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Who Are We Here With?

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

The term "rally" translates to, "to muster for a common purpose" or, "to come together again to renew an effort". At the moment, we are each being asked, in one form or another, to practice it. While we savor the last few weeks of summertime, we wanted to reach out to you from Palm Beach to detail the Coudert Institute's version of digging deep in order to honor our mission of staying engaged through meaningful conversation and connection.

As many of you may have read in a recent front page article in the Palm Beach Daily News, entitled, Sweeping Job Losses Hit Cultural Sector, the lingering pandemic is forcing many of Palm Beach County's treasured cultural groups to dramatically reduce their staff. Job losses are sweeping our county’s cultural sector especially now as the federal Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan program has expired. Despite these challenging times, we have managed to preserve our staff and remain on task building an enriching season filled with powerful programming. As we do so, we can assure you that we are taking every health and safety precaution moving forward in developing our 2021 season.  

Daily, medical professionals and medical journals trumpet the deep imprint that this extended period of self-isolation is continuing to make in terms of our personal well being. Using the utmost caution in planning our 2021 season, we are committed to soothing some of this fatigue. The Coudert Institute is unique in that we remain a fairly compact community. This truth should largely allow us to resume our boutique-style in person gatherings. In addition to wearing masks and practicing social distancing, for our next season we will cap our attendance and host our events in over-sized settings, allowing us to safely distance from one another yet still enjoy some aspects of human connection. We also look forward to continuing to offer our musical programming outdoors, in the gardens, as much as possible. And, for those of you who may prefer to join us from afar, we hope to have much of our content available for remote consumption.

Among the host of visionaries we will (safely) welcome next season is New York Times best-selling author and ecologist Dr. Carl Safina. Dr. Safina has spent a lifetime exploring how humans are changing the living world, and what those changes mean for wild places and for human and other beings. Widely praised, as illustrated in the (below) New York Times quote, His work connects broad scientific understanding with a moral call to action. Dr. Safina's writing has won the MacArthur “genius” prize; Pew and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and the National Academies; and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. In addition, he hosted the 10-part PBS series, Saving the Ocean With Carl SafinaHe holds the Endowed Chair for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University and is founder of the not-for-profit Safina Center.

Dr. Safina is a terrific writer, majestic and puckish in equal measure, with a contagious enthusiasm. . . . He draws out haunting resonances between animal lives and our own. . . Captivating.

Dr. Safina's most recent book is Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace. Becoming Wild offers a glimpse into cultures among non-human animals through looks at the lives of individuals in different present-day animal societies. By showing how others teach and learn, its pages offer a fresh understanding of what is constantly going on beyond humanity and helps inform the answer to that most urgent of questions: Who are we here with?

Who are we here with? It's a wonderful (and timely) probe that we look forward to unpacking together again, with you, in our 2021 season!

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