Quinnipiac University
Executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Sean Duffy watches as a student gives a presentation in the Mount Carmel Piazza.

Centers and Institutes

The Albert Schweitzer Institute

The Albert Schweitzer Institute conducts programs that link education, ethics and voluntarism for the sake of creating a more peaceful and sustainable world. A dynamic presence at Quinnipiac University, the institute has drawn notable humanitarians both to campus and to its board, and gives students of all majors the chance to engage with local challenges and the broader international community.

Peace, in thought and in practice

The Albert Schweitzer Institute is committed to introducing Schweitzer’s philosophy of ”reverence for life” to a broad audience in order to bring about a more civil and ethical human society characterized by respect, responsibility, compassion and service. The institute endeavors to keep Schweitzer’s work and philosophies alive for people throughout the world and for future generations who strive to serve humanity and alleviate suffering.

Our programs focus on health, humanitarian and peace efforts; supporting healthcare development in under-served areas; and motivating young people to serve the community and the environment as a way of life. We’ve introduced students to volunteer opportunities in the local area, sent students to work in solidarity with communities abroad and brought inspiring leaders to campus to speak on current issues.

Current projects of the institute continue to be inspired by Schweitzer, and its programs are multiplying as interest is generated among students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community. Most importantly, Quinnipiac University’s commitment to international understanding and community service enables the institute to fulfill its vital mission of encouraging young adults to expand their horizons to a global perspective in the areas of environmentally sustainable living, humanitarian values, health care and peace.

Join us at an upcoming event

Screening of "On Sacred Ground"

April 20, 2023

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM (ET)

Echlin Center EC 101 Kresge Lecture Hall

Read More

Our Projects, Programs and Partners

A community, household or individual is described as food secure when they have consistent access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious and culturally relevant food. A central paradox of American society today is that nearly a third of American people live with food insecurity while at the same time our food system produces nearly 40% more food than is used. This level of waste has social as well as environmental implications.

The Albert Schweitzer Institute works to address this issue on campus and in our local community. It has spearheaded initiatives on campus such as food recovery from our dining facilities and the establishment of herb and vegetable gardens on the institute’s premises. In 2020, we began managing a community garden in the Town of Hamden that provides produce to the local food bank.

We offer paid student internships during the summer and academic year to run these programs and develop new initiatives that promote Schweitzerian values around food and the environment.

The institute has collaborated with other actors on campus since the fall of 2019 in a multi-year project exploring relationships between Quinnipiac University and the natural, cultural and indigenous history of the land we call home. We are reaching out to the Native peoples of the region as we explore what it means to be responsible custodians of the name Quinnipiac.

The periodic World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates bring Quinnipiac students together with thousands of others from the international community. The summit gives participating students the opportunity to meet and listen to past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as other activists who have put their lives on the line to address important issues of the day and effect change worldwide.

The most recent summit was held in Mérida, Mexico, in September of 2019. Thirty Quinnipiac students were selected to attend with students from schools and universities around the world to interact with Nobel Laureates in the cultural capital of the Yucatan while engaging in the summit’s Leading by Example youth program.

World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates

The Albert Schweitzer Institute conducts community-engaged, global living excursions to select locations around the world. Our focus on these trips is to pursue the meaning of Schweitzer’s philosophy of reverence for life by working with and living in communities that offer us new experiences and knowledge in lifestyles, environmental sustainability and world cultures.

  • August: Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Quechua life
  • January: Biodiversity and eco-village living in India
  • March: Regenerative agriculture and sustainable living in Guatemala
  • May: Eco-village living in New England

The Albert Schweitzer Institute holds consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The institute regularly organizes trips to the United Nations for conferences and other open dialogues concerning the social, political and economic issues facing various world regions today — such as sustainable development, women’s participation and welfare, and nuclear disarmament.

The Albert Schweitzer Institute hosts Quinnipiac’s Global Engagement Fellowship, a group of faculty and students who work together for community-engaged action to address challenges in food security, immigration, prisoner re-integration and other topics where global awareness can confront local reality and challenge us to act.

Quinnipiac University and the Albert Schweitzer Institute are members of the Oxford Consortium of Human Rights. The consortium offers opportunities for students to attend workshops focused on human rights at the United Nations, at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and at other sites around the world.

The Oxford Consortium for Human Rights

The Albert Schweitzer Institute has partnered with the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival in Hartford, Connecticut, to open up opportunities for students to explore their musical interests in the context of this annual celebration of Schweitzer’s musical legacy. The ASOF is the premier competition for young organ students in North America. Members of the Quinnipiac community are invited to attend the weekend of concerts associated with the festival.

The Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival

Housed inside the institute, the museum is a memorial museum open to the public that allows visitors to experience highlights from Schweitzer’s life of history-making humanitarianism. The museum traces Dr. Schweitzer’s life as a young man through his later years with authentic photographs, works of art created by Schweitzer’s colleagues in Africa and artifacts from his years at Lambaréné.

The Albert Schweitzer Faculty Fellowship cultivates scholarly and creative work among the faculty at Quinnipiac, who work on projects that promote and extend Dr. Schweitzer’s values of service and human dignity.

Who Was Albert Schweitzer?

Physician. Philosopher. Humanitarian.

Nobel Prize Winner Albert Schweitzer was born in 1875 in Kaysersberg, Alsace — then part of the German Empire. The son of a pastor, he developed progressive interpretations of the Christian tradition and, at the age of 30, determined that he should commit the rest of his life to serving others.

Schweitzer trained as a medical doctor and built a hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, where he attended to the medical needs of the underserved population in the Central African country. During this time, he developed his famous philosophy of Reverence for Life — the idea that all life is worthy of our awe and respect and protection of life should inform and motivate our actions. For his humanitarian efforts and commitment to social, economic and political development, Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.

Schweitzer also became a key figure in a growing environmental movement that exposed the harm caused to humans and the biosphere by atmospheric nuclear testing. His historic 1954 Nobel lecture, titled “The Problem of Peace,” emphasized the evils of modern warfare, the tensions of nationalism and rival claims to land, and the threat posed to lasting peace by the nuclear age.

Schweitzer continued to work tirelessly to promote a life-affirming society until his death in 1965, at the age of 90. His name and legacy continue to live on around the world. A prolific writer during his lifetime, Schweitzer’s most notable published works include: The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906), On the Edge of the Primeval Forest (1922), The Philosophy of Civilization, Parts I & II (1923), Memoirs of Childhood and Youth (1924) and Out of My Life and Thought (1931).

Pollinator garden blooms on Mount Carmel Campus

Quinnipiac University Professor Sarah Lawson works with students researching pollinator health and nutrition in native bee populations

A pollinator garden is now in bloom on the Mount Carmel Campus, with hopes it will invigorate the biodiversity of native pollinators at Quinnipiac.

The garden contains eight themed beds hosting 200 varieties of native plants. Plants were chosen to bloom in succession for year-round growth, said Assistant Professor of Biology Sarah Lawson.

Preparation for the garden started last fall. Cardboard and mulch were layered to smother grass in the selected area, located outside the Albert Schweitzer Institute. Planting began in April. The first completed bed is a rainbow theme, including scarlet bee balm and yellow poppies, she said.

Riya Miller ’23, MS ’24, is taking advantage of the new garden for her QUIP-RS, an 8-week research project spanning the summer months. She designed her project to study the social hierarchy of the small carpenter bee, she said.

Ultimately, the pollinator bed will act as a blueprint for future sustainable planting around the Mount Carmel Campus, said Lawson.

Read the QU Today Article

Learn More About the BS in Biology

Get Involved

Work with us

The Albert Schweitzer Institute supports paid internships in environmental sustainability, food security, human rights and global engagement, and communications. It also supports one summer intern to participate in a community gardening internship in New Haven, through the New Haven Land Trust.

Travel with us

Join us on one of our Global Engagement programs or travel with us to the United Nations in New York.

Engage with us

Attend one of our many speaker presentations or events on campus or get involved with one of our many activities on campus and in the Hamden community: food rescue, community gardening, environmental sustainability — or suggest a project of your own that we can help support.

Sign up for our email list

Contact Us

Learn More

Centers and Institutes at Quinnipiac

We believe education doesn’t begin and end inside the classroom. We live in an increasingly diverse and complex world that demands the knowledge, collaboration and empathy required to deliver meaningful impact. 

Whether it’s turning ideas into viable business applications or digging through human history by analyzing ancient artifacts, each of our centers and institutes pairs our students and faculty to transform academic theory into real-world solutions.


Our broad liberal arts core complements deep expertise across more than 100 degree programs to provide an education that equips you for an extraordinary career. Whether you are in high school and ready to pursue your undergraduate degree, currently in the workforce and looking to advance your career through one of our graduate programs or have ambitions of becoming a lawyer or doctor, we have the schools, programs and faculty that will help unlock your potential.