The Amos Fortune Forum
The 69th Season

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

Lectures are held on Fridays and begin promptly at 8:00 P.M.

There is no charge for admission.

2015 Schedule


July 10
NICK CAPASSO, Director, Fitchburg Art Museum
Creating a Community-Oriented Art Museum
Photo of Nick Capasso

Nick currently serves as Director of the Fitchburg Art Museum. He was formerly the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA, where he has helped to reposition that institution to identify and forefront its unique asset, the Sculpture Park. Although he specializes in contemporary art, Capasso is working with the Fitchburg Art Museum’s encyclopedic collection. He also brings with him a special expertise in public art.

Nick Capasso will discuss his work at the Fitchburg Art Museum, where he has been charged with revitalizing a previously sleepy regional art museum by re-orienting the institution towards community service. His talk will cover FAM's new exhibition and education programs, the Bilingual Museum Initiative, and creative economy projects: public art, a new downtown cultural district, and affordable artist live/work space.


July 17
JEROME SCHULTZ, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist
NOWHERE TO HIDE: How Stress is Putting the Brains of Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD (and others) at risk and what we can do about it.
Photo of Jerome Schulz

Jerry has provided clinical services, consultation and staff development to hundreds of private and public schools in the US and abroad. He is, most recently, the author of Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD & LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, which examines the role of stress in learning.

He argues that because of their neurocognitive vulnerabilities, children and adolescents with Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD are often exposed to toxic stress that has a deleterious impact on learning, emotions and behavior. He will present research, clinical observations, case studies and anecdotal evidence to explain why children and adolescents with LD and/or ADHD are especially vulnerable to the impact of stress. The inability to deal with failure and frustration has implications not only for students with special needs, but also for children and adolescents who do not bend, but break under academic or social pressure. Neuroscience explains the problem and Jerry offers practical strategies we need to put kids on a path toward better mental health and success.


July 24
REBECCA EATON, OBE, Producer, Masterpiece Theater
MASTERPIECE: Before, During, and After Downton Abbey
Photo of Rebecca Eaton, credit WGBH
Photo Credit: WGBH

Rebecca Eaton will present a behind-the-scenes look at the history (and future) of the iconic PBS series, on the occasion of its 45th Season.

Eaton's honors include 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 15 Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe, and two Academy Award nominations. In 2011 she was one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World".

She has recently written a memoir about her experiences entitled Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!on PBS. She penned the book from her home in Maine, a place she where she has spent nearly every summer of her life.


July 31
ELLEN WIDMER, Wellesley College Professor of East Asian Studies
"Trip toward Tomorrow”: History of Women’s Rights in China
Photo of Ellen Widmer

Shan Shili’s trip of 1903 across Russia via Japan was momentous enough to warrant a full-scale, published version of the diary that chronicles it. Even though the author was accompanied by her husband, the trip symbolized a new mobility for Chinese women after centuries of bound feet and seclusion, hence it accorded with the agenda of reformers to bring China into the modern world. Shan’s keenly observed account mixes delight in breaking barriers with fears of departing from old ways.

The talk introduces this material then goes on to compare Shan with other travelers of this era: A Chinese revolutionary, a Japanese military scout, a British adventurer, and an Indian Brahmin, each of whom traversed some of the same ground.

Ellen Widmer is Mayling Soong Professor of Chinese Studies and Professor of East Asian Studies at Wellesley College. Her specialties include missionaries and literature by Chinese women of the late dynastic period. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College; her M.A. in International Relations and Economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in Chinese Literature.


August 7
PHILLIP KRUGER, Director, Digital Economy Project, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Berlin
Big Data: Transforming Freedom, Security and Business
Photo of Philipp-Krueger

“Big Data” includes extremely large data sets collected from digital and traditional resources that may be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. Its use will force us to transform our ideas about privacy and security at both the personal and corporate levels.

Philipp S. Krüger is Director of the Digital Economy Project at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin where he advises public stakeholders on the implementation of the new "Digital Agenda" policy initiative for Europe. Before that, Philipp advised the Free State of Saxony and the Free State of Bavaria on the creation of regional technology growth investment funds Philipp currently holds appointments at the Tönissteiner Kreis, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, the American Council on Germany, the Milken Institute's Young Leaders Council and the German Center for Research and Innovation. He is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, M.I.T Media Lab and Ludwig-Maximilian-University's Law Faculty and he has held academic appointments as Harvard-Heffner China Fellow and German Government DAAD Fellow for International Organizations. Philipp grew up in Munich, Bavaria.


Aug. 14
SEVERINE FLEMING, Agrarian
A New Economy on the Land
Photo of Severine Fleming

Severine is a farmer, activist, and organizer based in the Champlain Valley of New York. She is founder and director of The Greenhorns, a grassroots cultural organization with the mission to promote, recruit and support a growing movement of young farmers and ranchers in America.

The entering generation of Agrarians has demonstrated a bold vision to build thousands of farm businesses for local food security. We need many more to succeed. Many who try are confounded when they try to find durable land access and tenure. Severine argues that we need to design and enact new frameworks for community land-ownership. All of us benefit from the revival of these farm-steads, and the initiatives of young farmers, orchardists, and dairymen and women. Today, the macro-economy imposes extraction, speculation and degradation of our land, but that will not work tomorrow. How can our water-shed, our food-shed, and the historic cultural landscape inform the new economy we need? How can eaters reconnect meaningfully with both the eco-system and economic system that will sustain the quality of the places we love?


Aug. 21
ERIC MASTERSON, Ornithologist
The migration of Broad-winged Hawks – a ground level perspective
Photo of Eric Masterson

Each September, a Broad-winged Hawk migrates from its summer home in Jaffrey New Hampshire, traveling south along a time-worn route. By the time it reaches southern Mexico three weeks later, it will be one of millions, before crossing into the vastness of the Amazon basin where it will regain its individuality. Eric Masterson will discuss this remarkable phenomenon from a cultural and historical perspective.

Eric Masterson’s interest in birds was spiked in 1978 on a farm in County Wicklow, where he first began to learn some of their life stories. His studies in ornithology continued at University College Dublin, whence he moved to New Hampshire with his wife in 1999. He has since worked in the field of environmental conservation, including at New Hampshire Audubon, the Piscataquog Land Conservancy, and currently at the Harris Center in Hancock. He is the author of Birdwatching in New Hampshire, a comprehensive guide to the occurrence of birds in New Hampshire. He serves on the New Hampshire Rare Bird Committee and is a seasonal editor for the quarterly journal New Hampshire Bird Records.