Friday, September 2, 2016

Kent Presents

The Kent School campus was the setting for "Kent Presents."
Friday, September 2, 2016. Labor Day Weekend, end of Summer. Yesterday in New York we had some light showers intermittanly throughout the day, and remaining overcast, with temps dropping into the 70s by late afternoon-- which is what the forecasters are predicting for this last holiday weekend of the summer.

In March of 2015 I had lunch at Michael’s restaurant with Daisy Soros and Ben and Donna Rosen. Daisy had wanted to introduce us because the Rosens were developing a special project for the following August, to take place in Litchfield County where they have a country house.  They called it “Kent Presents.”

It is not an original project but rather one that has existed successfully elsewhere in the United States. Their objective with it was thus: “Sharing and disseminating great ideas, and supporting local charities that serve people in need.”
Early this past month, they held their second Annual Kent Presents and from all reports, it was a  resounding success. There were 43 sessions that addressed topics on Art, China, Cuba, Economics, 2016 Election, Energy, Environment, Food, Global Affairs, Health Care, Literature, Middle East, National Affairs, Performing Arts, Racial Divide, Russia, The Supreme Court, Science, Sports, Technology, Women's Issues and more.

Our peripatetic friend Sharon Hoge attended this year’s weekend, and filed the following report:

KENT PRESENTS: Where Is Putin Taking Russia?  Should College Athletes Be Paid? When Is a Painting Overcooked?  What Hath the Food Movement Wrought?   -- Those were just a few of the diverse  topics tackled by panels and participants at this year's second annual Kent Presents, an ideas festival held for three days this month on the campus of Kent School in northwest Connecticut. 
The Kent School campus.
Gathering from as far away as Santa Fe, Phoenix, Hobe Sound, New Orleans, Minnesota, those attending had the opportunity to hear from a range of acclaimed world diplomats, scientists, doctors, professors, authors, museum directors innovators,  journalists --Nobel Prize Winners Harold Varmus, David Baltimore, Henry Kissinger, former ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Jack Matlock, J.Stapleton Roy, Christopher Hill. 

In sessions held in the school's auditorium and classrooms, scientist Kip Thorne described how his LIGO Project confirmed Einstein's theory of the existence of gravitational waves; former head of British Secret Intelligence (M16) Sir Richard Dearlove discussed balancing liberty and security and the "Unknown King of Comedy;" Andrew Bergman revealed details of working with Marlon Brando. With three topics each in seven sessions per day, the dilemma for participants was choosing among the wealth of subjects.    
A discussion of non-profit theater held in a Kent School lecture hall.
Boston Dynamics demonstrates skills of Maxwell the robot.
Kent resident co-founders Ben and Donna Rosen organized the festival to disseminate great ideas and to help local charitable organizations serve people in need.  Last year the annual budgets of over 26 local charitable organizations were boosted with funds raised at the festival. Benefits extend to local businesses which this year hosted an open house Arts Night at the festival's close. Within a few weeks, broadcasts of the sessions will be posted on for "virtual" attendees.
Author and Aspen Institute Director Walter Isaacson moderated panels on artificial intelligence and gravitational waves. Nobel laureate Harold Varmus.
Author and moderator Frank Delaney.
Ann Reynolds and Barbara Georgescue.
Anne Bass.
Anne Fuchs.
Boston consultant Arya Tafvizi.
Broadcaster John Donovan.
Brooke Berlind.
District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. led a panel.
Donald Connery, Ambassador Jack Matlock, and Rebecca Matlock.
Ellen Stiteler, Abbey Rosenwald, and Linda Dishy.
Faye Wattleton led a panel on Feminism's Challenges in the 21st Century.
Flora Biddle and Agnes Gund.
Henry Kissinger at the book sigining table.
Jill Spalding and Jay Harris.
John and Nancy Novograd.
Journalist playwright Michael Kramer and aurhot Frank Delaney.
Kent Presents co-founders Ben and Donna Rosen and Kent School headmaster Richard Schell.
LIGO scientist Kip Thorne, Nancy Coffey, and Co-founder Ben Rosen.
Merle Ginsberg.
Michele Gerber Klein and Irene Zelinsky.
Minnesotan Brad Radichel and realtor Peter Klemm.
Nancy Kissinger.
Norman Sunshine and Alan Shayne.
Peter and Leni May.
Phoebe and MET Museum Director Thomas Campbell.
Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis.
Realtor Carolyn Klemm.
Saundra Whitney, Jacquie Garrett, Lynda Richards, Patricia Specter, and Barbara Tober.
Ted Chapin.
Vera Blinken and Ambassador Donald Blinken.
Security advisor Frances Townsend and former M16 chief Sir Richard Dearlove in an after-panel breakout session.

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