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The Magic of Conversation

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

"In a democracy... people have to talk." In his two day seminar, titled American Democracy Today and the Future, Dr. Bill Cook reminded us of this charge made by the french nobleman and political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville back in the 1800s. This timeless notion is precisely what fueled our drive to deliver a 2021 season - to see that the show went on, despite the world's chaos. Gatherings of minds matter, perhaps now more than ever, and history continues to illustrate that such conversations start a ripple.

Culture is our way of understanding who we are. Culture answers the question, "HOW DO WE LIVE HERE?"

Embracing technology and sampling a brand new location at The Ben Hotel in West Palm Beach, we began our season by joining together, in the company of a dynamic panel of renowned political journalists, on the eve of one of our nation's most significant elections. That launching point led us into the timely exploration of what diplomatic relations might look like between the United States and the Middle East under the new (incoming) administration. As we welcomed the start of 2021, The Institute went on to tackle topics such as international spying, smart eating, de Tocqueville, memoir, time and the future of digital currency in the fine art markets. We partnered with our friends the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation to present the ecologist and author and "one of the most important voices for nature of our time" Carl Safina as he reminded us of the profound depth of beauty of the living world, and cautioned us of its current state of peril.

Author Susan Cheever opened her March presentation, which focused on "genius clusters", by praising the magic of "incidental conversations" and the resilience they offered to her personally throughout this most uncertain of times. "To me, one of the things I've learned in this past year is the importance of community, the importance of our friends, and especially the magic of conversation." We could not agree more, and this "magic" is the pillar on which the Coudert Institute continues to rest. On behalf of The Institute and its Board of Directors, we are beyond grateful to Susan and to all of our presenters, many of whom who traveled here to Palm Beach in order to share their wisdom and power our season forward:

MARGARET CARLSON, ELEANOR CLIFT, STEVE CLEMONS, ALVIN FELZENBERG, KIRSTEN FONTENROSE, KEITH MELTON, CHEF ALLEN CAMPBELL, MYLES LUDWIG, CARL SAFINA, DR. BILL COOK, ERIC WIND, MICHAEL GREENBERG, SUSAN CHEEVER Whether in person (at a social distance), or remotely via technology, to each of you who joined us in our mission to soldier on and continue to converse civilly on subjects at the forefront... THANK YOU! Thank you for your unwavering support and for your patience as we navigated new frontiers in technology. Most importantly, thank you for sharing your curiosity and your open mind(s) in our shared promise of perhaps seeing things in some new ways, despite the tumult that was 2020 - 2021. As always, we welcome your feedback and your input as we begin to build our programming for next year. We invite you to revisit the rich conversations and experiences of our 2021 season throughout the summer by visiting our video archives HERE.

We look forward to welcoming EVERYONE back in our 2022 season, and to reintroducing our world class musical programming outdoors in the beautiful garden. Stay safe, and see you next season!

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