Ford Hall Forum Announces Fall Lineup


The Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University announces its fall season of six public presentations addressing our lives today — in Boston, in the United States, and in the international arena.

The Forum hands over the microphone to the thinkers, doers, experts, and opinion leaders on the front lines of these and other issues that affect us all.  Equal time will be provided for speakers’ remarks and audience members’ questions.  As always at the Forum, no speaker will go unquestioned and no view unchallenged.

The fall lineup includes:

Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU

Wendy Kaminer with Peter Kadzis
Thursday, Sept. 17
6:30-8 p.m.
C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple St., Boston

“Suppression of dissent.” “Self-censorship.” “Cult of personality.” While such problems are usually associated with corrupt dictatorships or dysfunctional corporations, Wendy Kaminer, lawyer, social critic, and former American Civil Liberties Union national board member, argues that they threaten the effectiveness of all institutions – including civil liberties groups. Standing up to friends and allies, Kaminer publicly seeks to protect her former organization from falling prey to these institutional ills and to warn others of these powerful pressures. She joins Peter Kadzis, executive editor of The Boston Phoenix and political commentator on FOX25 News, to discuss the virtues of dissent and free speech, as well as the forces that pull organizations of all kinds away from these essential principles.

Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail

Paul Polak with Jasmine Wadell
Thursday, Sept. 24
6:30-8 p.m.
C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple St., Boston

Paul Polak, writer and founder of International Development Enterprises, chose to work with thousands of farmers in countries around the world – including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe – to help design and produce low-cost, income-generating products that allow people to create their own wealth and build better lives. Innovations such as the $25 treadle pump and $3 drip– irrigation systems have generated enormous sums of money and helped to raise millions out of poverty. Polak joins Jasmine Wadell, senior officer for Research & Learning at Oxfam America, to discuss how innovative entrepreneurial practices are empowering individuals to address poverty at its roots.

The Frederic G. Corneel Memorial Lecture

Public Accountability After the Age of Newspapers

Paul Starr with Martin Baron and Dan Kennedy
Thursday, Oct. 1
6:30-8 p.m.
Moot Court Room, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston

As major metropolitan newspapers around the country struggle to make ends meet, some see dark days ahead for our civic life. There are concerns about corruption on Beacon Hill and in Washington as the power of print journalism declines. Yet social media outlets such as Twitter, Blogger, and YouTube may empower citizens to watch elected officials more closely than ever. Paul Starr, professor of Communications and Public Affairs at Princeton University and co-editor of The American Prospect, joins Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe, and Dan Kennedy, assistant professor at the Northeastern University School of Journalism and nationally recognized media critic, to discuss the future of journalism and how the changing news landscape will impact us all.

Presented in collaboration with the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service

Massachusetts Poetry in Hard Times: What the Best of Bay State Bards Offer us in Bad Times and Good

David Ferry, Suji Kwock Kim, Jill McDonough, Gail Mazur, and Lloyd Schwartz
Moderated by journalist Christopher Lydon
Thursday, Oct. 15
6:30-8 p.m.
Rabb Auditorium, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston

While the Dow tumbles, joblessness soars, and two wars stretch our military abroad, what could words, rhythm, and rhyme provide to those down on their luck or even facing crisis? Poets David Ferry, Suji Kwock Kim, Jill McDonough, Gail Mazur, and Lloyd Schwartz join Christopher Lydon to answer with readings from classic Massachusetts authors as well as contemporary artists. From lyric and verse to slam and spoken word, they offer their perspective on current affairs, as well as the evolving ways we use language to understand and experience our world today.

Presented in collaboration with the Massachusetts Poetry Festival
Media sponsorship from The Boston Phoenix

Autism and Our Community: Critical Questions Surrounding One of Today’s Greatest Healthcare Challenges

Susan M. Wilczynski and Brenda Myles Smith with James T. Brett
Thursday, Oct. 29
6:30-8 p.m.
C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple St., Boston

The United States has seen a recent surge in the number of children diagnosed with autism, with one of every 150 children affected by the disorder.  Susan M. Wilczynski, Ph.D., BCBA, executive director of the National Autism Center, and Brenda Myles Smith, Ph.D., author and consultant with the Ziggurat Group, join James T. Brett, president & CEO of the New England Council and chair of the Governor's Commission on Developmental Disabilities to discuss where they see the greatest hope for treatment in autism and what we can do as a society to address this urgent public health issue.

Presented in collaboration with the National Autism Center

Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it from Happening to You

Sydney Finkelstein
Thursday, Nov. 19
6:30-8 p.m.
C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple St., Boston

History is full of brilliant leaders making incredibly poor choices. From President John F. Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs invasion to Wall Street’s heavy bets in the mortgage market, we see people with extraordinarily powerful cognitive abilities make terrible decisions. Sydney Finkelstein, best-selling author and Steven Roth Professor of Management for the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, addresses the specific ways our minds are lured into making misguided judgments and why organizations so often fail to correct the mistake. He also identifies the way wise leaders sidestep these pitfalls and how you can do the same.

All events are free, handicap accessible, and convenient to public transportation.

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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris

Ford Hall Forum