Kallion’s mission is “to design and develop communities around the study of the Humanities, in order to unlock the human talent for creative, benevolent, and lasting improvements to our common condition.” Here is the language we use to talk about this mission.

Kallion’s name comes from the ancient Greek adjective, kaloskalēkalon, which can mean “good,” “fine,” “noble,” or “beautiful.” kallion is the comparative adjective, which means “more kalon” or “better.” Kallion’s mantra, kalliaze!, is a combination of the word kallion and the directional suffix -aze (“toward”), meaning “toward the better” or “on to better things.”

The Kallion logo is the signal fire, a reference to an ancient practice of transmitting important information across vast distances. The signal fire logo represents Kallion’s commitment to “Elevating Leadership through the Humanities” and to transmitting our best practices to communities across the globe and through time.

Kallion believes that the study of the humanities can promote  leadership development in a number of interconnected ways:

  • appreciation: studying the humanities can help us understand what leadership is, how it works, the many forms it takes, and the many situations in which people may practice it.
  • behavior: studying the humanities can increase the frequency and quality of our leadership behavior, for example, speaking up about a problem, taking the perspectives of others, crafting a helpful metaphor, or setting a vision for a community to aspire to (here is a fuller list of possible leadership behaviors). As such, studying the humanities is about developing the character and skills that go into leadership.
  • relationships: studying the humanities can enable us to diagnose the ways in which we relate to others, in order to form more collaborative partnerships and to avoid relationships that are not conducive to meeting the needs of others.
  • decision-making: studying the humanities can inform our decision-making, especially as it pertains to our courses of study, the organizations we choose to belong to, and our career paths.
  • foresight: studying the humanities can enable us to think through our decisions to predict how they will go.

Paraphrasing the ancient Athenian author Xenophon, Kallion treats  leadership as the practice of “seeing to it that others have what they need and become what they need to be” (The Education of Cyrus 1.6.7). For Kallion, leading is about providing for others and helping them develop the skills and character they need. Studying the humanities helps us both understand our human needs at the deepest possible level and how to meet them.

Kallion does not use the term “leader” in one of its most common meanings, namely, to refer to a subset of humanity who, by nature or training, is presumed to have a fixed identity for all occasions. Kallion believes instead that everyone has the potential to be an agent of leadership. The trick is find the motivation and discover the opportunities we all have to show leadership.

Kallion understands the humanities to include humanity’s collective record of art, music, literature, philosophy, and history across all cultures and all times. Kallion understands that the study of the humanities, while serving as the foundation of leadership development, should be informed and guided by the sciences and social sciences.

Studying this humanistic record is something more than simply experiencing it or imitating it, as one might do in watching a movie or listening to a song. Studying is a slower, more reflective process, one that focuses on details, context, analysis, and interconnectedness. Study allows for multiple meanings and changing perspectives. Study is motivated by passionate curiosity and dispassionate reasoning. It has the goal of knowledge and personal development. Study involves taking ownership of one’s understanding, crafting one’s own “distillation” of a complex work rather than relying on someone else to distill it for you.

Kallion understands humanities educators to be  leadership trainers in the sense that these educators are capable of training others to study the humanities for the purpose of leadership development.

Kallion promotes the study of the humanities for leadership development through communities. Kallion understands community involvement to entail an ongoing commitment of time, energy, ideas, and resources on the part of all its members for the health and well-being of the community. Kallion communities are made up of diverse members with multiple identities as educators, learners, professionals, researchers,  writers, and performers. The members of these communities think with each other in two senses: (1) members share information, insights, and reactions to the works of the humanities they study with each otherand (2) the members absorb and think with the perspectives of their fellow-members as they navigate their own leadership challenges. This community-focused approach increases the likelihood that members will study the humanities for leadership development in a broad, open-minded, and common-sense way.