2016 Speakers

July 29 Susanne Wentzler

“The German refugee crisis, a threat or an opportunity? Reflections from an engaged volunteer”

Susanne Wentzler speaks about her personal experiences when 180 refugees arrived in her small Bavarian village just before Christmas in 2015. She discusses the refugees’ daily struggles to cope with everyday life and the many prejudices they face. She also looks at the larger picture as Germany welcomes the influx of people from different cultures under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of “We will manage.”

For Merkel, Germany has a moral, legal, and humanitarian duty to help provide shelter and security to those seeking asylum. They took in over a million refugees in 2015 alone. The small towns of Bavaria have each received an influx, causing a strain on local resources and a tremendous backlash from conservative politicians and many citizens, including people within her own party. For their part, the refugees are trying to fit in: the children are in school and the parents are trying to learn German and to find work. It is volunteer organizations such as the one Wentzler works for, that are shouldering the burden of helping these refugees find their feet.

August 5 Clay Mitchell

“Renewing Energy: a Clear and New Vision”

Our energy choices have broad impacts on our economy, our environment and our national security. Advances in technology, policy and financing have led to market changes that make renewable energy within reach of individuals, institutions and governments; why then is there so much debate and so much resistance to implementing a clean energy economy?

Clay will share his experience and research into the opportunities and challenges related to a transition to clean energy. Wading through the complex mix of messages and myths associated with energy, Clay will provide insight into why innovation may not be the most-welcome concept for champions of the status quo. Finally, looking forward, a vision for a newly conceived energy system that is democratic and responsive to our goals will be provided for your consideration.

Clay Mitchell is on the faculty at the University of New Hampshire where he teaches sustainable energy and environmental policy and an adjunct Professor at Vermont Law School. Dr. Mitchell is a graduate of VLS where he earned his JD and MSEL in the class of ’96. His Doctorate in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies is from the University of New Hampshire.

Dr. Mitchell has worked with local governments in New Hampshire in the land use planning and energy fields. He has served as a land use planner and attorney throughout the state. Dr. Mitchell has participated at the local and state level in developing projects and policies that contribute to economic sustainability and secure energy resources for clients in the public and private sectors. Dr. Mitchell has served as the Policy Director at the NH Sustainable Energy Association as well as past President of the Board. He sat on the Energy and Environment Advisory Team for NH Gov. Hassan and is the past Chair of the Northeast Combined Heat and Power Initiative Board of Directors.

Clay is Arizona desert-raised and loves hot summer nights.

August 12 Jamie Hamilton

Iqra: Reading the Qur’an

Peterborough’s Jamie L. Hamilton explores the overarching themes of the Qur’an. See if you come to agree with her that America could easily be referred to as a Judeo-­Christian-­Islamic nation, so close we are in our shared values that support dignity, equality, equanimity, peace, community and justice.

Ignorance of the Qur’an, the Holy Scripture for Muslims, diminishes us all. On one hand it’s only a book, so why does it matter whether we understand the Qur’an or not? On the other hand, it’s the Standing Miracle for one fifth of the world’s population and guides their living. Today, too many non ­Muslims accept the jihadist rhetoric that the heinous and murderous acts committed by the terrorists are sanctioned by the Qur’an.

The Rev. Hamilton knows they’re wrong, and she believes that if we’re going to make any progress in our relationships with Muslim ­majority countries, as well as with the Muslim minority in America, we need a fluency in the major themes of the Qur’an. Such an understanding will give us best access in understanding the world view of Muslims. For twenty years, Jamie taught courses in religion, ethics and philosophy at Phillips Exeter Academy, and was the dean in charge of student health and welfare. She was also a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, working with a project regarding “Religious Life in Nonsectarian, Multi­ Religious Educational Settings.”

Ordained in the Episcopal Church since 1991, Jamie was the Priest-­in-­Charge of the summer chapel, Emmanuel, in Dublin, New Hampshire from 1996-­2011. Currently, Jamie is the Rector of All Saints’ Parish in Peterborough, NH, and has a summer home, just around the corner in Jaffrey Center!

August 19 Dan Hurlin

Futurism, puppets and me. A personal look at the Italian Futurists.”

One of the first 20th Century art movements (1909) the Italian Futurists had no less an ambition than to “Reconstruct the Universe.” Characters like F.T. Marinetti, (often called “the Caffeine of Europe”) and painters like Fortunato Depero brought their early machine age sensibility to everything – architecture, painting, poetry, music, cuisine, performance and even puppetry. This talk is a look at the process of researching their work, making a terrific find, and then transforming historical concerns into contemporary art.

Dan Hurlin currently teaches performance art, dance, and puppetry at Sarah Lawrence College, where he also serves as the director of the graduate program in theater. Twice a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, he is the recipient of a 2002 fellowship in choreography from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, a 2004 Alpert Award in the Arts for theater, the 2008 United States Artists Prudential Fellowship in theater, and the 2013/14 Jesse Howard Junior Rome Prize Fellowship in visual art at the American Academy in Rome. Hurlin’s theater and puppetry work has received the OBIE Award, the New York Dance and Performance Award (also known as a “Bessie”), and the UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionette) Citation of Excellence. Dan is best known locally for his creative work as a teaching artist with Andy’s Summer Playhouse in Wilton where he began Andy’s tradition of innovative theater performed by children.

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