A Week Nine Message from Chautauqua’s President

Welcome to Week Nine of CHQ Assembly. This is the last week of our “traditional” Summer Assembly Season (although not the last week of our Assembly). It’s hard to believe we’ve already reached this point!


This week for the Chautauqua Lecture Series, we look at “The Future We Want, The World We Need: Collective Action for Tomorrow’s Challenges,” a week in partnership with the U.N. Foundation. It is so fitting, having just closed a week on our U.S. Constitution, that we now turn outward, beyond our shores, to look at the state of the world as a whole. From climate change and new technologies to COVID-19 and a reckoning regarding systemic racism, the world faces countless interrelated and fast-moving drivers of economic, political and social change. In particular, we’ll ask: 

  •       What will the world look like over the coming decades, and how can we work together to better prepare for the future? 
  •       Where are the most important opportunities to realize a more equitable and sustainable world? What are our biggest collective challenges? 

During the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we examine what we can learn from international communities and partnerships driving innovative solutions to global issues and identify tools that communities can use to learn from one another and drive collective action. 

In our companion Interfaith Lecture Series, we look at “The Future We Want, The World We Need.” In a constantly evolving world, what needs to change, what can change, and what do we and all peoples actually need — not only to survive, but to sustain life and to thrive? In this week, we will ask these humanitarian questions and more: questions that make us think; questions that trigger other questions. 

I’m so deeply grateful to our Week Nine program sponsor, Erie Insurance, for supporting us in this global exploration as we close our season. Erie Insurance is also our neighbor, in the best sense of that relationship, as we have worked together on regional development issues, asked questions of legacy organizations and thought together about the future of our region, nation and world. A special shout-out to Erie Insurance CEO and my friend Tim NeCastro for all of his work with Chautauqua. We are not only grateful to Erie Insurance for their sponsorship of this week, but the program content they will bring to the week on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch. At 3:30 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 24, please join us on the Virtual Porch for a Roundtable on Equity and Collective Action, discussing “Belonging and Placemaking for Equitable Communities of the Future.” This panel will feature Tesha Nesbit Arrington, director of diversity and inclusion at Erie Insurance; Patrick Fisher, executive director of Erie Arts & Culture; and Leslie Sotomayor, artist, curator and assistant professor in art education at Edinboro University. It’s sure to be an illuminating program, dedicated to the issues of our nation and the places we call home.  

Normally I end the Week Nine column with some notation that this is the final week, and how sad I am that we will not see one another until we meet again. That is not the case this year for a couple of reasons. First, to state the obvious, we have not been gathering in person for programming this year, and so many of those who have come to the Institution to live for the summer have noted that they are staying here for an extended period. But more importantly, this gathering on CHQ Assembly will continue well past our traditional Summer Assembly Season. I hope you have enjoyed the content and engagement online this summer, and I encourage you to stay with us, as we’ll continue to program CHQ Assembly throughout the year. In this way, our old parting of “until we meet again” need not be a sad one! 

Thank you for being a part of our beta test of CHQ Assembly this summer, and for the many expressions of care and concern throughout this most unusual year.  

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