The title for this week’s lecture theme, “The Next Greatest Generation,” suggests optimism and boundless potential, for my peers and me. What we really crave, however, is candor. Chautauqua is a place that thrives on messages of hopeful promise. But what made this week’s presentations from Chris Hayes and Paula Kahumbu so compelling was their honesty about the scope of the challenges that our generation faces, be it the specific case of Kenya, facing relentless greed of poachers and the markets they serve, or the broader decline of trust in major institutions within the United States. Hayes and Kahumbu both attempt to speak truth to a power structure that they realize is deeply entrenched, and it is this context that made their presentations so fully credible. Kahumbu’s exhaustive campaign to end elephant poaching — from cleverly redesigned currency to ubiquitous receipt stamps and billboards — was an object lesson in how fearless and ambitious young people must be if they want to mount a serious challenge to market-driven greed and the political passivity it engenders. Dalia Mogahed also provided some inspiration grounded in reality when she spoke of the courage of Muslim youth in demanding a voice in their societies’ governance — but against a backdrop of social neglect, born of greed and complacency from the oligarchies that ruled both their governments and their economies (which may sound familiar to those who heard Hayes as well.)
Imagine Edward Snowden’s last day at the National Security Agency — he quietly drops files onto his flash drive, packs up his laptop, exits the NSA’s Hawaiian office, packs his bags, boards airline security and finally breathes a sigh of relief as his plane crosses into international airspace.
Just before 10 a.m. today, the students of Children’s School will take their annual walk down Pratt from the school to Bestor Plaza.
For directors Andy Gale and Keith Burton, each and every Musical Theater Revue is a labor of love. This evening’s collection, set to begin at 10:30 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, is no different. It has been titled “When I Fall in Love.”
Though Megan Smith’s current place of residence is in Silicon Valley, the vice president of Google[x] has her roots on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution.
“It’s nice to be home,” she told the crowd at the Monday morning lecture in the Amphitheater. “Traveling with all of you has been an incredible experience.”
Once a participant in the Chautauqua Boys’ and Girls’ Club, Smith was back to jumpstart the second week of morning lectures with the theme of “The Next Greatest Generation.”
Planning Chautauqua’s morning lecture platform themes begins more than a year in advance. After combing through submissions and ideas, a committee narrows the pool to nine themes by considering the arc of a week, the season’s arc and how they will fit together.
Nabbing and adapting Tom Brokaw’s book title, 2013’s Week Two theme will be “The Next Greatest Generation,” examining the younger adult generation’s values and social awareness. During that week, the Chautauqua community will consider the relationship between young people and their elders — how the young affect policy and effect change in the United States and around the world.
Guests for 2013’s Week Two have not yet been confirmed, but a plan is in action. Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education, wants to enlist four people who will likely be leaders in some way for years to come. The four speakers will present individually on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and they will have a conversation together Wednesday.