TRAININGAreté Academy

Areté (\ærətiː\; Greek: ἀρετή): excellence and moral virtue.


Areté Academy is designed to engage and equip the next generation of leaders in law, government, public policy, and business.

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Areté Academy combines biblical worldview training with specialized professional development. This one-week student training is holistic, focusing equally on the spiritual, intellectual, and relational development of each attendee. Its name derives from Philippians 4:8, which refers to the moral excellence and virtue that accompany a life lived to its full potential and God-given calling. Thus, attendees are known as “Delegates,” because they are called to represent Christ as outstanding professionals.



Each day at Areté Academy is founded upon worship, reflection, and devotionals. The curriculum is rooted in Psalm 78, which sets forth the necessity of teaching tomorrow’s leaders about God, God’s laws, and God’s works. At Areté Academy, Delegates explore the concept of “calling” and what it means to be a faithful and effective leader within a particular industry.

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It is true that faith and intellect go hand in hand. Areté Academy gives Delegates the opportunity to study under some of the most renowned Christian scholars and experts in their fields. Delegates leave the Academy with the tools necessary to maximize credentials and position themselves effectively to pursue God’s calling on their lives.

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An essential component of Areté Academy is the thoughtful community, one that grows through future academic and professional pursuits. Relationships are nurtured as Delegates live, learn, worship, pray, and participate in small group discussions together. As a result, Delegates leave knowing they have the support to face—and overcome—future challenges.

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As an Areté Academy Delegate, you join a community of highly-accomplished, passionate Christians around the world. You leave with the competence, credentials, and character needed to excel in your future profession, the conviction necessary to effectively engage the culture, and a community that both enriches and fuels your pursuits. Alumni of Areté Academy have gone on to pursue careers not only in law, but also in business, medicine, government, foreign affairs, academia, politics, economics, national security, and intelligence.


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Can your daily work and study in law, government, public policy, and business honor God and make a difference in this nation?

Areté Academy is a one-week leadership development training program for highly accomplished college students and recent graduates who are pursuing careers in law, government, business, and public policy. This Academy is a unique combination of substantive legal instruction, strategies for professional development, methods for cultural engagement, and spiritual formation.

Through the rigorous curriculum, Delegates will engage the foundations of law and justice, natural law principles, and biblical worldview training. Together, Delegates explore how these foundational principles apply to some of the most pressing issues facing society today, including religious freedom, intellectual tolerance and academic diversity, marriage and family, as well as the right of conscience and the sanctity of life. These elements are all designed to equip Delegates to fulfill their God-given vocational callings with character and excellence.

Areté Academy creates the unique opportunity for each Delegate to join a thoughtful community that values and promotes both faith and professional excellence. Delegates will establish personal connections with other students, who will then become lifelong colleagues, associates, and friends.

— Thaddeus, Cornell University


Nathan, Taylor University

"After participating in Areté Academy this summer, I walked away with a great deal of tools to help kick start my vision of working in law. Not only did I receive invaluable guidance from the faculty and staff, but I also received very practical tools to help me choose a career path. I feel much more prepared to venture into the plan God has in mind for me."

Kelsey, Grove City College

"My time at Areté Academy is an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was encouraging to be surrounded by young, intelligent, and faithful Christians who share the same passions and interests as me. The staff and mentors were living proof that Christianity can not only survive but thrive in the legal field."

Danielle, University of Arizona

"Areté Academy was an absolutely wonderful experience. It was so encouraging to be surrounded by such a strong community of believers who all experienced similar struggles trying to defend the truth on campus and in public discourse. I left the program feeling inspired, connected, equipped, and with a deep sense of gratitude."

Alexandra, The King's College

"Areté confirmed my vocational calling to law, introduced me to accomplished and like-minded peers, and gave me incredible access to brilliant scholars."

Toni, Princeton University

"Areté taught me a great deal about constructing a worldview which maintains truth to faith while engaging in political expression. And the real world experience of Areté staff and faculty, combined with the genuine love they offer, definitely makes the experience worth it."

Academy Details:

Scottsdale, Arizona 

Application Deadline: TBD

Acceptance Date: TBD

As a Delegate, you will:

  • Engage with renowned Christian experts in the legal and policy fields.

  • Expand leadership skills and refine professional goals.

  • Examine current legal and cultural issues.

  • Receive specialized and ongoing career development advice.

  • Participate in daily worship and scriptural instruction.


Admission to the Areté Academy is highly competitive. Delegates are selected for their demonstrated academic achievement, leadership potential, and Christian commitment. For those applicants selected to participate, Alliance Defending Freedom will underwrite the costs for transportation*, lodging, educational materials, and most meals. Enrollment at or graduation from a university located in the United States is required. 

*Transportation – Reasonable cost of airfare within the continent will be covered. Flights to and from local (nonhub) airports are excluded. Exceptions apply.

If you live and study outside of the United States, please visit ADF International for more details on Areté Academy in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Staff & Faculty

With a commitment to excellence and reflecting godliness, the Areté Academy staff has equipped thousands of Christian students and professionals around the globe to become leaders in their career fields. As Delegates you will experience this commitment in even the smallest details of Areté Academy.

ADF Staff:

Katie Vizzerra, Esq.

Serves as Legal Counsel of Student Training and Engagement. As a JD and MBA, she is uniquely qualified to oversee recruitment and professional development for Areté Academy in the United States.

Melissa Roberson

Oversees all operations as the Director of Operations for Training Programs. Melissa runs operations and logistics for Areté Academy and the Blackstone Legal Fellowship. Areté Academy applicants and attendees work directly with Melissa for all technical application questions and travel details.

ADF International Staff:

Sophia Kuby

Director of Strategic Relations & Training for ADF International, based in Vienna, Austria. She oversees the development of training programs and alliance relations outside the US.

Kirsten Gillson

Strategic Relations & Training Manager for ADF International focusing on recruitment and alumni professional development for Areté Academy sessions held outside of the US and international recruitment for the Blackstone Legal Fellowship.

Past faculty of Areté Academy includes:
  • Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society, The Heritage Foundation
  • The Honorable Kay Coles James, President of The Heritage Foundation; President and Founder, Gloucester Institute
  • Evan Baehr, M.Div., MBA, CEO, Teneo; Co-Founder, Able
  • Justin B. Dyer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Missouri
  • Professor Hadley Arkes, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Edward Ney Professor of American Institutions, Amherst College
  • Stephanie Gray, Founder, Love Unleashes Life
  • Scott Klusendorf, President, Life Training Institute
  • Nikolas T. Nikas, President & General Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund
  • Lauren McAfee, Corporate Ambassador, Hobby Lobby
  • John Stonestreet, Speaker and Fellow, Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview


In addition to the distinguished faculty, Areté Academy includes Christian graduate students and young professionals who serve as mentors throughout the program. These mentors are handpicked from past Alliance Defending Freedom training programs to lead small group discussions and provide individual mentoring. Their passion, talent, and experience provide Delegates with a wealth of invaluable insights and direction as they navigate career decisions.



Alliance Defending Freedom is committed to the continual development of Delegates and strengthening of the alliance. As such, specialized Training Tracks for career development are offered for alumni. Additionally, Delegates gain access to a robust Alumni Community Site with resources and ways to engage on the core issues of ADF domestically and abroad.

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