The Brennan Center

Hello, all. As you know, the Coudert Institute invites informed, engaging speakers to Palm Beach to spark lively intellectual discussions. Last Wednesday, January 25, we featured two speakers from the Brennan Center for Justice. The event was a great success, and I wanted to share some information about the event and the Brennan Center with those of you who couldn’t make it.

The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to protect and improve the systems of democracy and justice. Michael Waldman, the President of the Brennan Center, spoke eloquently about the serious threats to our democratic system in 2017 and the Brennan Center’s work fighting for reform. The Brennan Center fiercely protects voting rights, and now faces dramatically increased efforts expected from Congress, the Trump Administration and a wave of states to restrict eligible citizens from the right to vote. The egregious practice of partisan gerrymandering also denies voters a meaningful vote: the Center’s team works with leading litigators around the nation in a coordinated effort to curb the practice in cases now headed to the Supreme Court. At the same time, the Center will draw on growing public outcry on big money’s outsized role in politics to push forward innovative reform and longer-term constitutional change to erode and eventually reverse Citizens United.  

Matthew Menendez, counsel at the Brennan Center, discussed state court systems, which handle the vast majority of cases in our country, and how they are failing to meet their charge of providing fair and impartial justice for all. The selection of judges through elections places pressure on judges to curry favor with the lawyers and frequent litigators who largely bankroll judicial elections. Rather than funding the judiciary through general tax revenue, we increasingly rely on fees and fines levied on criminal justice defendants. These people are largely economically disadvantaged and disproportionately of color, and funding our courts this way is both unjust and economically inefficient. Fixing the system of fees and fines is crucial to alleviating our country’s mass incarceration crisis. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Brennan Center, I encourage you to visit their website, where you can sign up for their newsletters. They are also a non-profit that depends on individuals and philanthropic foundations for their work. I’m sure they’d greatly appreciate any support. The Brennan Center’s donation page can be found here.

Best regards,


Palm Beach Social Diary

In case you missed it, the home of The Coudert Institute founder, Dale Coudert, was featured, along with our event, in the New York Social Diary. Check out the photos below and the entire article here.

Original resident of the home, Orator Woodward, appeared alongside Coudert Institute members below and interior and exterior designers.

Original resident of the home, Orator Woodward, appeared alongside Coudert Institute members below and interior and exterior designers.

To Our Esteemed Members

I want to thank all of you personally for your support in making our 2015 season a smashing success.

As in the past I am striving to bring some of the most interesting and knowledgeable speakers to our membership along with a potpourri of interesting topics.

We have been busy this summer organizing a calendar for 2016 season. Some speakers we have already secured and there are others we are still speaking with.

Our 2016 season schedule is here, and here are a few highlights

 ·       Thursday, January 7th, 2016. Speaker Dr. Ralph Nurnberger, Ph.D., professor of International Relations at Georgetown University, on “Making Sense of the Senseless Middle East.”  

·       Thursday, January 21st, 2016. Speaker Ben Brody, photographer and documentarian of the Afghanistan conflict with Speaker Ret. Major General Ronald Silverman, Commander 3rd Medical Command and Task Force 3 in Iraq, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, and many more commendations.

·       February 17th, 2016 we will discuss Sports as a means of bringing communities together with ACE award finalist for Best Sports Documentary Ira Berkow, sports writer for the New York Times.  In 2001 he shared the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. 

·       Monday, February 29th, 2015. Spend time with us in “An English Garden”.  Campion Platt, interior designer and architect and Keith Williams, recipient ASLA Award of Honor, 2013 in landscape architecture will share their ideas for the future.

March 24th, 2016 we have a very special evening planned. Our cabaret evening will be in memory of Confrey Phillips and Muriel Siebert. This is going to an evening of dining, dancing and entertainment. We are working hard on securing a venue and would be for the first time we are planning to put together a committee to oversee this wonderful undertaking.

Save the dates March 10, April 4 and 28, details to be announced.  

I look forward to seeing you this season!


Dale Coudert

Founder and Chairman



A Special Remembrance to Our Friend Confrey Phillips

Confrey Phillips was as close to jazz royalty that one could get. Known as the swinging bandleader of English high society, he shared his talent with all in the Palm Beach area.

His 60 plus career was fueled by his love of music and his won outgoing personality.

Phillips was born in 1928 in Goa, India. Not exactly a place that you would think would produce a jazz musician that loved American music. His boogie-woogie version of Humoresque won him a piano contest.

After moving to England, he paid his dues like any other musician. But talent will always prevail. One night Ava Gardner to tapped him on his should, loved his style and the Confrey Phillips Trio took off. For many years Phillips was the main attraction at the Lanesborough Hotel in Hyde Park Corner in their exclusive cabaret room.  He was to London what Bobby Short was to New York  and became to Palm Beach one of the most beloved entertainers.

Success doesn’t not come easy and when Rock n’ Roll took off, the trio was doomed. But Phillips had the smarts and tenacity to reinvent him self again.

He builds himself as England’s society bandleader and courtesy of Princess Margaret,  received an invitation to Clarence House where he and Danny Kaye entertained the Queen Mother.

After that he was a shooting star. His talent catapulted him into playing private parties for the queen at Buckingham Palace.

In 1996 he relocated to Palm Beach, FL and his joy of music and infectious love of entertaining made him an instant success. He was a constant at the Sailfish Club, the Everglades Club and The Breakers Hotel.

Edwina Sandys, Palm Beach reconnected with Phillips some years go and remained a special friend throughout his life.

Phillips lived his life with a joie de vivre. His elegance and decorum was known through out Palm Beach.

Sadly the Institute lost a dear friend and supporter on June 18th, 2015 while visiting London. This is a man we will not say farewell to, but remember affectionately for many years to come.

His love of music will see us through.


2015 Season & Survey

Dale Coudert with John Loring

Dale Coudert with John Loring

It has been a wonderful spring 2015 season and your support has been the most important part of the Coudert Institute achieving this.

Now that the season is over I am attaching a survey that is an important part for us to go forward into the fall 2015 and the spring 2016 season. Your input is a valuable tool in our exploration of new and exciting lectures and conversations.

The Coudert Institute prides itself on constant evolving programs that are timely. There are times when we will not know the entire 2016 season’s program until later in year. This occurs because current affairs and political events, along with the most informative and timely speakers are just occurring as we approach 2016.

Please take a moment to complete the attached survey and e-mail it back to the institute. If you have any ideas, suggestion for future programs please let us know.

We also invite everyone to stay connected with us through social media. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Again, I want to thank you for all your support and look forward to a great new season

Dale Coudert
Founder & Chairman


The 2015 Season

Welcome to our 2015 season. This year promises to be the best ever.  Speakers that are scheduled are bringing to Palm Beach a variety of subjects that I feel will entice and excite.

Dale Coudert with pianist Alexander Beridze

Dale Coudert with pianist Alexander Beridze

As we concluded the 2014 season, the Coudert Institute with the support and underwriting of Barbara and Gerald Hines (Texas), Mary and Irwin Ackerman (Palm Beach and Connecticut) along with the New York Foundation for the Arts presented on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 concert pianist Alexander Beridze  in the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall.

Alexander was brought to this country and mentored by Vladimir Feltsman, one of the greatest pianist of the 20th and 21st century. The Coudert Institute awarded a multi-year scholarship to Alexander to study music with some of the best pianists in the country at the Aspen Music Festival.  He is a Gold Medalist of the 2009 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and founder and artistic director of the New York Piano Festival, he has performed at the Rice University's Shepherd School of Music.

His performance at Carnegie Hall was critically acclaimed to a sellout audience. This event has set the tone for our upcoming season. Mark your calendar for a special performance on Feb 12, 2015 here in Palm Beach.

Kicking off the season in January is the first time the Institute is collaborating with The Harvard Club of the Palm Beaches on January 15th featuring Alexandra Vacroux, Director of the Davis Center for Russian & Eurasian Studies and Simon Saradzhyan, research fellow at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Asst. Director of U.S. –Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. Both will be leading a discussion on Understanding Russia Today: Foreign and Domestic Policy. This extraordinary lecture will be held at The Colony Hotel, 155 Hammon Avenue, Palm Beach.

Next on January 29th in conjunction with the Liman Gallery we will focus our attention on what to know about authentication, provenance, fakes and fraud.  Our speaker Dr. Sharon Flescher, Executive Director of IFAR (International Foundation for Arts Research - The only non-profit serving individuals and institutions world-wide with educate and inform.) Join us for delightful afternoon.

As always annual members are free, non-members can make their reservations by call (561) 659-6161 or explore this website. Please follow us on our social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, linked on this website.

 It is your annual membership that supports the institute and allows us to continue to bring to the Palm Beaches a diversity of distinguished personalities. 

Stay tuned for updates monthly and join the conversation. What you have to say is important to us.

-Dale Coudert

A Mecca for Creative Thinkers

A Mecca for Creative Thinkers

Food For Thought
The Coudert Institute’s “Lunch & Learn” Lecture Series
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, January 18, 2014

 "Today China" Professor Jerome Cohen's subject at the Coudert Institutes' Lecture and Learnseries which was open to the public 

Dale Coudert is a powerhouse…. She has a vision and a mission: all she wants to do is change Palm Beach from a culture of glitterati and trivia into a haven for transforming minds. (Think: The Aspen Institute). Her non-profit Coudert Institute offers culture and intellect in a refined, intimate setting, whether in her glorious Addison Mizner garden, her eclectic living room, the glamorous Sail Fish Club, the Royal Poinciana Chapel or the meeting room of the Palm Beach Synagogue… It’s not the setting that matters; it’s the content.

This is Dale’s 10th year of providing culture to Palm Beach audiences… Her series started this past November and runs through March. I unfortunately missed the first two lectures. Upon arrival in Palm Beach, my first Coudert experience was an enchanting twilight concert in her garden presented by three gifted young performers playing a mixed program of classic and contemporary music. It was magical, watching the sun set and the moon rise, all the while listening to beautiful music.

Coudert Institute’s “Lunch & Learn” lecture series is open to the public. …This past Wednesday, I heard a brilliant presentation by Professor Jerome Cohen on “China Today”. Professor Cohen is the undisputed expert on East Asian Law; he was the director of East Asian Studies at Harvard Law School from 1964 – 1979 and is currently a professor at NYU and co-author of China Today.

Professor Jerome Cohen addressing the “Lunch & Learn” lecture series

Professor Cohen read the riot act to us. China is a Colossal that posses real present and future problems that cannot be ignored and worse of all, are mostly beyond our control. Scary stuff without redemption.

Professor Cohen's “to watch list”

TAIWAN – The mainland Chinese want it back and won’t give up till they get it. It’s a delicate balancing act… the present Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-Jeou, has sagaciously negotiated eighteen agreements with The People’s Republic of China. That is placating them… temporarily at least… But if push comes to shove… we’ll be square in the middle of it with our Taiwan Relations Act Commitment to defend Taiwan..

Taiwan presents a dilemma for the Mainland… it is often said that a Confucius society is not equipped to handle democracy…yet Taiwan is a vibrant democracy, functioning with a widely diverse political party system. This is a direct threat to China’s Capitalist Communism. Taiwan is an energetic free society that deserves more attention than the NY Times gives it.

CHINA vs. JAPAN both are belligerent proud nations that have a deep-rooted hatred toward each other. Stubborn Nationalism enflames the rhetoric between these two great powers… The dispute over a pile of five rocks sticking out of the East China Sea, someplace between the Mainland and Japan, is a flash-point that can erupt into gunfire at anytime if the two parties don’t back off… again, our defense commitments to Japan could drag us into an unwanted mess even though we claim to be neutral.

EAST CHINA SEA washes the shores of South Korea while the SOUTH CHINA SEA lies between the Philippines and the Mainland. Both South Korea and the Philippines are our allies and as a reward have defense treaties with us. China is encroaching on their territory, sea and air space and claiming strategic portions as their own… dangerous stuff.

NORTH KOREA (yuck) a possibly failing country with atomic bombs in the cellar and making maximum political use of them… they are as much China’s problem as ours… but they are strategically and historically in China’s orbit. Unfortunately our diplomatic policy toward them has been too rigid and narrowly-focused ever since President Clinton’s initiative at the end of his administration in 2000… a policy immediately discarded by Bush and then Obama… North Korea is an impoverished nation desperate for foreign investments, but lacks the savvy to attract it. We know that commerce is a door opener to better relationships.

AIR AND WATER POLLUTION – FOOD, MINERAL & WATER SHORTAGES – MINORITIES - GOVERNANCE all issues haunting the new Chinese regime… perhaps even too big for their new powerful leadership to solve. China has a population of 1,351 billion mouths to feed and govern… it is a vast, diverse country with severe problems with Tibetans and Uyghurs… its political structure is riddled with corruption, starting at the local and provincial level is and permeating upward through its society… too powerful and influential to wipe out. Current attempts are serious but limited, aimed mostly at the enemies of the current leaders. The entrenched upper middle-class, who are the beneficiaries of this corruption will not let go easily… if ever… Pollution will take generations to fix… food shortages are already apparent…

EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE also know as EEZ a 200 mile protected area of limited national jurisdiction… this is intended to protect fishing rights, oil exploration and undefined other commercial rights – China interprets this as also excluding military aviation and naval reconnaisance without its permission, long a flash point with the USA. We are challenging them with continuing incursions since we believe the law of the sea supports our interpretation, as it appears to.

SOUTH CHINA SEA also washes the shores of Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia… all important to our political and economic interests… and then there is India… a behemoth ready to defend its interests against China, in  a region definitely warranting watching.

There is an institution called the International Court of Justice where disputes can be brought and judiciously settled, providing both disputants are willing to abide by its ruling. China doesn’t recognize the court's compulsory jurisdiction… but then again we haven’t signed onto it either… so it’s a feeble tool of justice.

Do you remember the debacle of a young blind man and people’s advocate being arrested and tortured in his back-woods farming community and then successfully making a dramatic escape and finally finding refuge in the American Embassy? (to the utter embarrassment of our Country and jeopardizing Hillary Clinton’s official visit to Beijing)  It became a “cause celeb” threatening vital relationships between our two countries… Whom did they turn to - to diffuse the crisis? Jerome Cohen, who cunningly Got Mr. Chen Guangcheng invited to NYU’s Law School and then legally squired him and his family out of China… Bravo Professor!