Georges Van Den Abbeele, founding dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, in conjunction with Northeastern’s Humanities Center, has announced the launch of “Facing our Future Today”—a new series of open public forums to discuss the most important issues of the day.
Van Den Abbeele noted that the stakes of American civil society have rarely been higher, as the country enters a new presidential election year and faces great challenges, such as a seemingly intractable economic crisis, a swiftly changing geopolitical environment and the looming threat of climate change and environmental degradation.
“The very civility of fair and open discussion is increasingly challenged by sound bite-driven media, groupthink and extremist positions that reject all compromise,” Van Den Abbeele said.
“Over the next several months, ‘Facing our Future Today’ will serve to re-energize the venerable model of the teach-in, by bringing together notable experts from within and beyond Northeastern University, to help inform us about key contemporary problems and engage the collective creativity of our faculty, our students, our staff and all members of the local community to seek equitable and sustainable solutions.”
The first forum—“Why ‘Occupy’?”—will occur today, Nov. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Cabral Center. Featuring Northeastern professors Jeff Juris and Denise Horn along with William Gamson of Boston College, “Why ‘Occupy’?” will address the current set of issues and actions inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to more than 900 cities in 82 countries. Participants will discuss what is driving this new social movement, what brought it about and what its future might be.
Upcoming forums also include professor Barry Bluestone leading a day-long reflection on the economy on Nov. 13, and one entitled “Perspectives on Global Diasporas: A Multinational Conversation” on Nov. 17.
– by Greg St. Martin