Though its origins go back to 1969, the World Phenomenology Institute was formally established in 1976 and named the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning. It has since become well known as the World Phenomenology Institute, an advanced research institution of international significance and broad philosophical influence.
The Institute’s founding president and principal intellectual guide for more than three decades was the European philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a student of Roman Ingarden and close associate of Emmanuel Levinas and Paul Ricoeur. Ingarden, Levinas, and Ricoeur joined together with other well-known philosophers such as Hans-Georg Gadamer and Stephan Strasser in supporting and advancing the Institute’s programs and publications during its early years and ever after. It is but one measure of Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka’s personal accomplishment that she was able to attract and engage the very best philosophical minds of our time in the Institute’s programs and publications, in large part as a direct consequence of her own reputation and philosophical achievements.
The Institute was anticipated, or might be said to have had its “pre-history” in an international conference organized by Dr. Tymieniecka and held at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada in 1969. It proved an event of lasting significance, one attended by many of the leading philosophers of the time, including Gadamer and Leo Herman van Breda, Director of the Husserl Archives. It was at Waterloo that the first of the three philosophical societies was established which would within seven years band together to form the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning. The International Husserl and Phenomenological Research Society (1969) was subsequently joined by the International Society of Phenomenology and Literature (1975), and then the International Society of Phenomenology and Human Sciences (1976). These societies, including The International Society for Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Fine Arts (1993), have been a significant part of the Institute’s programs and publications.
The Institute was thus established in 1976 for the purpose of enveloping these scholarly societies in an encompassing philosophical enterprise and achievement. The success of that enterprise and the dimension of its achievement over a forty-year period may be measured in terms of more than one hundred international conferences organized by the Institute since its inception; the more than 150 published volumes, which now comprise the Institute’s publications list, including more than 120 (to date) of the world renowned phenomenological research series, Analecta Husserliana, and innumerable joint research projects undertaken by Institute research centers, the Boston Forum, premier research universities, and other advanced research institutions the world over.
Dr. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka’s name will be forever linked to the World Phenomenology Institute, but her death in June of 2014 at the age of 91 robbed the Institute of it founder and President. It was Dr. Tymieniecka’s wish and desire to continue the mission and work of the World Phenomenology Institute, of which she took such pride. At her death, the administration of the WPI was passed to Dr. William S. Smith, Executive President, and to Co-Presidents, Dr. Jadwiga S. Smith and Dr. Daniela Verducci. These three have been involved with the Institute for nearly thirty years, and Dr. Tymieniecka entrusted the future of her life-long work to these three individuals. Dr. Jadwiga Smith will organize conferences and programs on the American front, while Dr. Verducci will continue her excellent work in Europe and beyond. Together these three talented organizers and scholars will continue the work of the WPI. They very much look forward to working with a newly constituted Editorial Board of peer reviewers, who will continue the high-quality of scholarship for the WPI’s three major publication, Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research, Phenomenological Inquiry: A Review of Philosophical Ideas and Trends, and Islamic Philosophy and Occidental Phenomenology in Dialogue. The international publishing company, Springer, continues to be the Institute’s major publisher. The WPI looks forward to our continuing cooperation with our partner, Springer.