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A presentation given by a distinguished individual on a topic of interest to the field of general semantics

The Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture Series

AKML Speakers

Since 1952, the Institute of General Semantics has sponsored the annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture (AKML), a presentation given by a distinguished individual on a topic of interest to the field of general semantics.  View Archive | Upcoming Lecture Series


In 1952, two years after founder Alfred Korzbyski’s sudden death, Institute of General Semantics Director M. Kendig initiated an annual program to remember Korzybski and celebrate the continuation of his goals for human development and progress.

This program became known as the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture Series, or “AKML.” Kendig viewed this series as a means not only to remember Korzybski, but also to celebrate the contributions of those whose work is scientifically oriented and promotes what Korzybski termed “time-binding,” the unique human ability to build on the achievements of others through the use of symbols and languages.


An impressive lineup of speakers has added significant prestige to the AKML, which over the years has featured prominent authors, scientists, psychologists, educators, and individuals from varied backgrounds.

A few of the more recognizable names include Abraham Maslow, Buckminster Fuller, Albert Ellis, Steve Allen, Leonard Shlain, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Lou Marinoff, Ellen Langer, J. Allan Hobson, Robert Carneiro, James Van Allen, Karl H. Pribram, Deborah Tannen, Sherry Turkle, and others.

Upcoming events

    • 26 Mar 2023
    • 1:30 PM
    • Zoom

    The third installment in our 2023 IGS lecture series will feature a talk by Dr. Gary David. Please join us on Sunday, March 26th at 1:30 PM EST for 

    General Semantics and Epistemics:

    The Science-Art of Innovating

    At the beginning of the 20th century, our world entered a new phase when a tectonic shift in orientation occurred. This called for a re-formulating of our methods of evaluating. Alfred Korzybski was the historic codifier of those methods.

    Epistemic counseling is a new approach to guiding us into 21st-century methods of evaluating. With its origins in General Semantics, Epistemics: The Science-Art of Innovating was initiated by J. Samuel Bois and has developed into a full-time practice with individuals and groups by Gary David. It is more education than therapy. It does have therapeutic value since we go into the lives of each person and introduce new methods of evaluating, but the goal is learning. Learning our way into an awareness of our self-reflexivity, creativity in meeting limits, and how values complexify from ‘silent’ level biology.

    This talk will address these issues with one underlying question: How well do I learn, and what is the MOTIVATION that urges my thinking? What biology underlies the emotions within a semantic transaction, and how does the biology of emotion motivate the abstracting process from the lowest to highest orders?

    Gary David studied with epistemologist J. Samuel Bois from 1964 to 1978, along with enjoying a long career as a professional musician. He taught epistemics and general semantics classes at Viewpoints Institute and at UCLA Extension from 1969-1975. In 1975, he received a PhD in epistemics from the Union Institute and University. It was the first accredited Ph.D. granted in that field. Later he became the editor of Bois's textbook on epistemics titled The Art of Awareness, now in its fifth edition, and still used as a text by individuals and colleges. In 1999, with science writer Brian Rothery in Ireland, he helped create the website Philosphere. It was dedicated to promoting those 20th-century writers who formed some of his major influences: L.L. Whyte, J.S. Bois, Alfred Korzybski, Silvan Tomkins, David Bohm, Gaston Bachelard, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He and Rothery were instrumental in getting two major works of L.L. Whyte's republished after they had been out of print for many years. They wrote new introductions for Whyte's The Next Development in Mankind and The Universe of Experience. His work in epistemics includes a 50-year study of the biology of human emotion guided by the work of Silvan Tomkins, as presented in his four-volume work, Affect Imagery Consciousness, and he served as co-chair of the board of the Silvan Tomkins Institute from 2010-2011. He has a private counseling practice and an online forum called The Art of Learning.

    The lecture will be held via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registrants will receive the Zoom link in advance of the lecture.

    • 25 Apr 2023
    • 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    • The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park S, New York, NY 10003

    The Institute of General Semantics

    and the

    New York Society for General Semantics

    are Proud to Present a Screening of

    The Frontier Gandhi:

    Badshah Khan, A Torch for Peace

    A Film by TC McLuhan

    Tuesday, April 25th, 2023

    The screening will be free and open to the public, but registration is required.

    Filmmaker, author, and IGS Fellow TC (Teri) McLuhan will be present to introduce and answer questions about the documentary.

    “a powerful work”—Time-Out magazine

    “magnificent in all ways”—The Morning Paper, Reykjavik, Iceland

    “As a sweeping narrative of a charismatic pilgrim’s progress, McLuhan’s film, The Frontier Gandhi, has both actual history and certain qualities in common with Richard Attenborough’s 1982 epic film Gandhi, in which Badshah Khan plays a role.”—Los Angeles Times

    “a hugely inspiring film”—Toronto Sun

    Twenty-one years in the making, THE FRONTIER GANDHI: BADSHAH KHAN, A TORCH FOR PEACE (an award-winning feature length documentary—92 minutes) launches into orbit the epic story of a remarkable Muslim peacemaker born into Pashtun warrior society of the strategic North-West Frontier Province of the Indian subcontinent—now Pakistan’s frontier region Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Pronounced “a miracle” by Mahatma Gandhi, Badshah Khan (1890-1988) raised a 100,000 strong nonviolent army of men, women, and young people—the Khudai Khidmatgars, or servants of God—drawn from the multi-ethnic traditions of Afghanistan and India. Muslims, as well as Hindus, Christians, Parsees, Sikhs, and Buddhists came together in the cause of peace, social justice, religious tolerance, and human dignity for all.

    In partnership with Mahatma Gandhi, the 6’5” charismatic Khan (also known as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan) led a nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century. He openly championed women’s rights and spoke of the inherent compatibility of Islam with nonviolence. He challenged his own highly volatile culture to change its vengeful ways and to turn to the spiritual and moral strength of nonviolence. He opened schools, fought for the social improvement of the least fortunate, and was unceasing in his compassionate embrace of the poor.

    Nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, Badshah Khan’s improbable life and legacy remain little known. He died in 1988 at the age of 98 having spent nearly 35 years in solitary confinement for his efforts to humanize humanity.

    Filmed in Afghanistan, Khyber Pass, Pakistan, India, United States, and Canada, the film includes rare historical footage, surprisingly candid interviews with world leaders, testimony from 63 of Badshah Khan’s nonviolent warriors—most beyond the age of 100 years—and a score by acclaimed world music pioneer David Amram. Legendary Indian actor, Om Puri, brings alive the thoughts and writings of Badshah Khan.

    Badshah Khan’s example and legacy advance a greater, broader, and inspired understanding of what is currently perceived as Muslim, Pashtun, and Afghan. His heroic life offers a profound message of hope for these increasingly troubled times.

    Registration is free. All attendees must be registered in order to gain admittance to the club. This includes any guests you might want to bring with you.

    The program will take place in the Great Hall on the 1st floor of the club. Please note that, as an historic 19th century landmark, the site is not handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual and is strictly enforced, including no sneakers, shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts).

    • 29 Apr 2023
    • 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Online

    Ecologies of Mind, Media, and Meaning II
    An Online Symposium

    Join us on Saturday, April 29th for Ecologies of Mind, Media, and Meaning II: An Online Symposium. As the title indicates, this is a continuation of the Ecologies of Mind, Media, and Meaning Symposium held in person following the 2022 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture in New York City. 

    Our online symposium is free and open to members and non-members alike, but registration is required. The symposium will be held via Zoom, with the information for signing on to be distributed in advance of the event. Please note that sessions will be recorded for later distribution online. 

    At present, we are accepting submissions for participation in the online symposium:

    Call for Papers and Proposals

    The Institute of General Semantics invites submissions for its Ecologies of Mind, Media, and Meaning 2 Symposium, to be held online via Zoom on Saturday, April 29th. Last year’s online symposium sponsored by the IGS, Science, Sanity, and the Semantic Environment 2, featured 20 presentations from Australia, Asia, Europe, and South and North America. This year we again continue the theme from this past October’s in-person symposium accompanying our annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture in New York City, which was chosen in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the publication of Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson.

    We welcome presentations on topics related to general semantics, including language and symbolic communication, meaning and perception, epistemology and evaluation, etc.; on topics related to media ecology, including representation and reality, technology and environments, art and awareness, etc.; and topics related to cybernetics, systems theory, schismogenesis, etc.

    Please send all submissions and queries to IGS President Lance Strate at by April 1st, 2023.

    • 19 Jun 2023
    • 21 Jun 2023

    Introduction to General Semantics
    An In-Person Seminar
    June 19-21
    New York City

    The Institute of General Semantics is pleased to sponsor an in-person seminar on general semantics and related non-aristotelian systems. The 3-day intensive course will include lecture, discussion, and exercises designed to provide participants with a thorough grounding in the discipline and its applications.

    For those unfamiliar with general semantics, the seminar will provide a comprehensive introduction to the tradition and its 21st century evolution. For those already familiar with the non-aristotelian approach, the course will provide reinforcement, enrichment, and an updating and expansion of the discipline. And for those interested in and/or involved in teaching, the seminar will provide useful guidance on pedagogy related to topics such as language, symbolic communication, thought and behavior, and epistemology and evaluation.

    The seminar leaders will include three trustees of the Institute of General Semantics: Mary P. Lahman, Professor Emerita of Communication Studies at Manchester University and author of Awareness and Action; Corey Anton, IGS Vice-President, Professor of Communication Studies at Grand Valley State University, and author of Communication Uncovered: General Semantics and Media Ecology, and How Non-being Haunts Being: On Possibilities, Morality, and Death Acceptance; and Lance Strate, IGS President, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, and author of Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition, and Concerning Communication: Epic Quests and Lyric Excursions Within the Human Lifeworld

    The seminar will be held on June 19th to 21st in New York City, at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus. The annual meeting of the Media Ecology Association will take place immediately following the conclusion of the seminar, from June 22nd to 25th, and seminar participants are encouraged to attend, as the MEA convention will include several sessions sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics.

    The seminar fee is $100 for IGS members, $150 for non-members, and will cover the cost of course materials. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation, room, and board. Registrants will receive information regarding discounted hotel rates.

    We will try to accommodate everyone interested in attending the seminar, but space will necessarily will be limited, so register early to insure your participation!

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