The Idaho Humanities Council (IHC) is a non-profit organization serving as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The IHC is dedicated to serving Idaho citizens by promoting greater public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities. The Council accomplishes its mission by awarding grants to organizations statewide, and by working with organizations as partners to develop local humanities projects and programs, and by sponsoring its own Council-conducted programs, such as summer institutes in the humanities for K-12 teachers, library reading/discussion programs in small communities, traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution, a Humanities Speakers Bureau, Distinguished Humanities Lectures, and other projects and programs limited only by the imagination.
For more than 45 years, the Idaho Humanities Council’s mission has been to provide opportunities to deepen public understanding of human experience by connecting people with ideas. The Council has met its mission by awarding grants to organizations statewide to develop humanities projects and programs on the local level. In addition, the Council has sponsored programs of its own to enhance awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities.
The vision of the IHC is that the humanities inspire a more literate, tolerant and intellectually inquisitive Idaho citizenry, better able to embrace life’s possibilities.
What Are the Humanities and What is their Value?
The Idaho Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities define “the humanities” to include history, literature, philosophy, jurisprudence, cultural anthropology, comparative religion, art history and criticism, music history and other interpretive disciplines that through study yield wisdom.
It is through the study of these disciplines that we gain knowledge and understanding—in a word, wisdom. In the founding legislation for the NEH in 1965, Congress stressed that “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.” The humanities are a vehicle to understanding the human experience—the diverse history, traditions, and cultures of the world. It is only through this quest for understanding that we cultivate the wisdom and vision that democracy demands.