Intercontinental Open University

Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development
Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Duke University Medical Center

© 2009–2018 Intercontinental Open university, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

About Us

Intercontinental Open University, a non-profit entity , operates as a theoretical framework  acknowledged  by the Duke University School of Medicine , ranked 7th  among medical schools in the United States. The only institution of its kind, and an active member of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance , it devotes itself exclusively to spirituality and health , with emphasis on practical training in palliative communication , a specialized form of therapeutic rhetorical intervention that exemplifies the World Health Organization's definition of palliative care . Functioning through the person of its President and Chief Executive Officer, an inaugural member of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health , which the medical school was instrumental in establishing in 2007, and whereby it is accredited regionally and professionally , it provides an update each month on developments in the field. With deep gratitude and arms outstretched, it is with anticipation that in the spirit of Duke Health , we cordially invite you  to the most exceptionally rewarding opportunity available for professional development and personal growth.

Historical Roots

Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, portrays Pontius Pilate, Roman military governor, or procurator, of the imperial province of Judea from 26 to 36, as a harsh administrator who fails to understand the religious convictions and national pride of the Jews. Though he had complete judicial authority over all non-Roman citizens, many cases, particularly those relating to religious matters, were decided by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme council and tribunal. Gospel accounts relate that after the Sanhedrin, lacking authority to impose the death penalty, finds Jesus guilty of blasphemy, it commits Him to the Roman court. Pilate refuses to approve the judgment without an investigation. The Jewish priests further accuse Jesus, and Pilate questions Him privately. Impressed with the dignity and frankness of Jesus' answers, Pilate tries to save Him but succumbs to two blind spots: Failure to understand his constituency, and fear of an uprising within it. He accedes to the demands of the populace, and Jesus is executed.

Clinical Perspective

Pilate Syndrome™ is a relational disorder marked by two blind spots: Failure to understand, and fear. For the caregiver, "misunderstanding"  of a patient, and an "unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm"  resulting from an emotional outburst in that patient, undermine therapeutic rhetorical intervention. This disables palliative communication  as opposed to enabling it .

Pilate Syndrome™ can be style identified using the diagnostic equivalent of a global positioning system, the Pilate Style Index™ , created and developed by the university's President and Chief Executive Officer, his having presented it in 2008 during the 1st Annual Meeting of the Society for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University School of Medicine. With its underlying principles having been alpha-tested in primary care facilities for five years, and its theoretical framework then having been beta-tested in a wide variety of diverse pastoral settings for ten years, its operative formulaic configuration is the equation AO  =  PO  ÷  ƒ(Gpiv − Lniv). That is, "Actual output equals potential output divided by the function of gains to the power of positively interacting variables minus losses to the power of negatively interacting variables."

Pilate Syndrome™, its internalized condition externalized as a communicator style (cf. Norton and Pettegrew, 1977  ), can be understood in explicitly specific detail given instinctive reactions to forced-choice, biaxial, dual alternatives of varied light intensity, examined by Constantopoulos and Bloch (1967  ), with each option signifying a fractional aversion to introducing palliative discourse, examined by O'Connor, Davis and Abernethy (2010  ) into an exigent situation, examined by Bitzer (1968, p. 6  ). If, after measurement with the Rhetorical Vulnerability Scale™ , that style indicates high-risk vulnerability to disabled palliative communication, then the disorder can be reordered in the appropriate manner . Thus, the disorder, whose structure and metabolism are, as Palade (1963, p. 614  ) so emphasizes, two aspects of the same set of phenomenon, proves to be not as much a response as it is a reaction to them, one that, diagnosed using the Duke Health Profile , can be treated, reversed, and remapped .


Attestation and Endorsement in Cross-cultural, Intercultural and Multicultural Palliative Communication

With a theoretical focus on cross-cultural, intercultural and multicultural dimensions of palliative communication, attestation and endorsement are accorded, in writing, with an apostille affixed thereto, following a 12-week-long, 2.5-hour, directed reading-based, intensive, face-to-face, online weekly dialogue with the President and Chief Executive Officer of the university.

Vocational Authorizations in Palliative Communication

From accreditation (elementary), to certification (intermediate), to licensing (advanced), corresponding authorizations in palliative communication are granted following a minimum of three, six or twelve months, respectively, of supervised, monitored, restorative conversation with patients or residents at an approved medical facility or in a home environment, be that interactive involvement salaried or voluntary. Accreditation culminates in a required 120-question, 30-minute multiple-choice test, with certification culminating in a required 2-hour, single-question, comprehensive written examination, and licensing culminating in a required 90-minute, peer-reviewed, face-to-face capstone encounter by an assessment panel specially convened for that purpose. All three qualifications aim to help the candidate develop level-appropriate skills that transform deficient communication into proficient communication.

Higher Doctorate in Palliative Communication

Given exceptional achievement in, but following a 3-hour Open Access Defense™ of, any creative (D.H.A.), scholarly (Litt.D.) or applied scientific (Sc.D.) aspect, respectively, of communication with emphasis in spirituality and health, the higher doctorate in palliative communication is open to, and conferred upon, petitioners at any point throughout the calendar year.


Attestation and Endorsement in Cross-cultural, Intercultural and Multicultural Palliative Communication

Weekly 2.5-hour, directed reading-based, intensive, face-to-face, online dialogues over 12 weeks.

Vocational Authorizations in Palliative Communication

A 30-minute, 120-question, multiple-choice test for accreditation, or a 2-hour, single-question, comprehensive written examination for certification, or a 90-minute, peer-reviewed, face-to-face capstone encounter for licensing

Higher Doctorate in Palliative Communication Open Access Defense™

Opening (10 minutes), Introduction of Peer Critics (5 minutes), Introduction of Candidate (5 minutes)
Candidate Keynote Address (15 minutes), Candidate Demonstration Project (30 minutes)
Q & A (15 minutes) followed by a 10-minute break
Peer Critiques (3 x 10 minutes), Candidate Response (5 minutes)
Peer Critic Replies (3 x 5 minutes), Candidate Feedback (5 minutes)
Candidate-completed Rhetorical Vulnerability Scale™, Audience-completed Poll (10 minutes)
Scale Result, Poll Result (5 minutes)
Final Comments (5 minutes)
Results-based Conferral / Non-conferral of Degree (5 minutes), Closing (10 minutes)

Faculty and Tuition


Aimed at selecting distinguished individuals from the widest possible range of human endeavor to serve as testers, examiners, or assessment panelists for authorizations, or as peer critics for the Open Access Defense™, the university chooses the most appropriate, most accessible, and most available professionals, from among a loosely knit group of expert specialists, scattered throughout the world, who earnestly are willing to exercise their knowledge by providing insightful feedback to the benefit of the candidate. Chosen invitees, each a thought leader within a specific area of interest, are honorary members of the faculty, and are not paid by the university. Their travel expenses, lodging costs, and meal expenditures are covered by a non-refundable honorarium advanced by the candidate through the university at least thirty days prior to the scheduled test, examination, capstone encounter or Open Access Defense™.


As with chosen invitees' travel expenses, lodging costs, and meal expenditures, all of which are covered by a non-refundable honorarium advanced by the candidate through the university at least thirty days prior to the scheduled test, examination, capstone encounter or defense, tuition, which is negotiable, mutually acceptable per contract, and non-refundable, is paid at least thirty days prior the start of whichever program.


The Very Reverend Protopresbyter Constantine A. Constantopoulos, Ph.D.  (Curriculum Vitae),  (Archived Profile)
Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Clinical Professor of Palliative Communication
President and Chief Executive Officer

Panoraia Bithou, B.S.
Executive Assistant

George C. Constantopoulos, Ph.D., Retired
Lead author for 1964 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Konrad E. Bloch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
President (honoris causa, 2011-2018) and Founding Director

Nickas C. Constant (1926-2007), A.D.
Director Emeritus of Grants and Scholarships  (In Memoriam: "Poor Freeport Boy Gets Black Velvet Scholarship" in The Tribune - July 15, 1973)
Marketing Director, Heublein International, Ltd.


Recent Graduates

Congratulations to our two recent degree recipients for 2017:
Linda Elaine Vogt Turner from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), awarded the Doctor of Humane Arts degree on June 27, 2017
Michael Frangogiannis from Galatas, Peloponnese (Greece), awarded the Doctor of Science degree on October 1, 2017

Conference Invitation

It gives us great pleasure to announce the selection of our Provost and Chief Academic Officer, C. A. Constantopoulos, Ph.D., who, upon submission of an abstract, has been invited to present a paper, based on his ongoing research, entitled "End-of-life Care As Timeless Presence" at the 1st Global Conference: The End of Life Experience - Dying, Death and Culture in the 21st Century . As expressed by the Joint Organizing Chairs of Progressive Connexions, they are " . . . pleased to let [him] know that [his] proposal has been accepted for presentation at [the conference] . . . to be held in Lisbon, Portugal from Saturday 17th March 2018 – Sunday 18th March 2018. [They] look forward to meeting [him] and engaging with the wealth of knowledge, experience and insight that [his] contribution will bring!" Read the abstract.