The Omelas Institute is a think tank for social enquiry and progressive policy.
The name “Omelas” is taken from Ursula Le Guin’s story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, a modern fable exploring ethical contradictions within an imagined society. As we became more acutely aware of the political challenges, social injustices, and economic inequality surrounding us, we decided that the sort of social enquiry Le Guin’s story provokes is as necessary as ever today.
The Omelas Institute began in Oxford University in 2018 as an informal discussion group reviewing political, social, and cultural developments – with a focus on Britain and Europe – from a progressive standpoint.
In 2019, the group was formally reconstituted as The Omelas Institute, a think tank for social enquiry and progressive policy, by Alex Kumar, Rebecca Durkin, Freddy Leo, and Adam John Ellison. In Summer 2019, Dani Cugini joined as the fifth associate.
In 2020, the Institute launched its International Desk.
The Institute acts as a platform for collaborative political research and advocacy between the associates.
“The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018), ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’