The founding organization of the Socratic institute is the Centre of environmental and ethical education Živica (nongovernmental organization, further only CEEV Živica), its partner and expert guarantee is Technical University in Zvolen (public university). The financial partner of the programme is ZSE a.s.
What is it and who is the programme for?
Socratic institute is a one-year educational programme for active university students and
graduates under 32 years of Slovak nationality. Young people are those, who will deal with and try to solve problems inherited from previous generations.
They have possibilities and abilities to make systematic changes in the society in order to find efficient and innovative
solutions for complex environmental, social and economic problems and above all to make
real steps to overcome these problems in the future.
The society of today is very complex and problems in the world require cooperation of experts from various fields. Therefore the people who study at the Socratic institute fulfill the following requirements:
They come from various fields of study and from various universities (ecology, law, film making, psychology, economy, political science, agriculture, nuclear physics etc.)
They reside in various regions of Slovakia
They have various experiences (civil activism, volunteer activities, academic sphere, educational placements or working abroad)
In Slovakia Socratic institute creates a unique space for education in various fields, opens discussions that connect different fields of expertise, offers new insights and experience exchange. This is what widens the borders of closely-specialized education of young people. Education at Socratic institute uses interactive methods and it focuses on being closely tied to the practicalities of the real world. Socratic institute was set up in 2012 and the first students studied this program in academic year 2013/2014.
Socratic institute prepares social leaders, who are actively trying to change their village, city, school, region in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. In co-operation with other citizens they are able to come up with solutions of specific social problems. Social leadership is characterized by strong involvement in the public problems, in community life, in fight for social and environmental justice, human rights and democracy. Social leader is a person, who doesn't forget about the fact that strong democracy is dependent on active civil society, that controls and in certain cases also corrects mistakes of politicial and business elites. Socratic institute prepares such leaders who can initiate and contribute to the problem solving in the environmental – social – economic systems, which we all are part of.
“We believe that society can be significantly affected even by a single person, if they have enough knowledge, courage, enthusiasm and endurance. Socratic institute was founded to create conditions for development of young people who are not afraid to work on themselves, to carry the responsibility for their decisions and to follow their vision.”
Juraj Hipš, founder of Socratic institute
Values of Socratic institute
Through dialogue we lead students to avoid passive learning, we encourage them not to be afraid to ask questions or to express their opinion or share an experience related to the topic. Socratic institute doesn’t offer a universal solution for the global problems, but leads to the art of listening to different opinions and not ignoring them.
The innovation of this study is in our effort to react to the most current challenges and problems. The study offers an open space to meet lectors – professionals in these fields. All of this takes place in a very original place, where ideas and solutions can become real faster.
The entire Socratic institute is about searching. We search for people who are curious, attentive even towards silent and hidden aspects of the world and who are sensitive to the others. We search for people who solve the problems proactively and are not apathetic. We search for those who are able do think critically and who don´t believe everything without thinking about it.
No one who is missing courage can succeed in Socratic institute. Courage to invest the time. Courage to search. Courage to reexamine classical solutions of the problems, convintions or opinions. Courage to be open, to contest the truths that constitue their inner world. Courage to watch your conscience and to be resilient in pressure or corruption. And the most important thing – courage to change the world.
Socratic institute is focused on social leaders who hear the calling to service. Those who don´t just sit at home and complain how nothing works in Slovakia, but those who are sensitive and see it as a challenge to ask: “What can I do to change it/improve it?” these people are active in public space, are able to represent the others – to be their voice and their hands.
Esteem and respect
Esteem and respect are the spirit of learning at the Socratic Institute. Even Socrates was spreading the idea to teach in the idea of majeutica – the teacher should be the guide who leads students towards knowledge.
„Socratic institute taught me how to ask the right questions. Direct, open and to the point. This is very helpful, on the basis of these questions I learn how to ask the right way. .“
„The whole workshop was extremely helpful, we had a chance to meet awesome people and to get to learn a lot of information and techniques we can use in practical life“
„I am trying to deal with things more positively, not to be blocked, to look for a way.“
„Watching the others working on their project and succeed encouraged me to do the same.“
„After graduating from Socratic institute I can see greater importance in thighs that are somehow useful to the community. If there is a choice between an activity to enrich myself and an activity that enriches a greater community – I would choose the second option“
„What I appreciate the most are the relationships between us – students, not only professional but also personal relationships and the mutual help“