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The Heart of the Matter Opens Chicago Humanities Summit

American Academy’s Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences report is inspiration for Chicago Humanities Summit, Jan 9, 2014

Co-Presented with the Chicago Humanities Festival & The Modern Language Association

Press Release

CAMBRIDGE, MA | JANUARY 2, 2014 – The American Academy of Arts & Sciences will bring several members of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences to Chicago next week to open the first ever Chicago Humanities Summit.

Since its release, the Humanities Commission’s landmark report, The Heart of the Matter, has generated events around the country, celebrating the role of the humanities in education, culture, national security and global competitiveness. Taking up the baton, the Chicago Humanities Festival has joined with the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Modern Language Association to present the Chicago Humanities Summit. The Summit will explore opportunities within the public humanities, and how the academic and cultural sectors can maximize the impact of the humanities within the broader community.

The Chicago Humanities Summit takes place Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 from 9 a.m.–Noon at the Gratz Center, Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E Chestnut St).

Energy executive and Chicago philanthropist John Rowe is co-chairman of the Humanities Commission and will be welcoming his Commission colleagues, fellow co-chair, Richard Brodhead, President of Duke University and Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Also taking part is Don Randel, President of the American Academy. Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and a member of the Humanities Commission will also attend.

“We are thrilled that the work of the Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences is the inspiration for the Humanities Summit, bringing together The Chicago Humanities Festival, the Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church, and the Modern Language Association to advocate for the importance of the humanities in our daily lives,” said Rowe. “This is the kind of collaboration that The Heart of the Matter stresses. The country needs more such partnerships in support of the arts, history, philosophy, language, and literature."

“It’s time to break free from the discourse surrounding the ‘crisis of the humanities’ and to simply take action,” said CHF Artistic Director Matti Bunzl. “The recent publication of The Heart of the Matter has opened the door to position the humanities as central to our society and culture.”

“The MLA is delighted to co-present the Chicago Humanities Summit with the Chicago Humanities Festival and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” said Marianne Hirsch, President and MLA professor at Columbia University. “MLA members are involved in public humanities in myriad ways and the practical how-to sessions which comprise the summit promise to provide collaboration and exchange beyond the walls of the academy.”

The Summit will begin with a conversation about The Heart of the Matter, with co-chairs Rowe and Brodhead, and Commission member Diane Wood. The day will also include several breakout sessions, with topics including: How to Teach Public Humanities, How to Start your Own Humanities Festival, How to Build Relationships with Foundations, and How to work with your State Humanities Council.


For More Information:

Felicia Knight

About the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

About the Chicago Humanities Festival

About the Modern Language Association