1998-1999 indexDistributed February 25, 1999
The public component of new Presidential Seminar
Robert Putnam will lecture on civic engagement in America March 11
Robert Putnam, who has written extensively on community involvement and civic responsibility, will discuss "Civic Engagement in America: Trends and Challenges" on Thursday, March 11, at 6:30 p.m. His lecture is the first public component of a new University initiative called The Presidential Seminar, which is exploring how the University can serve the public good.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Harvard University Professor Robert Putnam, who has written extensively on community involvement and civic responsibility, will discuss "Civic Engagement in America: Trends and Challenges" on Thursday, March 11, at 6:30 p.m. in Salomon Center on The College Green. His lecture is free and open to the public.
Putnam's lecture is the first public component of a new University initiative called The Presidential Seminar. When E. Gordon Gee became the 17th president of Brown University, he stated that "Brown is a private university with a public purpose," and has challenged the Brown community to define that ideal. The Presidential Seminar, titled "The Individual, the University and Responsibility within a Free Society," is a cornerstone of that effort. Led by history Professor Kenneth Sacks, the initiative has several components:
"We are especially pleased that Robert Putnam is the first speaker in The Presidential Seminar," said Sacks. "Our seminar is charged with exploring the nature of civic engagement within the University and how we serve those beyond the Van Wickle Gates. Putnam raises fascinating questions about the extent and vitality of civic participation in America - questions which go to the heart of our democracy. He's a perfect fit with the seminar."
Sacks noted that many of Putnam's articles, as well as some responses to them, will be linked through the seminar's Web site beginning Monday, March 1. The articles "will help prepare the audience and create an especially lively and provocative event," he said.
Putnam's talk will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Nancy Rosenblum, professor of political science, Phil West of Common Cause, and two students.
Robert D. Putnam is the Stanfield Professor of International Peace at Harvard University. He has served as chairman of Harvard's Department of Government, director of the Center for International Affairs, and dean of the Kennedy School of Government. He is the author or co-author of seven books and more than 30 scholarly articles, including Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (1993), Double-Edged Diplomacy: International Bargaining and Domestic Politics (1993); Hanging Together: The Seven-Power Summits (1984), Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies (1981), and Beliefs of Politicians (1973).
Putnam is engaged in a study of civic involvement and social trust in America. His current research, expanding on his widely cited 1995 article "Bowling Alone," will appear in a forthcoming book. He is the principal investigator of The Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, based at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. The Saguaro Seminar will convene leading practitioners and thinkers for a multiyear discussion to develop broad-scale, actionable ideas to fortify civic connectedness.######