I Before We Except Overseas – Tracing The Roots Of Our Multi-Century Identity Crisis

Most cultures of European descent cultivate individual identity more than other cultures of the world. We have to go back 60, or 100, or perhaps 300 years to find the roots of our contemporary debates over the role of identity in our society. One intriguing theory is that this focus on individual identity has been intentional and has a distinct purpose. This talk will look at some theories that help explain how we have ended up with increasingly destabilizing disagreements about culture and politics in North America and Europe.

Understanding our Supreme Courts: US and Canadian Perspectives

In these session (origionally presented on Feb 13, 2024) our three presenters discus the ways in which our two Supreme Courts are appointed and some of the major issues with which they deal.  The decisions of these courts have powerful and sometimes unexpected effects on all our lives.


Nils and Joyce (husband & wife who live in Port Townsend, WA) have offered SCOTUS overview courses for their county library for the past three years, as well as a book study of The Great Dissenter:  The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero.  For several years before that, they offered historical and topical overviews of the Supreme Court through the local UU fellowship’s adult education program, their county library and two local Community Colleges.

Nils Pedersen is a retired patent attorney and newly-admitted member of the WA State Bar.  His current legal interest is estate law and end-of-life legal planning.

Joyce Francis is a retired international relations professor and long-time organizer and facilitator of adult-education programs.  She is also a member of NAUA’s Academy Advisory Board.Speakers:

Anthony (Tony) Carfagnini began practicing law in 1979 and carried on a corporate commercial, real estate, wills and estates and aboriginal law practice.ony’s professional interests and experience include business law, corporate governance, indigenous consultation and resource development, and privacy law. For over 40 years he acted as legal counsel to a number of First Nations and indigenous organizations engaged in child welfare, medical services, political advocacy, renewable energy projects, forestry and economic development.

Timely Unitarian History Lesson

In times of unrest and disagreement it is comforting to know that these times are not unique.  We have been challenged by different understanding and goals of our religious organizations in the past and in the present.

In this NAUA Academy video, Kevin McCulloch, details the transcendentalist critique of historical Christianity that created a rift in the Unitarian church. Although the National Conference of Unitarian Churches was founded in 1865, it took nearly 30 years for the conference participants to reach consensus on a statement that defined what it meant to be a Unitarian. 

Parliament of the World’s Religions

A recording of the Nov. 2023 NAUA Academy Session is now available.

“We accept all Religions as Truth” are the words spoken by Swami Vivekananda at the founding of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 in Chicago. Our speaker is Bruce Knotts, a Trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Bruce discusses the founding and history of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, as well as its Mission to create and cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities, foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. This same sentiment is reflected in the 6th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, ”the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all”.  

A Very Compelling Academy Presentation!

The NAUA Academy presents its most compelling course to date with over 100 people registered. The presentation covers the philosophy and ideas behind the identity movement, that has driven so much controversy in churches, universities and businesses. This presentation helps us understand why.

The presentation  begins at about minute 2:36.

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