Press Release

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Hosts Forum on the Humanities and Social Sciences at Missouri History Museum


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

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – 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 Missouri History Museum for a forum with state and local 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 7, 2012 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum; 5700 Lindell Boulevard; St. Louis, Mo.

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.

“An educated citizenry is the wellspring of a strong democracy,” said Leslie C. Berlowitz, President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “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.”

Professor Gerald Early, a member of the Commission, and Professor of Modern Letters and Director of the Center for the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, will host the forum.

The St. Louis 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.

State and local leaders who will address the commission include:

  • Geoff Giglierano, executive director, Missouri Humanities Council
  • Marilu Knode, director, Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis
  • Waller McGuire, executive director, St. Louis Public Library
  • Timothy O'Leary, general director, Opera Theater of Saint Louis
  • David Carl Wilson, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Webster University, St. Louis
  • Gloria L. Taylor, founder and CEO, Community Women Against Hardship, St. Louis
  • Carol North, artistic director, Metro Theater Company, St. Louis
  • Diane Touliatos, director, Center for the Humanities, University of Missouri – St. Louis
  • Chief Glenna Wallace, Eastern Shawness Tribe, Oklahoma
  • Lesley Barker, director, Bolduc House Museum, St. Genevieve, MO
  • Aldemaro Romero, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
  • Crosby Kemper III, executive director, Kansas City Public Library
  • Jessica Hentoff, artistic/executive Director, Circus Harmony/Circus Day Foundation, St. Louis

Prior forums were held at the American Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. and at Stanford University in California. 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 Miami, 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