Press Release

Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences Hears Testimony at Miami Forum


National Commission seeks recommendations on role of humanities and social sciences in local communities in preparation for report to Congress

MIAMI – Members of a national commission, charged by Congress to find ways for the United States to maintain national excellence in the humanities and social sciences, are coming to the Miami for a forum with state and local educational, cultural, philanthropic, and business leaders to discuss the vital role of the humanities and social sciences in local communities. Created by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences will be gathering information on best practices, innovations, and ideas to strengthen and promote the humanities and social sciences in communities and neighborhoods across the United States and better understand how they strengthen our daily lives.

The forum will take place on Friday, September 14, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Ave., Room 2106, Miami, Fla.

Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padrón and University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, both members of the Commission, will host the forum. Commission member and former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences President Leslie Berlowitz will also attend the forum.

The goal of the Commission is to claim a space in the national dialogue for the humanities and the social sciences and to recommend specific steps that government, schools and universities, cultural institutions, businesses, and philanthropies can take to support and strengthen these areas of knowledge.

Local leaders who will address the commission include:

  • Gloria Estefan, singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur and humanities advocate
  • Matt Haggman, Program Director, Knight Foundation
  • Ann Henderson, President and CEO, Collins Center for Public Policy
  • Mitchell Kaplan, owner, Books & Books; co-founder, Miami Book Fair International
  • Cathy Leff, Director, The Wolfsonian, Florida International University
  • Faith Mesnekoff, attorney and Chair of the Board of Trustees, History Miami
  • Arva Moore Parks, historian and Director, Coral Gables Museum
  • Raul Rodriguez, founding principal, Rodriguez and Quiroga Architects
  • Javier A. Soto, President and CEO, the Miami Foundation
  • Michael Spring, Director, Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami-Dade County
  • Mihoko Suzuki, Director, Center for the Humanities, University of Miami

The Miami forum is an important part of the Commission’s outreach. Discussion will provide Commission members with a new understanding of how the humanities help build strong and vibrant communities. Similar sessions on the value of the humanities are taking place throughout the country this summer and fall.

“An educated citizenry is the wellspring of a strong democracy,” said American Academy President Berlowitz. “From that citizenry, our leaders emerge. This forum provides an opportunity to focus on how we can ensure that Americans develop the skills and competencies required for full engagement in the international community – the skills and competencies fostered by the humanities and social sciences.”

Prior forums were held at the American Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., at Stanford University in California, and the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. Those gatherings focused on K-12 and lifelong learning, literacy, and cultural economic development; and on international relations and foreign affairs. Commission members will attend future forums scheduled for New York, and North Carolina.

About the American Academy of Arts & Sciences: Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ( is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on the humanities, arts, and education; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs from around the world.




Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

Richard H. Brodhead and John W. Rowe