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“Facing our Future Today”

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

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