse, or simply ponder as you recline on the grassy lawn of Trustees' Garden.
* Lunch will not be provided on Saturday, April 18th
We live in an age of information abundance. Want to learn a new skill or start a side-hustle? Well you can learn it on YouTube, right? Want to learn about the deepest and most perennial questions central to the human condition, tackled by philosophy, literature, and music throughout history? The Internet alone may not suffice. To dive deeper into the text of Symposium we’ll break into small-group seminars, each led by world-class teachers. You'll have an hour to ask questions, advance arguments, look at different perspectives, and share reflections—that is, to participate in the kind of intellectual community that has defined higher education since Plato’s own time. These seminars will take place "off campus" in the heart of historic Savannah and within an easy walk of the Kehoe Iron Works
Before and after your seminar, take time to explore the city, return to your hotel, or prepare for the evening. We won’t be surprised if you end up spending your afternoons in conversation with fellow attendees.
This is when we bring out the big guns–intellectual and journalistic superstars like Iain McGilchrist, Douglas Hedley, Jordan Peterson, Anthony Malcolm Daniels, Claire Lehmann, and others–for talks and discussion: both sharing their accumulated wisdom and engaging in the dynamic dialectic of thinking on the spot. This time slot has a growing list of speakers and panelists: subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter for updates.
Dine with speakers, teachers, VIPs and attendees while discussing the previous two-and-a-half hours of talks and discussions.
*Dinner will not be provided on Friday, April 17th. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy Savannah’s famous social scene, restaurants, and nightlife.
After a full day of thinking, reading, and engaging, it's time to unwind. Let your mind relax and allow your spirit to be moved. Following Wednesday evening’s music, we’ll have a theatrical performance of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale on Thursday night. Friday we let you roam free to discover Savannah on your own or with new friends.
On Saturday evening the Symposium will culminate in an indoor-outdoor gala in Telfair Square, the historic Telfair Academy, and the Jepson Center next door, with music, drinks, and food in all three of these marvelous, adjacent locations. We invite you to dress as formally as you like for this elegant evening affair.