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While the Foundation Year Program appears to be (and is) about the past, its goal is to come to know our own contemporary age more deeply. The course as a whole can be described as an ”odyssey” or a journey that goes to many wondrous places, but one that is taking us home to our time, our culture – to know that familiar place “for the first time”.
This journey teaches us many new things, but is ultimately and primarily a journey of self-discovery. The privilege of this journey is for us to come to know the assumptions we inhabit and the ways of being we take for granted not only by contrasting them with other standpoints, but by seeing and thinking through the coming to be of our own world.
Such self-knowledge is liberating and meaningful. It also gives to you a new obligation: to engage with the assumptions of our age rather than passively accepting them. This engagement includes seeing possibilities for change as well as remembrances of things long forgotten.
In our globalizing, diversifying time, why the Foundation Year Program? Why a program that follows the trajectory of western culture? Crucially, FYP does not explore this trajectory as a self-enclosed “tradition”, but precisely as a story informed by encounters and inter-connections with a much broader world. But further, while there has always been a wonderful multiplicity of cultures and societies, there has only in the modern age come to be a “global” world. The story of “globalization” and its deeper sources is not something the Foundation Year Program assumes: it actually considers the cultural, historical, even spiritual sources that underlie this powerful development, and its capacity to bring forth great good and great evil.
The Foundation Year Program is a chance to think and reflect upon fundamental human questions and developments. In this deep thinking you will not abandon our world, but discover how to more deeply and effectively engage with it in a fashion that promises to alter not simply a single year of your life, but its entirety.
Dr. Neil Robertson
Director, Foundation Year Program