GivingTuesday Thank You Banner 2018

#GivingTuesday is a global day of celebration to kick off the season of giving!

The Chautauqua community again joined individuals, families and organizations from all 50 states and in countries around the world on November 27 to support and champion the collective gifts we share in community with one another… gifts of artistic expression, lifelong learning, multi-generational experiences, and treasured moments that lift up the best of human values.

Every act of generosity counts, and each means more when we give together. On #GivingTuesday, millions of people gave to something they love. Everyone has something to give…. Monetary donations large or small, simple acts of kindness, and your active participation in the life of Chautauqua are all meaningful.

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Grand Prize Drawing Winner Announced

As a special thank you for participating in #CHQGivingTuesday, anyone who made a gift to the Chautauqua Fund on November 27—of any size—was entered to win a $100 CHQ gift card and gift basket.

Thank you to all who contributed, and congratulations to Alan Seale!


How can you get involved on #GivingTuesday?

  • Join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for messages from familiar CHQ faces and the chance to win fun prizes! Use the hashtag #CHQGivingTuesday.

  • Make a gift to the 2018 Chautauqua Fund on November 27 by donating securely online or by phone at (716) 357-6404. Gifts of all sizes are appreciated!

  • Many companies match employee charitable donations (even if you have retired!), so reach out to your HR department and see if your gift can keep giving.

Chautauqua’s Athenaeum Hotel and most private rentals are taking reservations for the 2019 season:

Email me 2019 season news & announcements

Interfaith Engagement

Recognizing the moral imperative of fostering deeper, more meaningful dialogue among people of different faith traditions, Chautauqua continues programs throughout 2019 that engage religious leaders and communities in public and private dialogue. We continue to build upon Chautauqua’s historic convening power and 20-year Abrahamic Program, and its growing role as a lived interfaith community, with perennial work that brings leaders and scholars into conversation — with one another and with the broader community — and challenges us all toward interfaith learning and understanding.

Week One :: June 22–29

Moments that Changed the World

How did we get to now? The answers may surprise you. In this week, Chautauqua asks five historians to each choose a little-known moment when the ground shifted beneath humanity’s feet, and examine how those moments impacted the world of today.

  • We look at unsung heroes — and villains — as well as unsung moments that altered the course of history.
  • History often offers surprises, revealing how and why certain stories are obscured, erased or lesser-known.
  • How can those surprises be instructive? How can our newfound knowledge of these moments be useful in our time?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Religious Moments that Changed the World

Religion is a human construct that has been evolving since humans began pondering the meaning of life and its purpose, asking questions of origin and destiny, with varying responses creating differing trajectories. In this week the Interfaith Lecture Series presents historians of the world’s religions who will shine a light on “moments” in various traditions that have impacted both the world and the evolution of religion.

Week Two :: June 29–July 6

Uncommon Ground: Communities Working Toward Solutions

In an age of divisive posturing at the national level, are communities uniquely positioned to come together on the toughest issues, to find a way forward for the common good? We recognize the role of communities in effecting real change, and present a solutions-focused week of power and promise.

  • Each day, we highlight case studies of communities at work, finding sustainable solutions to society’s most pressing problems.
  • What conditions must exist for community stakeholders to engage one another, and who needs to be at the table? What’s possible when there isn’t a shared sense of community? Do differences need to be bridged in order for solutions to be found and sustained?

Program Sponsor:

Erie Insurance Logo

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Common Good Change Agents

At times when the world seems conflicted, humanity continues to find ways to be its best advocate toward its highest aspirations. In this week we welcome examples of change agents who are recognizing needs and responding in life-enhancing ways to actualize their hearts’ best intentions for the common good — and leading by powerful example.

Week Three :: July 6–13

A Planet in Balance: A Week in Partnership with National Geographic Society

In response to a rapidly changing planet, National Geographic is leveraging its legacy of exploration, innovation and vibrant storytelling to further solutions. From funding cutting-edge technologies to leading advancements in science communication, we’ll uncover how National Geographic is using 21st-century tools to shape the future of exploration and to address the greatest challenge our world has ever faced.

  • The week opens with a look at the status of the planet, and how the most advanced conservation technology is being deployed to show how nature and culture are changing in real time.
  • We study how exploration and the communication of science work in tandem to protect the environment so that all species have a shot at survival.
  • Next, we travel to Earth’s last wild places to learn about the efforts to protect and restore those habitats before it’s too late.
  • We examine life in the planet’s extreme environments, and seek clues offered there for surviving the impact of the changes we are facing.
  • Finally, we explore our own choices and discover how we can reduce our human footprint.

Week Three also features the CHQ Olympics

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Interfaith Lecture Theme :: What Archaeology Tells Us about Biblical Times

Christians and all peoples of the world are drawn to the Biblical sites in Israel, tracking the historical Jesus. These sites are not only vibrant centers of pilgrimage and faith, but monuments of archeological significance as well. Through their recent work in Israel, which they titled “The Search for the Real Jesus,” National Geographic, for example, has discovered a way to help us see that the scientific and the spiritual can and do coexist.

Week Four :: July 13–20

The New Map of Life: How Longer Lives are Changing the World — A Week in Collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity

Do we really want to live forever? While being “forever young” may still be the stuff of dreams, longer lifespans are a reality of modern life. Living to 110 years old — at least — means new challenges for both individuals and society; how we meet those challenges will have lasting ramifications.

  • What issues do longer lifespans present? We examine the political, the financial, the biological, the emotional.
  • Where the scientific meets the ethical, we ask: We can live longer, but should we? Will longer lives exacerbate existing inequities?
  • This isn’t a question for future generations — this is a question for us, right now. How are you going to adapt in this changing reality?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Falling Upward: A Week with Richard Rohr, OFM

During a week focused on the increasing life span of human beings, Fr. Richard Rohr will be our guide to what he calls the “further journey,” a voyage into the mystery and beauty of healthy spiritual maturity. Revisiting thoughts from his book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, Fr. Richard helps us to understand the tasks of the two halves of life and teaches us that what looks like “falling down” can largely be experienced as "falling upward."

Week Five :: July 20–27

The Life of the Spoken Word

As consumers, creators and critics, we are experiencing a renaissance of the spoken word. We join together the history and modernity of compelling oratory to explore broader themes of social and intergenerational connectedness and the ways that our speech, our stories, bring us together.

  • The week begins with “This American Life” host and storyteller extraordinaire Ira Glass, in a Saturday evening Amphitheater special.
  • From political rhetoric and civil discourse, to the arts of theater and poetry, to podcasts and stories told around the campfire, what is the power of the spoken word?
  • Throughout the week, as we look to the future of the spoken word, we present ways to use technology to preserve our past, our history, our stories.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Chautauqua: Rising from the Ashes of the Burned-Over District

We refer often to Chautauqua’s beginnings in 1874 and its history going forward, but little-known is the history that preceded Chautauqua’s founding. The Chautauqua Assembly reflected many movements that had had their genesis in what was called the “Burned-Over District” resulting from the “on fire” religious environment and culture of the early 19th century in Western New York. The Assembly synthesized the religious passion of the age with its own unique contributions to American culture, as did other religious and civic expressions of the region arising out of that epoch. In this week we will revisit that incendiary era, and then meet some other religious and civic entities that have also stood the test of time.

Week Six :: July 27–August 3

What’s Funny?

In Partnership with the National Comedy Center

Come learn and laugh with us as Chautauqua Institution again partners with the National Comedy Center for a week exploring how comedy changes us and, in turn, society.

  • Comedy can do more than hold up a mirror to our world; it can, in fact, change it. We look at the potential of comedy — particularly political comedy — to change minds and influence decision-making.
  • Among the topics to explore are: What does your sense of humor reveal about you? How can we be challenged by things we don’t find funny?
  • We look at the challenging intersection of free speech, political correctness, and humor, and what we can learn from that uncomfortable space.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: What's So Funny About Religion?

Even religion can have its less serious side, and in this week we will look for a lighter, smiling way to lift one’s heart and mind in the human enterprise that tends to take life and its meaning and purpose very seriously. Building upon our 2018 week on “The Spirituality of Play,” we will use words to play and to discover that seeing the humorous side of religion is a delightful way of joyfully leading the human to the divine. Be prepared to smile!

Week Seven :: August 3–10

Grace: A Celebration of Extraordinary Gifts — A Week in Partnership with Krista Tippett and “On Being”

Be it emotional, physical or spiritual, grace takes many forms. It exists in the way we treat one another, the way in which we move through the world, and the way in which we use our gifts, our grace, to lift up others.

  • Grace, as defined by religious terms, is the means by which we receive an unearned gift, one we’re not worthy of. Beyond religion, what does grace look like in the secular world?
  • When is grace difficult? In talking across differences? In compromise? In the face of adversity? We look at the moments in which grace is most needed.
  • How can we go out into the world, actively moving with more grace throughout our own lives?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :Grace: A Celebration of Extraordinary Gifts

There are many ways of defining or explaining the idea of Grace. Grace is thought to be something we receive, something we give, something we are, and something we do. In this week we will hear stories from four traditions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Humanism – exploring how each tradition perceives, interprets, and lives Grace.

Week Eight :: August 10–17

Shifting Global Power

Power is shifting on the international stage. It always has been. In this week we focus on the geopolitical hot-spots of the moment, examining the new holders, and even the new definitions, of global power.

  • Each day, we explore one topic or definition of power, and identify the major players in that arena.
  • How is power even defined, beyond money and military might? Is it natural resources, technology, education, diplomacy and aid, culture?
  • As power shifts, so too do identities and values. Are there ways power ought to shift?

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Soft Power

Power is often conflated with might, but increasingly faith traditions are promoting new paradigms for conflict transformation, understanding, and collaboration through shared visions and ideals, restorative practices, relationship-building, and rituals – all the components of soft power. In this week we will learn from those who are utilizing soft power for global peacemaking, reconciliation, and quality of life. 

Week Nine :: August 17–25

Exploring Race and Culture in America with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center

The intersection of race and culture creates a unique vibrancy to American democracy, often channeling and challenging the ugly effects of racism, bigotry and inequality, past and present. In this week, we examine the different ways that race and culture shape and enrich our society, and how being responsible consumers of culture, regardless of our different backgrounds and tastes, matters to who we are as citizens and as an American community. We open and close the week with renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who explores race and culture as a testing ground for the principles of American democracy.

Week Nine also features the third annual Chautauqua Food Festival on Bestor Plaza

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Interfaith Lecture Theme :
: Exploring Race, Religion, and Culture

It has been observed that racism is one of the most disturbing of historical cultural phenomena – speciously scientific, privileging some, and denying value to segments of the world’s populations. This week will explore how racism became enculturated, and will look for ethical realities, understanding, and cultural healing.


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Week One :: June 24 – July 1


Invention is a way to pinpoint what we value, and we look to men and women throughout history, around the world, who challenged the status quo by what they thought, saw and created. As we celebrate the evolution of humanity, we explore what’s next and how we’ll achieve it.

  • What are the conditions — within society and within ourselves — that make invention possible?
  • Are we in the last age of American invention?
  • What do we need for humanity’s next “giant leap” in our lifetime?
  • Are there ethical and legal limits to be placed on human curiosity?


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Inventing God? A Brief History of Religions 

The search for meaning and imagining the Source of Life are among the hallmarks of being human.  Calling this Source by many names in different ages and among all peoples has inspired ever-evolving ways of knowing and experiencing It, including looking within ourselves.  In this week we will consider both the traditional and the newer ways that the religious imagination has conceptualized our experience of the Holy. 


 View All Week One Events


Week Two :: July 1 - July 8

The Human Journey: Origins, Exploration and Preservation
In Partnership with National Geographic

As a species, as communities, and as individuals, we have altered our physical world, with both beneficial and devastating effects. From our earliest history, humanity’s movement across the globe—driven by survival and curiosity—has impacted our environment. With such exploration also comes a greater understanding of our relationship to the planet. From the depths of the ocean to the plains of Africa, humans are searching for ways to make positive change and help protect the ecosystems and species that contribute to our essential biodiversity on Earth. During this week, in partnership with National Geographic and a renowned team of explorers, scientists and journalists, we look at our past, present and future impact on the planet.


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Celebrating the Genius and Soul of a Nation 

Alexis de Tocqueville said, "The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." Today, global and national events challenge us to initiate introspection, self-analysis, and repair, all while celebrating the greatness of our democracy.  In this week of observing our nation’s birthday we will seek to discern the genius and soul of the nation, and ask how they may be authentically embodied and celebrated.


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Week Three :: July 8 – July 15

A Crisis of Faith?

For decades, Chautauqua Institution has brought people of different faiths – and no faith – together for civil, enlightening dialogue. Building on that work, this week we dive even deeper into questions of identity, religion and community. Pew Research Center reports that religions are undergoing dramatic change: a decline in mainstream Christianity and practicing Judaism, demographic shifts pointing toward a growing Muslim population, and more young people than ever who claim no affiliation with any organized religion. Some detect crisis amidst these changes, but in this week we look to the possibilities. What impacts do shifting religious norms mean for other aspects of public life? How are churches reinventing themselves as moral centers of the communities they serve? Together, we imagine the future of faith and of religion as we have come to know it.



Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Crisis of Faith? 

For decades, Chautauqua Institution has brought people of different faiths – and no faith – together for civil, enlightening dialogue. Building on that work, this week we dive even deeper into questions of identity, religion and community. Major research organizations such as Pew Research Center and PRRI report that religions are undergoing dramatic change: a decline in mainstream Christianity and practicing Judaism, demographic shifts pointing toward a growing Muslim population, and more young people than ever who claim no affiliation with any organized religion. Some detect crisis amidst these changes, but in this week we look to the possibilities. What impacts do shifting religious norms mean for other aspects of public life? How are churches reinventing themselves as moral centers of the communities they serve? Together, we imagine the future of faith and of religion as we have come to know it.


View All Week Three Events


Week Four :: July 15 – July 22

Geopolitics Today:

A Partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies

For more than 50 years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies has worked to develop practical solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. From the economics of energy and climate change, to international security in the age of terrorism, CSIS and its experts bring the issues of the world to CHQ’s doorstep.


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Religion and Statecraft Today: The Soft Power of Global Peacemaking 

Across the global community a shared consciousness is arising that can guide us towards a sustainable, healthy, and peaceful earth for humans and for all living beings.  Increasingly, interfaith traditions are promoting new paradigms for conflict transformation, understanding, and collaboration through promising practices, rituals, visions, and ideals.  In this we week will learn from organizations and individuals who are exploring and practicing these emerging paradigms for global peacemaking, reconciliation, and enhancing the quality of life. 


View All Week Four Events


Week Five :: July 22 – July 29

The Supreme Court: At a Tipping Point?

President Donald J. Trump is likely to nominate several justices to the Supreme Court, shaping the future of our country and, in particular, how we govern ourselves for decades to come.

  • What impact have presidential appointments to the Court had on major Court decisions?
  • What potential appointments are looming in the 45th president’s first term, and what impact can those appointments have on major cases before the Court?
  • How has the balance of power among the three branches of government changed throughout the Court’s history?


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Supreme Court and Religious Communities: Holding America Accountable? 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that “The conscience of the country must be both the Supreme Court and the Religious Communities.”  How are these, as well as other civil entities, informing the moral compass of the nation today?  In this week we will seek to discern how our social conscience is faring.



View All Week Five Events


Week Six :: July 29 – August 5

Comedy and the Human Condition:

In Partnership with the National Comedy Center

We partner with the National Comedy Center — the first cultural institution and national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy, under construction now in nearby Jamestown, New York — for a week that engages both the mind and the funny bone.

  • We’ll explore the politics of comedy and political satire — comedy often serves as our greatest mirror, a unique conduit of truth.
  • We venture into the writers’ room for insight into the craft of comedy for television and film.
  • We travel the globe to see if there is such a thing as “universally funny”
  • When has a joke gone too far? We consider issues of free speech and ask, “Is there such a thing as too offensive?”


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Spiritual Power of Humor

Many religions tell stories in which ‘the gods laughed.’  In the Hebrew Scriptures Abraham and Sarah named their only son Isaac – meaning ‘she or he laughs,’ because of Sarah’s improbable advanced age to be giving birth – and Buddhism often depicts the Buddha laughing.  In this week we will look at the power of humor to create in-sight and healing of the spirit.


View All Week Six Events 


Week Seven :: August 5 – August 12

The Nature of Fear

Now more than ever, fear dominates us in ways we may not even be aware of — in politics, in advertising, in media. In this week, we grapple with recognizing fear and what it does to us.

  • What is the history of fear as a political tool and how effectively has it been used to shape our politics?
  • We examine fear’s effect on the brain and how fear has been shaped by evolution.
  • How and why does fear work in persuading, motivating and manipulating us?
  • We look at what it means to seek out that which scares us, from Grimm’s Fairy Tales and ghost stories to rollercoasters and haunted houses.


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Spirituality in an Age of Anxiety 

Theologians have begun calling the time in which we are living ‘The Age of Anxiety,’ and describing an immersion in an ocean of fear and insecurity. In this week we will strive to identify the presenting causes of anxiety in our times, and in previous times, and to discern what secularists, religions, and spiritual modalities can offer as antidotes.


View All Week Seven Events 


Week Eight :: August 12 – August 19

Media and the News: Ethics in the Digital Age

Program Sponsor:
GrantThornton logo web
The creative disruption of traditional media is bringing about a crisis in local journalism and changing the role of journalists in a changing America. In this age of information overload, who and what do we trust and how do we become smarter news consumers?

  • How is data journalism bridging tradition and innovation to provide a deeper understanding of our world?
  • Do emerging business models aimed at “saving” news organizations threaten journalistic independence?
  • In the age of podcasting, where do we draw the line between information and entertainment? What are the challenges of a reporter becoming part of the story?


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Media, News, and Ethics in the Digital Age

The world community now experiences a 24/7 barrage of news and information that penetrates all aspects of the world’s culture – indeed, that not only shapes commerce, consumerism, and world affairs, but also permeates the private sphere.  What are the ethical obligations of information consumers?  Of the community?  What are the ethics of reporting and advocacy?  How does the citizen discern truth and make ethical choices in the face of Big Data and big distortions?  In this week we will ask how to stay afloat in the flood of information-overload. 

View All Week Eight Events


Week Nine :: August 19 – August 27

At the Table: Our Changing Relationship with Food

The way we interact with our food is changing, from fast food to farm-to-table. Food is tied to our well-being, our sense of community. Joined by world-renowned chefs, leading food journalists, and other experts, we look at the value of food across the socioeconomic spectrum and learn what it is about our meals that bring us together. During this week, our celebration of food moves beyond the Amphitheater stage to several venues throughout the CHQ grounds, with cooking demonstrations, food fairs, master classes and much more.


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Food and Faith

Eating is essential for life, but it is so much more.  All cultures have developed rituals around food and eating that shape the life patterns and rhythms of family and communal life, and religions also utilize food for spiritual nourishment in sacred meals, religious dictums for self-discipline, and for the formation of communal identity.  This week will be a rich and full exploration into the relationship between food and faith.


CHQ FoodFestival logo color web

Chautauqua Food Festival

From Aug. 20 to 25, Bestor Plaza will come alive with delicious food, craft beverages and entertainment during the Chautauqua Food Festival.

Learn more


 View All Week Nine Events

The following was published on Page 3 of the spring 2016 Chautauquan.

Following eight months of analysis, consultation and community engagement, Chautauqua Institution’s Board of Trustees at its May 7 meeting accepted recommendations from its Nominating and Governance Committee designed to improve and expand its practices of good governance and to increase opportunities for input from the CHQ community.

These actions respond to a motion passed at the August 2015 annual meeting of the Chautauqua Corporation. In that motion, Corporation members asked Chautauqua Institution’s Board of Trustees to consider amending the Corporation’s bylaws to provide for open meetings of the Board of Trustees and to consider additional ways to provide the community with greater transparency about the work of the Board and its proceedings. At its August 2015 meeting, the Board referred the motion to the Nominating and Governance Committee for review and recommendation.

“As Trustees of Chautauqua Institution, we take our fiduciary responsibilities very seriously. Philosophically, we are committed to being as inclusive and transparent as practical within the framework of best practices for not-for-profit governance,” wrote James A. Pardo, Jr., Chair of the Board, in a February letter to Corporation members. “We recognize that the Board must represent the interests of the Institution and everyone the Institution serves — Corporation members and all other stakeholders who benefit from and participate in its mission-driven program. This is in keeping with our CHQ values.”

Analysis & Action on Open Meetings

Beginning in September 2015, the Nominating and Governance Committee conducted an internal and external review, including a legal assessment and a detailed analysis of the transparency and engagement practices in place at CHQ.

As part of its work, the Committee consulted 22 individual experts and organizations — including various not-for-profit corporations, arts organizations, homeowners’ associations, colleges, not-for-profit administrators and other Chautauquas — to understand better the practice of open meetings in the not-for-profit sector.

The Committee reported to the full Board at its November 2015 meeting and again in greater detail at its February 2016 meeting. Its findings included that:

• Nearly all of the organizations contacted — not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporations like Chautauqua Institution — do not hold open meetings, do not plan to do so, and do not recommend it;

• The leadership of 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporations believe (some based on experience) that open meetings would stifle discussion and creative problem-solving among trustees, limit the ability of the corporation to recruit qualified members to its board, and potentially politicize the governance process; and

• Some who were contacted and interviewed cite as an example the current era of social media and how posts, e-newsletters and tweets — instant and sometimes out of context — can quickly negate the intent of open meetings.

Experts and consultants to not-for-profit entities provided similar counsel. Combined with the legal opinion that Chautauqua’s Board is not required by law to hold open meetings, the results of the Committee’s due diligence led its members to recommend that the Board continue its current meeting policy. That conclusion was communicated to the CHQ community in a Feb. 23, 2016, letter from the Board’s Chair.

Expanding Practices of Good Governance

In response to the second part of the Corporation members’ motion, the Nominating and Governance Committee also recommended, and the Trustees at their February 2016 meeting agreed, to re-evaluate, expand, and re-imagine current community engagement practices and to look for additional ways to provide more transparency regarding the Board’s work at Chautauqua Institution.

The Committee once again, this time joined by the four Corporation-elected Trustees, conducted dozens of interviews with community stakeholders — including property owners, one-week visitors, denominational house representatives, leaders of and participants in community volunteer groups, open meetings advocates and off-grounds Chautauquans — to understand their involvement in CHQ and their ideas and recommendations for enhanced transparency and engagement with the Board and its process.

The group’s findings, presented at the May 7 Board of Trustees meeting, included:

• A strong reiteration of the Trustees’ commitment to enhanced engagement with the community and best practices in not-for-profit governance, particularly around critical matters that from time to time come to the Board for consideration;

• Noting that there currently exist a variety of opportunities for the community to engage with the Trustees in public and private settings, but that some times and places for events (such as the Trustee Open Forums and the weekly Hultquist porch chats) are inconveniently scheduled for some community members;

• Recognizing that the community does not, in a broad sense, know who the Trustees are or how the Trustees arrive at the Board table; and

• Some community stakeholders would like additional opportunities to gain insights into the governance process and have timely and regular opportunities for input into issues that come before the Board for discussion, consideration, or decision.

Based on these findings, the Committee proposed to the Trustees a series of recommendations that ensure the community has access to current information about Trustees and the Trustee nominating processes and that give the community additional opportunities to have input into the work of the Board:

Enhanced Transparency and Information Sharing

• Board meeting agenda: Beginning with the August 2016 meetings, the Board will work with the Institution to post a preliminary, draft agenda or list of topics that likely will be covered at the upcoming Board meeting. This will occur as soon as the agenda is close to finalized and, ideally, not later than two weeks prior to the meeting.

• Board meeting minutes: Beginning with the May 2016 meeting, the Board will work with the Institution to post a draft of the Board minutes approximately two weeks after the meeting, even though at that point in time the minutes will not yet have been approved by the Board (which in the ordinary course will not occur until the next regularly scheduled meeting). Where not otherwise contained in the actual minutes, a summary of key decisions also will be posted.

• The Board will work with the Institution to introduce an enhanced Board of Trustees’ webpage prior to the 2016 season that will include:

  • Trustee biographies, photos and terms of service.
  • Relocation of the Trustee email address to a more visible location on the website to encourage community input directly to the trustees.
  • Information about the Class A Trustee nomination process, including how members of the Community might propose individuals to the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee for consideration as future members of the Board of Trustees.
  • Information about the Class B Trustee nomination process.

Additional Opportunities for Trustee Engagement

• The Board will work with the Institution in an attempt (subject to the availability of suitable times and venues) to move the Trustee Open Forums to different dates and/or times to allow for greater community participation during the 2016 season

  • Trustees will host the first two porch chats this season in a different format — these will be trustee-led and focused on a strategic topic of importance to the community. Again, subject to the availability of suitable times and venues, these two initial porch chats will be moved from the traditional 9:30 a.m. Wednesday Hultquist Porch time and location to different dates, times and locations to allow for greater community participation. These will be more discussion-oriented sessions with the community and provide opportunities for input directly to the Trustees. Depending on community response, these sessions may be continued in future seasons or be tweaked with a goal of more direct Trustee and community engagement.
  • The remaining porch chats during the 2016 season will be continue to be held on the Hultquist porch as in prior years and will follow the traditional staff-driven format, but subject to the availability of suitable times and dates the porch chats will be shifted on the calendar to allow for more community member attendance.

• The Trustees plan to attend more events this season including CPOA picnics and other similar community events.

• Our Board Chair will hold weekly open office hours during the 2016 season (tentatively scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Film Room at the Welcome Center) that will be open to any Chautauquan to come and discuss with the Chair any topic.

• Our Board Chair once again has offered this season to meet with any interested stakeholder groups and, subject to scheduling, to continue his informal, ad hoc “coffee in the morning or ice cream in the afternoon” meetings with individual Chautauquans.

These recommendations were adopted by the Board of Trustees at its May meeting with the plan to implement them as proposed. Look for more information on dates, times and places in The Chautauquan Daily this season.

“Throughout this comprehensive process, the Trustees were mindful of the programmatic mission of Chautauqua Institution, and the role of community in the expression of that mission,” Pardo said. “The Board believes that CHQ’s governance structure works well in supporting our mission, and, further, has set the stage for our continued success in sustaining and improving the Institution together — financially, operationally and physically. We welcome community engagement as we work together on the stewardship of this singular place.”

Chautauqua’s Athenaeum Hotel and most private rentals are taking reservations for the 2018 season:

• Visit

• Visit or call 1-800-821-1881


Interfaith Engagement

Recognizing the moral imperative of fostering deeper, more meaningful dialogue among people of different faith traditions, Chautauqua launches a series of programs throughout 2018 that engage religious leaders and communities in public and private dialogue. We build upon Chautauqua’s historic convening power and 20-year Abrahamic Program, and its growing role as a lived interfaith community, with multi-year work that brings leaders and scholars into conversation — with one another and with the broader community — and challenges us all toward interfaith learning and understanding.

Week One :: June 23–30

The Life of the Written Word

Language is a living and dynamic thing, passed along through writing. Words and the act of writing can erase or reclaim history, identity. We write to communicate our truths, and we read to understand, to gain new perspectives, new knowledge and new empathy. For these reasons, the literary arts find themselves at the forefront of cultural, political, and artistic conversations in the U.S. and around the world. As the line between writer and reader is blurred, we recognize that human beings are storytellers as well as story readers. In this weeklong festival, Chautauqua builds upon its traditions as a literary community, and we hold up the power of language and pledge to be responsible stewards of that power.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Producing a Living Faith Today?

Who is God in a world that has been shaped by Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Freud and Einstein? What does the Bible really say? How do you deal with the supernatural in a non-supernatural world? If God is all-powerful, why is there suffering? What does resurrection mean? What does it mean to be raised into God? Christianity is bound up with these questions, and these are the questions to be raised in this week guided by John Shelby Spong, former Episcopal bishop of Newark.

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Week Two :: June 30–July 7

American Identity

Who are we as Americans? Everyone has their own definition of the American identity, and most agree it’s being lost. A recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 71 percent of Americans feel the United States is losing its national identity — that is, the beliefs and values the country represents. During this week, we reach across the aisles of both politics and faith. We examine how we’ve defined American identity throughout our history and the stories we’ve told to shape that identity; the political, economic and social factors that shape our contemporary definitions; and what these different national identities — at times in conflict with one another — mean for our democracy and the prosperity of all Americans. We’ll consider whether a new foundation of American identity is necessary — or even possible.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Religion and American Identity

Religion has played a significant role in the evolution of an America identity. This week we will examine the role that religion has played in the development of that identity. Why is it that America continues to be the most religious nation in the developed world? How have various “moments” in American religious history shaped how America understands itself? We will begin with current data that will help us to know better who we have become, and who we are becoming.

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Week Three :: July 7–14

The Art of Play

Play is critically important in the social and emotional development of a child, but research also tells us that play shouldn’t end when we grow up. This week, we take a multigenerational approach to play, to the act of instructive fun. How does play help people of all ages build community, keep our minds sharp and strengthen the relationships with those we love? From the free-spirited, free-form play of youth to the intellectual challenge of puzzles and games to the creative problem-solving exhibited in board rooms, we examine the science behind the importance of play, the changing culture of play and gaming, and the innovative work aimed at improving our personal and professional lives through play.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Spirituality of Play

For Jews and Christians the notion of Sabbath is inscribed in the heart of the Ten Commandments and, therefore, in the heart of both religions — but how is this commandment differently understood and observed by each? How do we utilize the discipline of “taking a Sabbath day” to make space in an over-scheduled world? Why does this commandment insist on keeping the Sabbath Day holy — and how does one do that? How do faith traditions other than Judaism and Christianity relate to play? In this week we will discover that play is a necessary component of being human, and, perhaps, that play is therefore holy.

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Week Four :: July 14–21

Russia and the West

A quarter-century has passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union — and the promise of new relationship with the West — yet we find ourselves at what some consider the brink of a new Cold War. What has happened to damage relations between Russia and the West over 25 years, how have power dynamics changed in the age of digital and information warfare, and what must we understand about the recent history of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its relationship with the West and the world? Building upon the work of the Chautauqua Conferences on U.S.-Soviet Relations of the 1980s and 1990s, we reaffirm our need for a deeper cultural understanding of Russia, its history and its people.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Russia and Its Soul

Described by the West for decades as ‘Godless Russia,’ post-Soviet Russia has revealed that it had never actually lost its soul. In what multiple ways is this resurrected religiosity being manifested, and what else is it gradually releasing? In this week we journey into the broad heart of the Russian people.

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Week Five :: July 21–28

The Ethics of Dissent

If dissent is the “highest form of patriotism,” at what point does dissent become harmful subversion? How does the First Amendment color the American debate on this subject, and what about other countries where these protections are nonexistent or less explicit? Is violence ever justified, and, if so, at what cost? In this week, we’ll examine the obligations of active citizens and cultural critics, look at the role dissent has played in the development of democracy and a muscular civic dialogue, and consider how dissent has changed — in the forms it takes, how it is responded to, and the rules by which society allows or prohibits it.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Ethics of Dissent

When one is dissenting in the public realm, morally, what can one do, what must one do, what must one not do? In what circumstances (ever?) does the end justify the means? When trying to change minds about something, what must never be violated, what line must never be crossed? In this week we will seek to discern what an effective “ethics of dissent” can look like.

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Week Six :: July 28–August 4

The Changing Nature of Work

The state of work in America exists in contradictions. Wealth creation is up, but the per-capita GDP is stagnating. Working-class wages have been flat for decades, but the “gig economy” is booming. This week we study the nature of work in this country, examining the future of automation, the changing role of labor unions, the identity politics of the working classes, and the disappearing line in work-life balance. We look across generations and social classes, seeking to find who we are in a culture that ties identity to the jobs we hold, and reclaiming and honoring the dignity of work.

Program Sponsor:

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Interfaith Lecture Theme :: A Spirituality of Work

Judaism and Christianity, as well as other faith traditions, espouse various perspectives regarding the nature of work. What are the practices and disciplines within religions which foster an understanding of work as inherently spiritual? Does the American spirit of rugged individualism help or hurt in understanding our relationship to work? Why do Americans seem to overly identify with their jobs? Why does “What do you do?” almost immediately follow asking someone their name? Why do people (and especially men) often experience a spiritual crisis upon retirement and the ending of “work” as a focus of their lives? Does economic inequality or wealth associated with work impact us spiritually? This week will strive to help us uncover the spiritual nature of our working lives.

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Week Seven :: August 4–11

The Arts and Global Understanding: A Week Featuring the Silkroad Ensemble, Culminating with the Silkroad Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Art can create a culture; it can cross borders; it can sing of possibility. In this week of performances, lectures and workshops led and influenced by the work of The Silkroad Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, we focus on the role of art — particularly music — in a culture, with an eye toward cross-cultural collaboration and global understanding. We explore and celebrate cultures different than our own; we examine critically the path of good intentions leading from cultural tourism to cultural appropriation; and we look for ways that earnest understanding and a shared loved of our art and each other can perhaps change the world. The Silkroad Ensemble opens the week’s lecture platform exploring the notions of home through distinct traditions and personal stories, and continues its Chautauqua residency with master classes and performances. The week culminates with a morning presentation and evening performance by renowned cellist and Silkroad Ensemble founder Yo-Yo Ma.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Let Them Eat Cake?  Defining the Future of Religious Freedom in the U.S.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, in which a Colorado baker refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding, claiming it violated his right to practice his religion, will have been announced in June 2018. That decision will set the trajectory of the American religious world for years to come, defining the constitutional understanding of First Amendment protections for religious liberty, and determining its limits as balanced against other rights. We will explore both sides of the argument presented at the Supreme Court, and seek to understand the Court’s ruling and how it will impact religion in the future.

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Week Eight :: August 11–18

The Forgotten: History and Memory in the 21st Century

It is said that those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it. So we look to that history, and to the communities, movements and ideas existing at the fringes in our world today. What do we forget, at our own peril? How can we be stewards of remembering, and what must we remember? We are responsible for the histories of our societies, our families, and of our own individual selves. How can we preserve, honor, and ultimately learn from what was and what is? This meeting of the past and present hinges upon what — and who — we must remember.


Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Not to Be Forgotten: A Remembrance on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this 50th anniversary year of his assassination we honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What have we forgotten about the messages taught by Dr. King in the 1960s? What did we fail to learn about race in America, at our own peril? Why do current day Americans love to quote from the “early King” and “I Have a Dream,” but steer away from Dr. King’s later understandings about the intersection of race, war and poverty? Let us remember, at this time in our history, in order that we might truly begin to live his dream.

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Week Nine :: August 18–26

Documentary Film as Facilitator: Storytelling, Influence and Civil Discourse
A Chautauqua Film and Food Festival

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With crowdsourcing, social media campaigns and new distribution channels, films aimed at effecting social and cultural change have found audiences unlike any time in the history of the art form. But how do we measure the impact of such films — from changing minds to changing policy? To close the 2018 season, filmmakers and film lovers gather for a weeklong festival featuring screenings and conversations in venues throughout the grounds, all alongside the Institution’s renowned lecture and arts programs. We consider the filmmaker’s role and intentions as artist, storyteller, journalist, advocate and activist; the business decisions that influence the distribution and marketing campaigns behind such films; and the effectiveness of films to create empathy — and prompt action — in its audiences.

Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Intersection of Cinema and Religious Values

Religious values continue to be a potent influence in the minds of young, contemporary filmmakers in modern America. How have these filmmakers navigated the difficult and sensitive waters of religion to bring these films to the screen? What effects are these films having? In this week we will witness the power of the visual narrative to change hearts and minds.

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