History demonstrates that democracy is a fragile creation. This is especially true in the 21st century, as liberal democracy and Post-Enlightenment values come under threat both directly — from competing ideologies like ultra-nationalism, jingoistic populism, ”Putinism,” Chinese communism, and violent extremism— as well as indirectly, from the massive challenges posed by climate change, globalization, automation, and resource scarcity. In the spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American president who successfully defended liberal democracy from fascism, communism, and economic depression, the FDR Foundation proposes an aggressive program of education and applied research to safeguard democratic ideals for the 21st century.
The FDR Foundation will begin by illuminating the problem through survey-driven research around the Atlantic region and multi-sector programming at Harvard. We will then partner with some of Harvard’s professional schools (Business, Divinity, Education, Government, Law, Public Health) to develop cross-disciplinary interventions aimed at specific regions and age cohorts.
In Defense of Democracy is the FDR Foundation’s only open-ended program. As of Fall, 2016 we are actively seeking advocates, partners, and co-sponsors.
As part of our continuing Fireside Chat series, FDR Foundation Arts and Humanities Director Marcela Davison Avilés explores the impact of FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy on America’s visual, film, and performing arts and the legacy of the New Deal on American pop culture. Learn about the friendships, influences and intrigue among the major players in FDR’s cabinet and Mexican artists, and the influence of Eleanor Roosevelt on the social justice arts of the day. Are these art lessons of the past worth repeating? Join the conversation and share your views.
October 4th, 7PM in the FDR Suite. Limited to 12 Sign up info HERE
Ambassador David Balton will be at Adams House on Friday September 30 (2pm, Lower Common Room).
Balton is currently Chair of the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials. He graduated from Harvard College (Cabot House) in 1981. His full title is “Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, State Department.” http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/bureau/125942.htm
Balton is especially eager to meet current and future Arctic scholars. He’ll provide a quick tour of the region and the challenges in that region today, but then pivot quickly to what’s next. He’ll likely discuss environmental challenges (from erosion to pollution to climate change), social challenges (poverty, violence, lack of understanding of indigenous by outsiders), and political challenges (non-Arctic states intruding, challenges to sovereign claims).
As First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was an advocate for the poor, civil rights, labor, and other unpopular causes. She lectured and traveled widely, published a daily newspaper column, books, magazine articles and had her own radio program. Remembered today as a humanitarian activist, in her day she was reviled by many. This talk will examine some of the criticism against Eleanor Roosevelt and reflect upon Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president, asking if women who assert power elicit a special kind of invective. Join Adams House Resident Historian and Former Director of the FDR Presidential Library & Museum Dr. Cynthia Koch for this fascinating look at the 2016 election through the lens of one of the most famous women of the 20th century.
Wednesday, September 28 at 7PM in the FDR Suite. Limited to 12
In the wake of so much bloodshed and cultural turmoil here and abroad in recent weeks, I wanted to share with you some cheering news for a change. I just this morning received an email from Farhan Javed ’18 (’of Currier House and Tulsa, Oklahoma) who is studying at the Central Bank of Armenia this summer thanks to the FDR Global Fellowship based at Adams House. The spirit Farhan evinces — a desire to both learn and teach, both to accept and be accepted, and most of all, to explore unexpected intellectual paths and ligatures — is EXACTLY what we have been trying to do with this program. We are so proud to have him as Adams’ (and Harvard’s) face to the world. Please read his email. I think you’ll find it a refreshing tonic to your day.
All best, Michael
These past two months working at the Central Bank here in Armenia have really opened me up to a new world. I’ve had the opportunity to travel up and down the country, from the industrial cities to the forested mountain towns and rural villages. I can sincerely attest to the hospitality of the people here. Wherever I’ve gone, strangers have invited me into their homes, insisted on feeding me, and have constantly pried and questioned if I am ever in need of anything. Armenia is, by global standards, a poor country with institutions and systems that don’t always function as they’re supposed to. But the people honestly have very rich hearts and that has made all the excursions rewarding.