The International Alliance of Unitarians and Universalists (IAUU) is an organization of Unitarians, Universalists, and other religious liberals from around the world.

Members of the International Alliance embrace the principles of Freedom, Reason and Tolerance that are rooted in our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every individual and all peoples.

Synchronous activities of the IAUU are designed to allow members from outside of North American time zones to participate, though not prohibiting North American members from attending.

International Alliance of Unitarians and Universalists Study Group  – Programme for 2024:

Unitarianism, the Enlightenment, Its Philosophical Beginnings, and Current Relevance

Purpose of the study course. This course is intended to help participants clarify and deepen their understanding of their faith from an international perspective by exploring and reflecting on the central role of the enlightenment in the formation of Unitarianism, its history, its philosophical origins, great ideals, different schools of thought, contradictions, and current relevance.

Input and sources for the course.

The course is designed to provide a space for participants to study together the role of the enlightenment in our liberal religious faith.

So, first of all, a major input will be the knowledge and experience shared by the participants.

Second, two text books have been selected to give direction, coherence, and momentum. The first is In Defence of the Enlightenment written by Tzvetan Todorov. He is an internationally renowned thinker who is both a historian and philosopher. He concisely covers the main tenets of the Enlightenment with exceptional clarity, and puts forward the conviction that the Enlightenment remains indispensable to the construction of an open and just society

The second book is Sophie’s World, which will help us place the Enlightenment in a more universal, philosophical context extending from antiquity to today. As explained by Newsweek, it is ‘’A comprehensive history of Western philosophy as recounted to a 14 year old Norwegian schoolgirl … (it) will serve as a first rate introduction for anyone who never took an introductory philosophy course, and as a pleasant refresher for those who have forgotten most of it.’’

Finally,  Guest speakers may also be invited. And a variety of other inputs such as audio-visual documentaries may be used.

Course Format. In general, each session will enable participants to present their readings which will be followed clarifications, and discussion.

Participants. Unitarians, Universalists, religious liberals and friends from countries around the world are welcome to participate. Maximum of 15 participants.

Duration. 6 months from April to November 2024 including a summer break in July and August.

Dates and Time. Sessions are planned to be held once a month on the 4th Saturday of each month from 19 to 21 h Central European Time

Requirements. Interest in the subject, engagement to participate in the 6 sessions if possible, access to zoom (required), the two text books (if available) and an English level sufficient to read the two text books.

Practical Information for joining the course. Email your name and country of residence to either of the two study group coordinators: John Eichrodt at, or Stephen Polmar at

Support for the study group will come from the Academy of the North American Unitarian Association.