Harvard University is launching an interdisciplinary study focusing on the impact of psychedelics in society and culture, thanks to a $16 million gift from the Gracias Family Foundation. The study aims to be a collaborative effort involving the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Divinity School.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring students, faculty, and researchers together around the important issue of how psychedelics impact our society”Robin Kelsey, dean of arts and humanities at Harvard.
The generous gift will fund an endowed professorship, research across the university, and a series of public events aimed at fostering interdisciplinary dialogue. The move comes at a time when psychedelics are drawing increased interest for their potential therapeutic benefits in treating disorders like PTSD, depression, and addiction.
“This is a visionary gift, in that it is the first to take the so-called psychedelic renaissance beyond medicine”Michael Pollan, a professor in Harvard’s Creative Writing program.
The initiative will explore various aspects of psychedelics, including their legal, ethical, and social implications, as well as their impact on consciousness, spirituality, and art. “This initiative will give us the space to explore and enrich public dialogue around psychedelics,” noted Bruno Carvalho, interim director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard.
In addition to expanding existing programs, the gift will also fund a new set of fellowships in Psychedelics, Transcendence, and Consciousness Studies. These fellowships will engage researchers from multiple fields to encourage cross-disciplinary research.
Antonio Gracias, president of the Gracias Family Foundation, said, “Harvard is the ideal place to explore the topic of psychedelics from new angles and to craft a framework for their legal, safe, and appropriate impact on society.”