The NOVITATE Conference explores new models of thought and desire that lead to human flourishing. Each conference draws inspiration from the ideas of an important contemporary thinker, bringing his or her ideas into contact with traditions and people it may not have otherwise reached, in the academy and outside of it. Our goal is to bring together three metaphorical cities: Athens (reason), Jerusalem (faith Traditions), and Silicon Valley (innovators in business and beyond).
The apostle Paul wrote in the twelfth chapter of the Letter to the Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Et nolite conformari huic sæculo, sed reformamini in novitate sensus vestri). This exhortation inspired the name and mission of NOVITATE.
The 2023 NOVITATE gathering drew inspiration from the ideas of the French social theorist René Girard. Conferring on the centennial year of his birth, the conference hosted a full day of presentations, panels, and dialogue, concluding with a dinner banquet to honor his legacy. The question of conformity—which Girard’s mimetic theory explores—lies at the heart of many of the important personal and societal questions in our world today involving institutions, politics, education, civics, media, and much more. We explored Girard’s core ideas in the context of Paul’s exhortation to “Be Not Conformed” to the pattern of the world.
Author and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Catholic University of America