Development of the SNF Agora Institute took a major step on Monday, when the institute installed its first cohort of endowed professors, and celebrated progress on the new building that it will eventually call home, at an event called “Join the Agora: A Celebration of Faculty and Facilities.”
“We could not be more pleased to have this extraordinary group of scholars with us at Hopkins to shape the SNF Agora, to sharpen our shared understanding of the challenges facing democracy, and to advance bold, evidence-based solutions that can begin to remedy those challenges,” said JHU President Ronald J. Daniels.
Eight faculty, including SNF Agora Inaugural Director Hahrie Han, were recognized during the event, and gifted with marble stones sourced from the Homewood campus and inscribed with “I am the agora,” a creative nod to the boundary stones that marked the entrance to the ancient Athenian agora. The original agora was a marketplace that became the heart of democratic governance in Athens by providing a structured forum for debate, disagreement, and deliberation. The institute aims to offer similar tools, along with the responsible participation in public life that they facilitate.
The founding vision of SNF Agora, said Han, was “to think critically, but also creatively. To research and to analyze, but also to imagine. It was to pursue ideas that were bigger than the discrete problems we are trying to solve. And to understand that—like the project of democracy itself—the work of the institute will always be evolving to integrate new voices and new knowledge.”