The American Council of Learned Societies supports the creation and circulation of knowledge that advances understanding of humanity and human endeavors in the past, present, and future, with a view toward improving human experience.

Since our founding in the wake of World War I, ACLS has devoted itself to the free circulation of knowledge for a secure and peaceful world. At the heart of our mission for the 21st century is our commitment to work toward a more just and inclusive future by supporting a scholarly ethos of curiosity, discovery, understanding, debate, and critique.

ACLS President Joy Connolly

We support humanistic knowledge by making resources available to scholars and by strengthening the infrastructure for scholarship at the level of the individual scholar, the department, the institution, the learned society, and the national and international network. We work in collaboration with member societies, institutions of higher education, scholars, students, foundations, and the public. We seek out and support new and emerging organizations that share our mission.


We commit to expanding the forms, content, and flow of scholarly knowledge because we value diversity of identity and experience, the free play of intellectual curiosity, and the spirit of exploration—and above all, because we view humanistic understanding as crucially necessary to prototyping better futures for humanity. It is a public good that should serve the interests of a diverse public.


We see humanistic knowledge in paradoxical circumstances: at once central to human flourishing while also fighting for greater recognition in the public eye and, increasingly, in institutions of higher education. Located at the center of various flows of activity and knowledge among the learned societies and other academic associations, colleges, universities, libraries, and individual scholars, we serve the needs of all these constituencies, strengthen relations among them, and pioneer and amplify collaborative solutions to challenges facing humanistic scholars and scholarship.


We celebrate and support the engagement of scholars with their fellow citizens and with the issues of the world that shape and affect people’s daily lives.

We advance public understanding of the importance of humanistic knowledge to the enrichment of individual lives and to the robust resilience of democratic societies.

We believe that the circulation of knowledge through scholarship and teaching is best supported by just and equitable practices in institutions of higher education, notably the prioritization of full-time employment. We uphold equity, fairness, integrity, scholarly excellence, and care for scholars’ needs and concerns in general and in our own practice.

Learn More About ACLS Strategic Priorities
2023 Strategic Priorities Progress Report


2022 Strategic Priorities Progress Report


2021 Strategic Priorities Progress Report



ACLS Strategic Priorities for 2020-2024