About Us

The Institute takes its English name from an array of conceptions that underline the Hellenistic heritage; while the Chinese name is inspired by the great and profound teaching of Confucius. The origin of the Chinese name of the Institute is available here.

There could be no Civilization without City, but City does not necessarily engender Civility, let alone sustain it. A bad City is characterized by dominance of corruption and rampant conspiracy. What is corruption and conspiracy is not always easy to discern, and harder still in a bad city where legislation and adjudication are already swayed by narrow-minded self-interest that constantly impedes the City from developing the conditions conducive to a healthy respect for virtues and wisdom.

Civility is not a hallmark of good City because outward conduct may be insincere or merely result of thoughtless conformity rather than mature reflection of right and wrong on the part of the acting agent. There could be no good City without good Citizens; and there could be no good Citizens if the populace is ignorant of the virtues of Courage and Critical Thinking. Only the Courageous are able and willing to take on the challenges and setbacks thrown against them by the vicissitudes of life; the rest would just follow the flow wherever it leads them - aimlessly, helplessly, and often hopelessly.

Critically thinking is the cornerstone of a good City because only by an informed and critical citizenry that proper institutions could be developed and sustained to rein in human propensity to evil while enlarging the limited capacity (will and ability) to do good. A good City is maintained by a large degree of shared values which is not as difficult to cultivate and preserve as the antagonists are accustomed to assert. A good City is by definition fair and just in the more profound sense of the words.

Cities, good or bad, are endangered by laboratories. The latter term symbolizes an exceedingly narrow view of what is knowledge, a distorted belief of what an intellectual owes to the City, and an inadequate understanding of the relationship between Cities and laboratories. Transforming a bad City to good and preserving the good City from degeneration requires knowledge and skills that do not belong to laboratories.

Contemporary problems do not just emerge uncaused. Rather they are rooted in history, and sometimes geography and psychology as well. Oftentimes, problems in City are multi-causal and they have to be tackled without the baggage of artificial compartmentalization of knowledge upheld in most academia. True knowledge that is relevant to modernity cannot be had without due respect being paid to Classical Studies that illuminate antiquity. Neither Civilization nor City has progressed as much as what it appears to be, and the recognition of this is one of the many that inform C-in-C.