The Amos Fortune Forum
The 57th Year
  The Life of Amos Fortune | Speakers | Purpose of the Forum | The Committee | Contact

The Amos Fortune Forum lectures are held in the Meetinghouse located in
Historic Jaffrey Center, 2 miles west of downtown Jaffrey, NH.
(directions from MSN)

Fridays Promptly At 8:00 P.M.
There is no charge for admission.


The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity


Charles Lewis speaks of how factsare and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy where government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” in Abraham Lincoln’s words, requires an informed citizenry. But Lewis asks how can “self-governance” work in a representative democracy if citizens don’t actually know the unvarnished truth?
He reports that professional journalists are now outnumbered four-to-one by public relations personnel and that “the people” are being repeatedly lied to by government, by various corporations and by other organizations. He concludes that citizens of this republic hardly ever have access to “real-time truth” about the most egregious abuses of power.

About the new, just-released book by Charles Lewis, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity, veteran muckraker Seymour Hersh says, “If you like straight talk, unvarnished history, and are not interested in being politically correct, this is the book for you.” Former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie says the author “takes no prisoners in a deeply researched exploration of outrageous lying to the public and too- often ineffectual commercial news media by the American government, politicians and corporations.”

Charles Lewis has been a national investigative journalist for over 30 years. A former producer for ABC News and CBS News 60 Minutes, he founded the award- winning Center for Public Integrity and its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the first global network of premier investigative reporters to develop and publish online multimedia exposés across borders. He is the co-author of five Center books including The Buying of the President (1996), The Buying of the Congress (1998), The Buying of the President (2000), The Cheating of America (2001), and The Buying of the President 2004, a New York Times bestseller. He was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, and in 2004, he was given the PEN USA First Amendment award. He is a professor and founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C.


    Medicine in Transition: Moving from “Illness–care” to “Health-care”

One aspect of the Accountable Care Act (ACA) that has garnered relatively little press is the creation of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO). In an ACO, doctors become responsible for managing the health of a population of Medicare beneficiaries and will be eligible for incentive payments if they are successful in keeping their patients healthy and out of the hospital. The creation of the ACO represents a trend toward paying doctors for keeping us healthy - a departure from the current system where doctors only get paid when we are sick.

Transforming our current “illness-care” system into a true “health-care” system represents a huge sea change for the US medical industrial complex. As a physician, medical educator, and health care administrator, David Fairchild will talk about the underpinnings of the current health care system and what changes lie ahead for both patients and physicians as we navigate local and national health care reform.

David Fairchild is Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Senior Vice President for Clinical Integration at UMass Memorial Health Care. He has been practicing as a primary care physician for over 20 years and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. As President of the UMass Memorial Accountable Care Organization, he leads the UMass population health management efforts. He and his family are frequent visitors to Jaffrey where his mother shares a summer cottage near Thorndike Pond with her Woods siblings.



The Arts as Lifeline: Dance, Parkinson’s and Aging Well


In 2001, the Mark Morris Dance Group began a collaboration with the Brooklyn Parkinson Group to develop specialized dance classes so that people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) could explore movement in ways that were refreshing, en-joyable, stimulating, and creative. The program was based on one fundamental premise: professionally-trained dancers are movement experts whose knowledge is useful to persons with PD. What began as a monthly class for eight people has evolved into an internationally-acclaimed global program called Dance for PD®. With affiliated classes in more than 100 communities and 11 countries, the pro- gram provides a beneficial, positive activity for people with Parkinson’s around the world, as well as a model for how the arts can successfully address issues of healthy aging and quality of life in chronic disease.

David Leventhal is a founding teacher and Program Director for Dance for PD®. He leads classes around the world and trains other teachers in the Dance for PD® approach. Along with Olie Westheimer, he is the co-recipient of the 2013 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award from the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. He has chapters about the program in two recently published books: Moving Ideas: Multimodal Learning in Communities and Schools (Peter Lang), and Creating Dance: A Traveler’s Guide (Hampton Press). He serves on the Board of the Global Alliance for Arts and Health. As a dancer, he performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2011, appearing in several principal roles. He received a 2010 Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for his performing career with Mark Morris. He graduated from Brown University with honors in English Literature.

Leventhal will explore the program’s origins and objec- tives, making the case for the role that the arts—and dance in particular—play in helping people maintain a sense of human identity in the face of health challenges. Using Parkinson’s as a case study that reveals entrenched ideas about the efficacy of healthcare, Leventhal will discuss how the artistic and creative elements of dance open doors for a wide range of people who otherwise risk entering a state of permanent medicalization, and how participation in the arts provides a lifeline that allows individuals and families to focus on possibilities rather than limitations. Leventhal’s parents have a home in Dublin.


    Seed of the Future: Yosemite and the National Park Idea

One hundred and fifty years ago, with the Civil War still raging, Abraham Lincoln signed a bill that changed the course of his- tory. A beautiful valley and a grove of giant trees far away in California—which neither the President nor members of Congress had ever seen—were set aside and protected from development. With that, the seed of a new idea was planted. We now take national parks for granted, but until 1864, a country’s most remarkable landscapes had always been the exclusive preserve of royalty and the rich.

The law Lincoln signed to create the “Yosemite Grant” and at first entrust it to the state of California marked the beginning of a new way to consider such special places: that they should belong to everyone and for all time. It was an idea as unique as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical.

Noted author and documentary filmmaker Dayton Dun- can will tell the compelling story of how Yosemite set the national park idea in motion—a story that includes well- known characters like John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, but also a failed prospector from Dublin, New Hampshire, named Galen Clark.

Duncan, who lives in Walpole, has served on the boards of the National Park Foundation, the Student Conservation Association and the Conservation Lands Foundation and was appointed by President Clinton as chair of the American Heritage Rivers Advisory Commission. For more than twenty years he has been making documentaries for PBS with Ken Burns, including The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, for which he won two Emmy awards as writer and producer, and was named by the director of the National Park Service as an Honorary Ranger. His twelfth book, Seed of the Future: Yosemite and the Evolution of the National Park Idea, was recently released by the Yosemite Conservancy.


  August 8 JANE A. DIFLEY
    The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (The Forest Society): Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in New Hampshire

When the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests was founded in 1901, its first goal was the pas- sage of the famous Weeks Act, which made possible the creation of the White Mountain National Forest. Today the WMNF is the “land of many uses” and covers nearly 800,000 acres. Thus began a century of conservation, and the Forest Society quickly turned its attention to an equally iconic landscape, Mount Monadnock, and has since effected the perpetuation of New Hampshire’s forests “through their wise use and complete reservation in places of special scenic beauty” across what is today the second- most forested state in the country. Equally important, New Hampshire residents have imbued themselves with a strong conservation ethic—an ethic that will be much needed going forward to maintain our high quality of life.

Jane A. Difley is President/Forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, only the fourth President/Forester to lead the organization since it was founded in 1901. During her tenure the Forest Society has quadrupled the pace of its forest conservation efforts, protecting an average of more than 5,000 acres annually across the state. She led the creation of the Forest Society’s 25-year strategic plan, New Hampshire Everlasting, which calls for the permanent protection of an additional one million acres by 2026. In 2009 the Forest Society was honored with the National Land Trust Excellence Award from the Land Trust Alliance, and in 2003 with the Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation. Difley was recognized by Keene State College with the President’s Outstanding Woman of New Hampshire Award in 2010 and as one of New Hampshire’s most influential individuals by Business New Hampshire Magazine in 2014.

A licensed forester, Difley worked for ten years at the American Forest Foundation, departing as Vice President of Forestry Programs and National Director of the Ameri- can Tree Farm System. During that time, Difley was the first woman elected President of the Society of American Foresters. Prior to coming to the Forest Society, she was the Executive Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. She holds an MS in Forest Management from the University of Massachusetts and a BA in English from Connecticut College.


    She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World received wide acclaim when it was recently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The photographs in the exhibition and book—made by women with roots in Iran and the Arab world—are themselves a collection of stories. Far removed from the myths and tales of the “Persian” Queen Sheherazade and the “Arabian” One Thousand and One Nights, they are compelling narratives about contemporary life. Ranging in style from fine art to photojournalism, they provide insight into major political and social issues of a part of the world that is historically misrepresented, and often misunderstood.

Curator and author Kristen Gresh will discuss the works by the twelve prominent photographers featured in She Who Tells a Story as well as the behind-the-scenes preparation of the exhibition. The photographs are about the people, landscapes, and cultures of a region in flux—one that cannot be defined in a singular territorial, religious, or ethnic way. Reflecting on the power of politics and the legacy of war, the photographs challenge Western notions about the “Orient,” examine the complexities of identity, and redefine documentary as a genre. With passion and power, they touch on the visible and the invisible, the permissible and the forbidden, the spoken and the silent, and the prosaic and the horrific. She Who Tells a Story is an invitation not only to discover new photography, but to shift perspectives and to open a cultural dialogue that begins with art.

Kristen Gresh is the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Previously, Gresh worked in Paris and Cairo as curator and professor of the history of photography. She has published articles in Études Photographiques and History of Photography and is also a contributor
to publications such as The Photo Diary of John G. Morris (2010) and Getting the Picture: The History & Visual Culture of the News (forthcoming). She earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in the history of photography from the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris. Gresh has long-time family connections in the Monadnock region and grew up coming to Dublin and Peterborough in the summers.



Achieving Equal Citizenship: The struggle to restore our Republic


Most Americans feel disenfranchised from their democracy — and they’re right. In this talk, Professor Lessig outlines precisely how we have lost touch with our framers’ values, and how that has destroyed the promise of a “Republic.” Professor Lessig explains how recent efforts, including the “New Hampshire Rebellion” and MayOne, the “SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs”, are mobilizing citizens to form a movement capable of restoring the Republic that the framers intended.

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Free Culture, and Remix.

Lessig serves on the Boards of Creative Commons, AXA Research Fund and, and on the Advisory Boards of the Sunlight Foundation, the Better Future Project, and Democracy Café. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale. As Professor at Stanford Law School, Lessig founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.



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