Keynote: Oskar Eustis
Moderator: Laura Flanders
Panelists: Mohsin Mohi Ud Din, Ruchira Gupta, Arturo O’Farrill, Cristal Chanelle Truscott
Closing performanceStaceyann ChinMartha RedboneWallace Michael Shawn, and Shawn Touriz, a student from Maxine Greene High School for Imaginative Inquiry. The performance will be narrated by Anthony Arnove from Voices of A People’s History of the United States

“Agents of Change in an Interdependent World” offers a new and updated view of the concept of “interdependence” for our times. Through a keynote address, a moderated panel discussion, and a performance, activists and leaders will address the importance of what the late scholar Ben Barber coined “interdependency” in the light of current circumstances. The circumstances we are living in suggest connecting not only ‘’globally,” but also across other pressing, emerging, threatening barriers as well.

Our speakers represent the new and inspiring ways in which the arts, culture, and creativity in particular are giving voice to a new generation of activism. They include visionaries, but also the individuals and emerging groups among us who are creating new alliances for change–including some people who aren’t normally thought of as activists. A common thread uniting them all is the conviction that the arts offer a unique way of connecting, of breaking down walls, and inspiring change. Through performance, visual arts, and new media, artists and activists bring together individuals and communities in our interdependent world and tackle some of its most pressing challenges.

By hearing the voices of those who are actually doing the work, we hope to inspire our audience with new models of change and promote new connections among an emerging interdependent community.

Held weekly every Monday at 6:30pm during the academic terms, SKIRBALL TALKS hosts visionaries from the worlds of politics, the arts, sciences, academia, and more. This event is free and open to the public.

PLEASE READ IN FULL REGARDING SEAT RESERVATIONS: RSVP does not guarantee a ticket. You can begin picking up tickets at the NYU Box Office (566 LaGuardia Pl) 2 hours prior to event. Even if you have picked up a ticket, please be aware that if you are not seated in the theater by 6:20pm, we will be opening up the theater to people in standby line. Tickets must be claimed by 6:10 pm. Unclaimed tickets will be released to those on the standby line.

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Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of the Public Theater.  Before joining The Public in 2005, he was Artistic Director at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI, Associate Artistic Director at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, and Artistic Director with the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco.  He has taught at NYU, UCLA, Middlebury College, and Brown University, where he founded and chaired the Trinity Rep/Brown University Consortium for professional theater training.

Laura Flanders, a best-selling author and broadcaster, is host of “The Laura Flanders Show,” a TV and radio program which serves as an online channel for in-depth conversations with forward-thinking people who have real experience of shifting power, from the few to the many, in the worlds of arts, entrepreneurship and politics. She is a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! magazine (“Commonomics”). She was the founding host of Your Call, on public radio, KALW, and CounterSpin, the nationally-syndicated radio program from the mediawatch group FAIR.

Ruchira Gupta, CEO and founder of the anti-trafficking organization Apne Aap, which serves more than 20,000 at risk and prostituted girls and women and their family members. She is a journalist, social justice activist, and feminist campaigner, has been a visiting professor at NYU and Distinguished Scholar at University of California, Berkeley.

Arturo O’Farrill, Artistic Director and founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music.  He is a pianist, composer, and educator who recently organized the program Fandango At the Wall which featured 50 artists who came together in performance on both sides of the border barrier at San Diego / Tijuana.

Mohsin Mohi Ud Din, CEO and founder of #MeWe International Inc., which leverages the science of storytelling and communications as a tool for healing, building resilience, and community-building particularly in refugee communities.

Cristal Chanelle Truscott, Artistic Director of Progress Theatre.  Currently a visiting progressor at George Washington University, she is an artist, scholar, educator, dialogue facilitator.  As a playwright, she blends academic and pop-culture conversations to examine the concerns and struggles of our times.

Anthony Arnove is a producer, writer, and editor. In 2007, Arnove and Howard Zinn cofounded Voices of a People’s History of the United States, a non-profit arts, education, and social justice organization. He wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Howard Zinn, and co-edited with Zinn the book Voices of a People’s History of the United States.

Staceyann Chin is a highly respected spoken-word poetperforming artist and LGBT rights political activist. In 2009, Chin performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn‘s A People’s History of the United States.

Martha Redbone is an American blues and soul singer of part CherokeeChoctawEuropean and African-American descent. Her music is a mix of rhythm and blues, and soul music influences, fused with elements of traditional Native American music. Martha Redbone and Grammy-winner Aaron Whitby just received the 2019 Creative Capital Award for “Daughters of the Hills”, a new interdisciplinary musical theater work that brings to light parts of American history that have never been told.

Shawn Touriz is a student at Maxine Greene High School for Imaginative Inquiry. His dream is to become a professional actor and filmmaker.

Wallace Michael Shawn is an American character actor, voice actor, playwright and essayist.

Voices of a People’s History: Building on the work of historian Howard Zinn (1922–2010), Voices of a People’s History of the United States brings to light little known voices from U.S. history, including those of women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and laborers. By giving public expression to rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past—and present—they work to educate and inspire a new generation of people working for social justice.

Co-sponsored by Asia SocietyJohn Brademas Center of New York UniversityNew York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Voices of a People's History logo

Agents of Change logo

Humanities New York Logo in Black

The Skirball Talks series is made possible in part by a Humanities New York Action Grant and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

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