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DEC 6-7 - How are the Children?

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December 6-7, 2016 - Leadership Conference


On December 6-7, 2016, a conference was held at the Colcord Hotel in Oklahoma City. This event was part of ongoing efforts by our community organization partner, Salt and Light Leadership Training (SALLT), to improve the lives of children in Oklahoma City. The primary purpose of the conference was to facilitate the efforts of SALLT members and community leaders in their ongoing outreach activities. Resources were provided to help participants think through community interventions, institutional alignment and evidence-based practices.

Event Overview

The event included three plenary sessions, including two keynote addresses, and practical, hands-on small group sessions. Dr. Joshua Yates and Dr. James Hunter from the Institute for the Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia delivered the keynote addresses. The third plenary session was given by Dr. Greg Thompson, Executive Director of New City Commons. Thriving Cities provided personnel to facilitate workshops to go with expert-led panels focused on promoting child flourishing in schools and neighborhoods. Short films were shown throughout the conference to highlight the interconnected nature of childhood flourishing.


Our aim was for participants to identify specific challenges related to childhood flourishing in their neighborhoods, engage community partners for collaboration, and for SALLT to leave the summit with strategies for effectively creating and sustaining change. Participants were issued iPads to assist in their ongoing data gathering, assessment, communication, and interventions.

Conference outcomes:

  1. To provide resources to empower SALLT members to improve the flourishing of children in Oklahoma City.
  2. To provide resources for the organizational development of SALLT.
  3. To promote the connection between virtue, including the virtues promoted by the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, and the flourishing of communities.

Photos of this event are now posted on the Institute's Flickr page

Plenary Speakers

James Davison Hunter, Ph.D.

Dr. Hunter is LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory and Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He completed his doctorate at Rutgers University in 1981 and joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1983, and has served as Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture since 1995. Hunter has written and edited eleven books, and authored a wide range of publications all variously concerned with the problem of meaning and moral order in a time of political and cultural change in American life. Learn more about Dr. Hunter >>

Greg Thompson, Ph.D.

Greg Thompson received his Ph.D. in the Theology, Ethics, and Culture program in the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies. His dissertation, “An Experiment in Love: Martin Luther King and the Re-imagining of American Democracy,” explores King’s public theology of love. In 2014, Dr. Greg Thompson became Executive Director of New City Commons, a social impact consulting firm that seeks to support institutional leaders in the work of reimagining the common good, reinvigorating cultural institutions, and renewing civic life. In addition to this work with New City Commons, Greg Serves as Associate Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. Learn more about Dr. Thompson >>

Joshua Yates, Ph.D.

Joshua J. Yates is Research Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of Thriving Cities at the University of Virginia. He specializes in the study of culture and cultural change in the late modern world, with an emphasis on moral and ethical life. In his role at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, he leads the research efforts of the Program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change. He has written on many social topics, most recently, on the cultural significance of sustainability as a leading paradigm of social, political, and ethical action. Learn more about Dr. Yates >>