Hilton Head Institute: Fast Forward: From the Early Days of Hilton Head as a Cutting Edge Community to our New Cutting Edge Intellectual Opportunity

By David Ames

I am one of the lucky ones, I experienced the thrill and pride of being on Hilton Head Island when we were creating a new paradigm for resort communities in the early 70’s. People from all over the world came to us and asked our opinions. There was electricity in the air. We were proud being at the cutting edge of community planning. It was this excitement and pride I wanted to recreate through the Institute by institutionalizing the Island’s leadership in community planning for the benefit of other communities and their citizens.

I was also motivated by a desire to have this community known for its creativity and intellectual foundation (which didn’t exist institutionally, but was here in the minds of well educated and curious citizens). I believed the community’s future depended on these qualities for a variety of reasons.

Now, fast forward to today. I see the evolving vision of the Institute as achieving my original goals and doing so, in a way that is profound and important. This is exciting and valuable. The mission is global, not local, but the island and region will be beneficiaries. So, I am pleased on two levels.

I look forward and I see great things happening with the Institute. It is studying the most critical intersections of forces and values and finding ways to express their consequences for the benefit of man and planet. Leading thinkers are wrestling these issues to ground in forums that open eyes of national and international leaders. Debates, conclusions and papers are available for wide distribution and begin to affect public debate and individual behavior. The Institute is gaining a solid reputation of profound and important work, and with it, is being asked to replicate its forums in far away places. Personally, my rewards are having been in on the ground floor and having watched capable and creative people do good work. My mind has been opened and stimulated along the way, changing the way I behave, as well.