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About the conference

The average American household has evolved dramatically in recent decades. Fewer couples are marrying, fewer are having children, and more people are living alone. These and other changes have led some to argue for “decentering” the traditional family and its incumbent roles and relationships.

But this would be a mistake. Decades of social science research has affirmed again and again the importance of healthy families to human and social flourishing. Rapidly changing norms lend urgency to the task of mounting a persuasive case for re-centering family life and developing new strategies for supporting it.

During this conference, “The Vital Family,” expert scholars will present from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, including sociology, philosophy, theology, and economics. They will tackle themes like the social effects of fatherhood and motherhood, human anthropology, subsidiarity, and the vital economic role of family life. More than promoting “family values,” this conference aims to equip participants with a strong, reasoned, and data-driven understanding of why the family still matters and deserves its privileged status as the “first and vital cell of society.”

Conference details

Space is limited and conference attendance is considered by application only. This conference is ideal for graduate students, seminarians, and young public policy professionals, but all applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Conference participants will have the opportunity to engage the speakers and other attendees throughout the weekend in a relaxed and comfortable setting including nice meals and evening soirées.

Conference fees, meals, lodging, and travel will be covered for accepted applicants. Accepted participants will also receive copies of "Get Married" by Brad Wilcox & "Hannah's Children" by Catherine Pakaluk.


If you have any questions about the event, please email Caleb Whitmer at [email protected].

Event Details

Start Date

End Date


The Westin Jersey City Newport
479 Washington Blvd
Jersey City, NJ 07310
United States


Full details will be provided to accepted participants. 

The program starts at 5 pm on Thursday, May 16th, and goes until 10:30 am on Saturday, May 18th

Applications close at 11:59 PM on April 5th, 2024. 

Dress for this conference is business casual. 

Our Speakers