The Zephyr Institute is an independent academic center in Palo Alto, California, dedicated to serving Stanford students, scholars, and young professionals. We study perennial questions about the nature of the good life in order to evaluate the effects of emerging social, technological, and cultural trends. We run reading groups, seminars, intellectual retreats, and conferences for students, faculty, and professionals throughout the Bay Area.
Our work is guided by three core principles
Intellectual inquiry must be guided by a sincere desire to pursue the truth.
Learning can only take place when students and teachers are free to question prevailing views and interrogate first principles. Preserving this freedom requires the cultivation of intellectual humility and charity.
The purpose of an education is not just to equip students with specialized knowledge. More importantly, it is to provide them with the moral and intellectual resources to build flourishing lives.
Informed by these principles, we aim to complement the work of the university by providing opportunities for in-depth study and individual mentorship that are increasingly scarce on modern campuses. Through our programs, we hope to help students and professionals gain a clear sense of purpose in their vocations. Our goal is to help form the next generation of cultural and political leaders to be happier, better, more thoughtful people than those who precede them.
In addition to our independent programming, Zephyr is proud to be a founding supporter of the Stanford Civics Initiative, which seeks to revitalize civic education on Stanford’s campus through a series of rigorous courses on the nature of democratic citizenship.