Renaissance Weekend

Renaissance Weekend

Common Questions

What are Renaissance Weekends?

For more than 35 years, Renaissance Weekends® have celebrated ideas and relationships through inter-generational, invitation-only retreats for preeminent authorities, emerging leaders and their families.

Back to top

How do I register? If I did not receive an invitation, how may I be considered?

To register online or update your record, visit the login page. For security purposes we ask that you first create your login account using the RW access code found on your invitation's envelope. If you have already initialized your account but cannot remember your password, please follow the "forgotten password" prompts on the login page and a new one will be e-mailed to you immediately (passwords are case sensitive).

Participation is by invitation only. A very limited number of others expressing interest may be included, based on their potential contribution to the expertise, depth, breadth, and diversity of perspectives at each Weekend. For consideration, please note the Invitation Criteria.

Inquiries and requests for consideration should be sent to the Renaissance Weekend team.

Back to top

When should I register?

You may register for any upcoming Renaissance Weekend, throughout the year. The program for each Renaissance Weekend is created directly from registered participants' completed profile information. For that reason, and to ensure that you are adequately included in the Weekend's program based on your interests, hobbies and expertise, we ask that you register at your earliest convenience. 


Back to top

What are the Confidentiality and Intellectual Property policies?

To uphold Renaissance Weekends®' distinctive format and candid spirit, participants are required to honor longstanding policies.

  • Private retreats, exclusively for invitees.  All participants, including invitees' guests, must be approved by the Renaissance Institute® through advance registration and wear official nametags designating proper registration. Online, social networking or other media reference to, or posting photographs of, participants must be approved by such individuals and/or the hosts.

  • Programs, strictly "off-the-record."  Media-available descriptions of the Weekends and their discussion themes must be general and unattributed. Individuals' presentations or comments should not be referenced in public media (including blogs and social networking sites) without such persons' prior approval. Programs may not be recorded; only staff photography is allowed during sessions; and photographing participants is permissible only if intended for personal use.

  • Commerciality, frowned upon. Solicitations during Weekends and commercial uses of Lists of Participants are prohibited. But participants' sharing of contact details is encouraged; and business cards may be discreetly exchanged.

  • Unauthorized uses. Intellectual property protection has been secured, and is strictly enforced, regarding traditional Renaissance Weekend® terms, program content and materials (including, but not limited to, "Renaissance Weekend(s)®," "Renaissance Institute®," "Renaissance Academy®," "Camp Renaissance®"), and use thereof must be specifically authorized by the Renaissance Institute®.

All participants are expected to respect Renaissance Weekends®' tradition of the candid and welcome exchange of diverse opinions, safeguards for privacy, confidentiality, and non-commerciality, and family ethos. Comments, behavior, or public references that compromise the character of Renaissance Weekends® will result in immediate action.

Back to top

What are the themes of specific Weekends? What is the program? Who are the speakers?

Every Renaissance Weekend addresses a broad range of public policy and personal subjects, including current events and central issues of the times. Each gathering includes many nationally distinguished authorities in diverse fields, and their contributions are supplemented by remarks from highly informed fellow participants.

The Weekends are comprised of hundreds of lectures, small seminars, focused panel sessions, large free-for-all discussions, skill-related workshops, and half-day Academies. A half-dozen to 20 simultaneous programs and several plenary sessions occur each day, allowing each participant to tailor-make a personal schedule. Lively discussion is encouraged, and the tone is decidedly relaxed. All may come-and-go as they like.

Some have likened Renaissance Weekends to “mini-universities” or reunions of an extended family of highly accomplished individuals. Programs always include specific sessions on business, finance and investments, international affairs, government and politics, medicine, science and technology, religion and philosophy, energy and the environment, literature and the arts, non-profits, philanthropy and NGOs, journalism, media and entertainment, health and fitness, computers and the Internet, psychology, travel and recreation, and family legacies and concerns. Music and laughter punctuate serious discussions.

Each Renaissance program is designed to highlight the unique competencies of individual participants about two weeks before the Weekend. A Tentative Program – with several “assignments” for each participant – is e-mailed to them at that time. The final Program is only available at Registration.

Back to top

Who are the founders and hosts? How were Renaissance Weekends established?

Linda and Philip Lader, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, founded Renaissance Weekend in 1981 to foster the candid exchange of ideas and the beginning of unlikely relationships, and to help inspire personal endeavors, commercial ventures and public service initiatives.

Back to top

Who are some of the people who have provided Renaissance Weekends' content and established its reputation?

Please note the 25th Anniversary Advisory Board and list of Illustrative Past Participants.  

Back to top

What is your cancellation policy?

All Registration and Meals & Meeting Services Fees will be refunded — less a $250/party processing fee — for cancellations received by Renaissance Weekend in writing via e-mail, fax, or mail, sixty days in advance of the first night of the Weekend. No refund is available for cancellations communicated less than fourteen days in advance. Cancellations received in the intervening period are eligible for 50% refunds. However, fees paid may be applied towards any of the three immediately following Renaissance Weekends, subject to a $100/party transfer fee, if space remains and such notice is received. Meals & Meeting Services Fees may not be reduced for absences from meals. Lodging cancellations are handled by hotels directly, subject to each hotel's specific policies. Guests are required to contact the hotel to cancel their room, in addition to notifying the Renaissance Weekend team of their cancellation. 

Back to top

Who attends? How did you get my name?

If you have received an invitation, a Renaissance Weekend past participant has nominated you to attend. The nomination process is confidential and invitees are selected based on professional experience, personal profiles and likely contributions to the program's breadth and depth.

Participation is by invitation only. A very limited number of others expressing interest may be included, based on their potential contribution to the expertise, depth, breadth, and diversity of perspectives at each Weekend. For consideration, please note the Invitation Criteria.

Back to top

Can I (or my family members) bring guests?

Each invitee may bring his or her spouse (or a guest) and immediate family. Sons and daughters may each bring a guest, but additional guests must be authorized by the Renaissance Weekend staff. The costs of such guests’ participation remain the responsibility of the invited participant unless such additional guests are approved and register separately.

Some designated Weekends, e.g. July 4th and other occasional holidays, however, are open to each participant's extended family, and the invited guest will be responsible for the costs of such group's participation.  

Back to top

Can someone attend in my stead?

Because Renaissance Weekends are private gatherings and participants are selected personally and not on the basis of their position, attendance is by invitation only, and invitations are not transferable.

Back to top

Can/Should college-age and teenage sons and daughters and young children attend?

They are most welcome. For children under age 3, we recommend you bring a babysitter/au pair/nanny to maximize your enjoyment of the Weekend. Babies, except when they disrupt meetings, are also welcome.

Camp Renaissance® — an active program tailored for children ages 3-12 — typically includes presentations by fascinating adult participants, hands-on experiments, indoor and outdoor games, nature walks, musical performances, story-telling, and arts-&-crafts projects. These activities are supervised by the Camp Renaissance Counselors, with involvement from adult Renaissance participants whose experiences are of interest to young people. Camp Renaissance runs concurrently with the adult program and does not provide full-time child care. Children must turn 3 years old on or before the first day of Camp.

Young people are welcome at all functions. Most teens and college students participate in the Weekend's scheduled program. In addition, they often have designated gathering places, assigned programs, and their own activities and discussions. Teens and college students are usually placed on panels related to their interests, as indicated on their Participant Profile.

College students integrate themselves into the scheduled program. Many form strong bonds and even lifetime friendships during evening social events and programs planned specifically for them.

Parents are expected to oversee their sons' and daughters’ comings and goings throughout the Weekend. Renaissance Institute and Renaissance Weekend, and its staff, assume no liability regarding children or teens.

There is no organized program or child care provided for children under the age of three. Younger children are welcome at Camp Renaissance programs when accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. Participants should make arrangements for babysitters at least three weeks prior to arrival at the Weekend by phoning the hotel. To maximize their enjoyment of the program, families with very young children are encouraged to bring a baby-sitter or au pair. Although there is no Registration Fee for babysitters/au pairs, they must register for meals at the children's rate, attend solely for child care, and, if practical, may assist periodically with Camp Renaissance. Baby-sitters/au pairs are free to attend programs and panel discussions designed specifically for Camp Renaissance participants.

Camp & Teens Programs are organized at all New Year's and most of the other Weekends.  On the rare occasions when there are few registrants in these age groups at the smaller Weekends, no such specific programs may be organized; and such young people, as always, are welcome at all sessions. Confirmation of Camp and Teens Programs, available six weeks before any Weekend, may be secured through

Back to top

Which Weekend should I attend?

Most participants base their decision on date, location or size of the Weekend, as the programs are similar and each gathering’s participants are equally distinguished.

The New Year’s Weekend is traditionally the largest, somewhat a reunion of past participants, and has dawn-to-late evening programs. The other Weekends are smaller in size, making them easier for newcomers to navigate, and leave most afternoons free for recreation and sight-seeing.

Back to top

How do I prepare for a Renaissance Weekend? What should I pack?

Don’t worry, first appearances notwithstanding, the Weekends are very informal.  

“Business casual” (and, as appropriate for some resort settings, even more casual than that standard) is the appropriate attire. The New Year's Renaissance Weekend is more formal as men customarily wear coats-and-ties at dinner and New Year's Eve is black-tie optional. Check weather sources to determine what to bring.

After receiving the Tentative Program and your assignments about 10 days before the Weekend, (1) review the Program and highlight the sessions which most interest you, and (2) note your assignments and give some thought to your remarks. Invariably, the subject-matter you will be asked to address relate specifically to your expertise. Except for the lectures, nobody is expected to devote much time to preparation; and prepared, written statements are frowned upon.  

Panelists offer brief and extemporaneous reflections in the area of their expertise or on topics of general interest. (1-3 minutes max!). No one expects to hear the last word on the subject, and “grandstanding” or stealing time from fellow Panelists are serious Renaissance Weekend offenses! Panel discussions are designed to provide the beginnings of conversations that continue throughout the Weekend and between Renaissance Weekends.

Resources give comments and insights in Academies, Free-for-alls and Forums. Unlike Panelists, Resources participate as audience members.

  • Free-for-Alls
    are specifically designed to be . . . free-for-all! These large, open-forum discussions provide an informal opportunity for everyone to contribute. The Moderator keeps order and makes sure the discussion stays on topic.

Seminar Presenters give longer, more focused and in-depth remarks in the areas of their expertise, and they allow extensive time for questions and answers.

Lunch and Dinner Leaders are simply asked to "host" a table discussion for that meal.

Questioners kick off discussions with short, relevant questions of one (not all) panelist in a way that fosters interchange among the Panelists and maximizes participation from the audience. (No speechmaking!)

Back to top

Can you help with travel arrangements?

To learn more about the schedule, program, location, or whether you want to rent a car visit the upcoming Weekend's web page.

Back to top

When should we arrive and depart?

We recommend that you come to the Weekend a day early to enjoy the resort and its vicinity. For mountain locales, advance arrival is especially recommended to allow time to adjust to altitude differences. Special rates are arranged with host sites for several days before and after each Renaissance Weekend and may be secured when completing your registration.

Registration regularly begins at 2:00 P.M. for our New Year's Weekend and at 4:00 P.M. for all other Weekends. On the first day of the Weekend, a 6:00 P.M. reception is typically held, and the dinner and evening program usually start at 7:00 P.M. The final day’s program usually includes only a few morning programs and concludes by noon with an informal panel that is often one of the most memorable.

Back to top

If I am on the Wait List for my preferred Weekend, what should I do?

We will make every effort to accommodate Wait-listed registrants' first preference and will let the lead participant know, as soon as possible, if a place opens.

Back to top

How much does it cost to attend?

Invited guests may review the costs of participating by logging into the website using the unique Access Code on the invitation's envelope or, if you have previously logged in, by logging in with your username and password.  Please contact if you need assistance.

Back to top

Can you help me make plans for vacationing or sight-seeing before, after or during the Weekend?

Special rates are arranged with host sites for several days before and after each Renaissance Weekend and may be secured by request on Renaissance Weekend’s Lodging Reservation Form.  

Detailed information about such vacationing, sight-seeing, and adventure outings is available on the site details for each individual Weekend. You may sign up for such activities, wine-tastings, tennis round-robins and other activities at Registration (often with discounted rates for Renaissance participants) or with the respective host site’s concierge.

Back to top

Are any of the costs relating to attending a Renaissance Weekend tax-deductible?

Please consult your tax adviser. Past participants have been advised that, in their circumstances, payments are qualified business expenses, but may not be claimed as charitable deductions from income.

Back to top

Who is my party's lead participant?

Your online Renaissance Weekend Profile may identify you as either 'Lead Participant,' 'Family Member,' or 'Guest.' We recognize that spouses and guests are often as distinguished as those designated 'Lead Participant' and therefore treat all registered attendees equally when creating each Renaissance Weekend program. These roles are not identified in the final program, but families/parities are listed together, under the 'Lead Participant''s name, in each Weekend's List of Participants. Please email if you prefer to be listed separately.  


Back to top

How do I contact the Renaissance Weekend team?

Please feel free to contact the Renaissance Weekend team via e-mail at To facilitate prompt responses, ensure the accuracy of our records and to enable us to coordinate all Renaissance Weekend details efficiently, we appreciate fax and e-mail communications rather than telephone calls.

Back to top

© 2018 The Renaissance Institute® All Rights Reserved.