Session 1: Community

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August 25, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
When: 5:00pm
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 17:00

Historically speaking, the genius, “lone polymath” is a misnomer.  The great polymath Leonardo da Vinci surrounded himself with a diverse circle of musicians, architects, engineers, mathematicians, and anatomists to 1. indulge his insatiable curiosity, and 2. because he humbly knew he didn’t know everything.  Polymathy shows us that the most significant progress and innovations come from the sharing, collaboration, and intersection of varied knowledge bases, perspectives, and experiences.  Join Dean Soni and your student colleagues from across the university to learn, share, and collaborate with each other--and in so doing, experience the foundational polymathic value of community.

Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life

Varun Soni has truly led a polymathic life, earning degrees from Harvard Divinity School, a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Cape Town. His research has taken him throughout South Asia where he even spent time living in a Buddhist monastery. Dean Soni is currently a University Fellow at USC Annenberg's Center on Public Diplomacy and is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Academy of Religion, and the Association for College and University Religious Affairs. Displaying a truly polymathic interest in music, he also produced and hosted his own radio show on Pacifica / KPFK, showcasing music from South Asia and its Diaspora. Born in India and raised in Southern California, he has family on five continents and they collectively represent every major religious tradition in the world