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In the early 1980’s, Academy for the Love of Learning Founder and President Aaron Stern and 20th-century musical giant Leonard Bernstein co-conceived the Academy Although Lenny (as Aaron knew him) passed before he could see the official founding of the Academy, we honor his legacy as we celebrate our 20th anniversary as an organization in conjunction with Lenny’s 100th birthday.

We began our celebrations on April 29th with “Don’t We Never Learn?” Part I: Trouble in Tahiti, a question that persisted for Bernstein during the last decade of his life, meaning – how can we become the human beings that we aspire to? This question continues to run through the heart of Academy programs. The second of our 20th-anniversary offerings was held on May 20th with “Don’t We Never Learn?” Part II: Learning and Transformation, where Academy President and Founder Aaron Stern entered into dialogue with the renowned neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, focused on what we are learning, quantitatively and qualitatively, about the transformative impact of the Academy’s work. Dr. Davidson and his team at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been doing an extensive study of our work over the past couple of years. Our hope is to validate more objectively our belief and substantial anecdotal evidence that there is a clear link between the transformative learning experiences at the heart of our work at the Academy and human flourishing.

As Richie noted during our discussion, “one of our aspirations in collaboration is that we can really harness these different perspectives in a way to bring a much richer and deeper understanding of the fundamental nature of transformative learning.” We continue to “take the lid off learning” and bring ourselves into the expansiveness needed for transformation.

Thanks to wonderful community and individual support, we have raised $75,000 in our anniversary year to continue our work and bring it to broader communities, increasing impact. We ask that you help us reach our goal of $100,000 by August 25th, in honor of Lenny’s centennial to culminate at his birthday celebration, and in tribute to the transformative learning that leads us, by nature, to kind-hearted, peaceful, vibrant communities.

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