Egmont Lee Founders' Lecture

A lecture series named in honour of Dr. Egmont Lee, a driving force behind the formation of the Institute in 1976, and Professor of History for more than 30 years at the University of Calgary.

Portrait of Dr. Egmont Lee, 1986

The Calgary Institute for the Humanities is proud to announce a new lecture series named in honour of Dr. Egmont Lee. Dr. Lee chaired the development committee for the CIH and he served as the second Director of the Institute, from 1979-80. In his introduction to the development proposal for the institute, Dr. Lee emphasized how “the humanities, more perhaps than any other force, can foster among the members of a given society a vital sense of community, the weakening or lack of which, in the rapidly changing world of the 20th Century, has often been cited as a prime cause of social and psychological sickness.” The humanities also protects against “parochialism and even militant nationalism,” he wrote, “through the fostering of the sympathy and tolerance that stem from familiarity with diverse cultural values." Dr. Lee believed that perhaps “the most signal contribution of the humanities is that they foster empathy with other cultures, and with other values, whether topical or timeless, that illuminate the human condition.”

With Dr. Lee's words in mind, we can see how a need for the humanities in today's world is greater than ever. We are grateful for his prescience and his commitment to humanistic scholarship. Since its founding, the CIH has supported hundreds of scholars and graduate students in their research and provided a forum for them to share their work with the community. The Egmont Lee Founders’ Lecture carries on that tradition, providing a featured forum for Resident Fellows at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities to share their work and connect with the public in a welcoming and convivial space.