Welcome to i³: ideas that inform & inspire
where we invite distinguished thought leaders from diverse disciplines to San Miguel de Allende for fact-based, future-focused Conversations with Big Thinkers.


On the eve of the 2016 San Miguel Writers’ Conference, where the keynote speaker John “Economic Hit Man” Perkins was being honored at a lavish and lively brunch, the spark of an idea was ignited. The setting was the home of conference ringleader, Susan Page and Mexican folkart impresario, Mayer Shacter. 

Rob Lerner, co-founder of i3, recalls the story of how SMA got its is…

Long after the pancakes had been consumed, and fueled by a third, perhaps fourth round of coffee; the conversation jolted up to such high-minded topics as the “state of human civilization.” Suddenly, Diane (Varney) blurted out, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a regular lecture series here in San Miguel, something like the City Arts & Lectures series in San Francisco?” I could tell from the glint in Susan’s eye that she thought it was a good idea, too. That was the spark, and just a few meetings later we had a name — i3: ideas that inform & inspire — a volunteer steering committee, and our first presenter: former Mexican President Vincente Fox, speaking on U.S.–Mexico relations in the wake of the 2016 U.S. election.

Based in San Miguel de Allendeiis anot-for-profit lecture series which hosts six or more speakers each season. Since its inception in 2016 it has become a San Miguel institution, bringing prominent public intellectuals to a local stage to present on a variety of topics.

Since that serendipitous day the i3 stage has hosted over 25 outstanding speakers, many who are Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as Emmy, Peabody and Academy Award winners. Curated from varied disciplines: science, health, environment, politics and culture, covering such topics as aging, cancer and Alzheimer’s, climate change, the political landscape both in Mexico and the United States as well as antibiotics, and even bugs!

i3 seeks to bring diverse and thought-provoking presentations each season such as former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who barely a week after the stunning 2016 U.S. presidential election addressed a sold-out crowd discussing the future of U.S.-Mexico relations, Hedrick Smith, one of America’s most authoritative and respected scholars on the U.S. political system shared his observations and conclusions about how to fix the broken U.S. political system, Rob Dunn led the audience on a journey into the mysterious micro world of microbes and their hosts in the places where we live, award-winning science journalist Erik Vance shed light on the surprising ways that our expectations and beliefs can influence our bodily responses to pain, disease, and everyday events, Professor Pam Ronald described a hopeful new agricultural ethic, one that integrates the principles of sustainability with the latest advances in technology, preparing us to meet the food challenges of tomorrow, and most recently, Linda Greenhouse’s presentation explored the causes and implications of the collapse of public confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court.

With i3 you are sure to be educated, surprised, challenged, and entertained, we hope you come away with new knowledge, a curiosity to learn more and a desire to engage in varied communities. Please join us for our Conversations with Big Thinkers speaker series which typically runs from October through April.

Join our mailing list to receive information of upcoming events. To help us continue bringing the world of ideas to San Miguel de Allende, please consider becoming a Patron