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Forward Fest public conversation series concludes as part of A Year of Forward Thinking

June 14, 2021 2:39 p.m.

Forward Fest is a virtual public conversation series that aims to spark dialogue across the global Princeton community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and other interested thinkers — to engage with and explore big ideas and their infinite possibilities for shaping the future. The concluding Forward Fest takes place June 16 and focuses on bringing together themes from throughout the  series.

Princeton’s Forward Fest — a virtual public conversation series and a monthly highlight of the University’s yearlong A Year of Forward Thinking community engagement campaign — will conclude with its final installment on Wednesday, June 16, at 4 p.m. The program will capture alumni and faculty voices to synthesize some of the themes and ideas brought forth during the campaign.

Over the course of A Year of Forward Thinking, Princeton researchers and alumni have shared the ideas that are transforming their fields. While previous sessions in the online Forward Fest series have focused on one particular topic or issue, this final installment, “Thinking Forward: Bringing Themes Together,” is designed to give participants the opportunity to revisit some of the topics in light of the rapidly changing global landscape and in concert with other themes. Viewers will get a deep dive into Princeton’s interdisciplinary academic and research ecosystem.

Those who RSVP now will have the opportunity to join a private Zoom session to speak live with the participants as part of the program, get updates on other forward-thinking content, and receive a reminder before the Forward Fest begins.

Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith, a 2021 alumna, Class Day co-chair and recently named Young Alumni Trustee, will serve as moderator for the live discussion at 4 p.m. June 16. Forward Fest is free and open to the public. All programming will be livestreamed on the Forward Fest website and on the University’s YouTube channel.

Morgan Smith, a 2021 alumna, Class Day Committee co-chair and recently named Young Alumni Trustee, will serve as host of the live-streamed program.

"As a new alumna, Forward Fest is a brilliant reminder that I'll always have access to cutting-edge curiosity and thinking as a member of the Princeton community,” Smith said. “I am so excited to participate in this final installment, which is really just a distillation of an amazing series."

Gathering a range of voices, Forward Fest aims to spark dialogue across the global Princeton community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and other interested thinkers — to engage with and explore big ideas and their infinite possibilities for shaping the future.

The June 16 program features presentations by four Princeton faculty across a range of academic departments and centers.

Forward Fest events are free and open to the public. All programming will be livestreamed on the Forward Fest website and on the University's YouTube channel. Registration is not required, but attendees can RSVP to receive a resource guide, event updates, and the opportunity to join the private Zoom meeting for the discussion. Captioning will be available for all sessions. After the event, all programming will be viewable on the University’s YouTube channel.

Previous Forward Fest events have focused on public health, justice and the 2020 election; the promise and peril of data science and artificial intelligence; the arts and humanities; equity in education; alumni “forward thinkers” on resilience and exploration; bioengineering; and the environment. View all the sessions on Princeton’s YouTube channel and download accompanying resource guides for each theme on the festival site.

June 16 programming highlights: Bringing Themes Together

Moderator Morgan Smith will be joined by four Forward Thinkers in short interview segments.

  • Allison Carruth, professor of American studies and the High Meadows Environmental Institute, discusses how storytelling is vital to connecting society with global environmental issues and an orientation of action.
  • After joining the Forward Fest series in October, Celine Gounder, a 1997 graduate who has served as a medical adviser to the Biden-Harris administration since October 2020, will return to talk about how far we have come with response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what is next for public health and the state of our Union.
  • Eric Gregory, director of the Humanities Council, professor of religion and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, considers the role of the humanities in times of upheaval and uncertainty and how a humanistic look at a question such as “What do we owe one another?” can provide historical and contemporary insight on how society works. 
  • Laurence Ralph, professor of anthropology and co-director of the Center on Transnational Policing, will reflect on the progress made in the area of social justice and U.S. policing since he appeared with the series in October and what still needs to be done.
Carruth, Gounder, Gregory, Ralph
Speakers for the virtual June 16 event include: Allison Carruth (left), professor of American studies and the High Meadows Environmental Institute;  Céline Gounder, a 1997 graduate who has served as a medical adviser to the Biden-Harris administration since October 2020; Eric Gregory, director of the Humanities Council, professor of religion and the director of the Program in Humanistic Studies; and Laurence Ralph, professor of anthropology and co-director of Princeton's Center on Transnational Policing.

Learn more about A Year of Forward Thinking and Forward Fest on the website. Watch a video about A Year of Forward Thinking. Engage on social media with the hashtags #PrincetonForward, #ForwardThinkers and #ForwardFest, and follow Princeton University and Princeton Alumni on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.