The Connecticut Forum

Debbie and I attended The Connecticut Forum at The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut last night. This was the second event of the Forum’s 2007 season. It was titled, The Great Global Debate and the panel included Richard Holbrooke, Richard Armitage, Reza Aslan, and Sheryl WuDunn. There are no photos from me because picture taking isn’t allowed at Forum events. The panel was moderated by Norah O’Donnell of NBC News.  Nevertheless, we got to sit and listen to an esteemed panel tackle issues as diverse as: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2008 Presidential election, global warming/environmental degradation, poverty, HIV/AIDS, the rise of China, economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, the Bush Administration, and torture. The panels shared “what keeps them up at night” as well as “what gives them hope.” There was more agreement than disagreement, despite the fact that Armitage (R) and Holbrooke (D) belong to different political parties and have worked for different US Presidents. All four panelists were well spoken and articulated their messages fairly well, often with humor, which is what makes the spontaneity of the Connecticut Forum so enjoyable. Armitage was particularly enjoyable to listen to. He has a dry wit and has been involved with some very interesting stuff over the years, including multiple tours in Vietnam, and recently, the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. It seemed like the audience was engaged, though the Forum events attract a fairly homogenous crowd. More diversity would be better, but the Forum ticket fees are pretty high and that filters out a whole segment of potential audience members. The Forum also gets a lot of corporate funding, so many of Hartford’s largest companies are represented by employees. Though, it was nice to see a lot of high school students, who were there as part of the Forum’s outreach program. It is a very good thing that some students are being exposed to current events. History is being made every minute and I think it is better for students to participate in politics, economics, and international affairs now, rather than reading about them in a history book. It would have been nice if every seat in the theatre was full, but alas, participating in a Forum on global issues with an 8:00 P.M. start time on a week night isn’t for everyone. Still, I personally prefer paying to attend an event like rather than sitting in front of a television and watching some talking head present his/her biased view of current global affairs.

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