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First Things is pleased to invite our readers to New York City for a memorable weekend of seminars and lectures on Solidarity. Participants will have the opportunity to explore texts alongside scholars and First Things writers and editors, discussing ideas and questions about solidarity in small-group seminar sessions.

There are no academic prerequisites for participation; no grades or exams. If you enjoy reading First Things or discussing the ideas found in its pages, this event is for you. Discussions will take place in small seminar sections led by faculty from Magdalen College. Participants will explore substantial texts and questions of great significance in an environment animated by a spirit of friendship and a common purpose.

This is a rare opportunity to get together with like-minded individuals to talk about big, timeless ideas and how they inform our understanding of the issues that occupy our culture today.


In this time of isolation and alienation, questions concerning how factions might come together, the responsibility of individual citizens of faith, and challenges of integrating our political and religious commitments have taken on a new urgency. Participants in this retreat will have the opportunity to step back from the partisan disputes of the day and consider deeper questions that transcend the current news cycle. Through dialogue undertaken in a common quest for wisdom, participants will consider these more fundamental questions against the background of transcendent commitments and a common recognition of the priority of first things.


The First Things Intellectual Retreat will be held from Friday evening, August 13 to Saturday evening, August 14, 2021 at the Union League Club.

Friday, August 13

6:00 pm Cocktail Reception
7:00 pm Dinner & Lecture — Nathan Pinkoski on “Solidarity in Twenty-First Century America”

Saturday, August 14

8:15 am Continental Breakfast (available at the Club)

9:00 am – 10:15 am 1st Seminar: Universal Solidarity
10:45 am – 12 pm 2nd Seminar: Solidarity in Civic Life

12 pm Lunch (not provided)

2 pm – 3:15 pm 3rd Seminar: Christian Solidarity and Political Responsibility
3:45 pm – 5 pm 4th Seminar: Solidarity and Contemporary Society

6:00 pm Cocktail Reception
7:00 pm Dinner & Panel Discussion

Dress Code: The Union League Club enforces a strict dress code. A jacket and tie are required for all gentlemen and equally formal attire for ladies. Guests in sneakers, jeans, or other similarly casual attire will not be admitted.


Reading materials will be emailed to participants, with a bound copy to follow by mail. The readings will include excerpts from the following texts:

  1. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  2. Cicero, On Duties
  3. John Paul II/Catholic Social Teaching, Sollicitudo rei socialis, The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and relevant Scripture passages
  4. Roger Scruton, Solidarity: Unity or Diversity?
  5. Russell Hittinger, The Three Necessary Societies

All participants will attend all seminars through the course of the day.


Registration for this event is now closed and the deadline for a full refund of your tuition fees has passed. If you have any questions, please email

Cost: $600 per participant

You may make a deposit of $300, with the balance due at the event, or pay in full in advance. The fee covers seminar tuition, assigned text materials, and meals except lunch on Saturday, including two cocktail reception and dinner lectures with First Things editorial staff and faculty from Magdalen College. There are a limited number of scholarships available for teachers of Christian Classical schools, graduate students, and clergy; please contact us for details.

Companion tickets are available at $100 per ticket for participant companions who would like to attend the evening receptions and dinner lectures but are not attending the day seminars.

Please note: The registration fee does not include travel to and from New York City, hotel accommodations, or lunch on Saturday.

Retreat Cancellation Policy: For a full refund of tuition fees, please cancel with at least three weeks advance notice from the event’s date. We reserve the right to substitute speakers, change venues, cancel seminars, or cancel part of or the entire event, due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, our liability is limited to a prompt refund of the registration fee, on a pro-rata basis, for the affected days.

this event is organized in partnership with Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts.