This page includes audio, video, and transcripts of Ford Hall Forum’s lectures, programs, and the New American Gazette radio series. The majority of the lectures date from 1981-2013 with the exception of one recording from 1923 and a small number from the 1960s and 1970s.
For a full list of the collection, including non-digitized items, browse the Ford Hall Forum Collection Finding AidMany additional recordings are held by the Boston Public Library, WGBH, and Northeastern, please consult their Archives for more information.
Recording from around 1933 of a press conference given by former President Calvin Coolidge; the exact date and place are unknown. Coolidge discusses at length his family, growing up in Vermont, and his early political career in Massachusetts including the Boston Police Strike of 1919 – his handling of which catapulted him into national politics. He later discusses his presidency, aspects of Herbert Hoover’s presidency and life after the White House.
Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Alemayehu Weldemariam, and Nir Eisikovits discuss, "Scholars Rescue" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Nir Eisikovits, and Alemayehu Weldemariam
Ethiopian scholar of law and politics Alemayehu Weldemariam and Iranian women's rights scholar Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh discuss pursuing academic endeavors while facing persecution in their home countries. Learn what Weldemariam said about Ethiopian politics in an interview that resulted in his dismissal and permanent prohibition from Ethiopian collegiate employment. Later, hear how Abbasgholizadeh has been jailed again and again for her peaceful activism.
Former Congressman Barney Frank is a Forum favorite, having graced our stage seven times since 1979. Last year, he completed his illustrious 32-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, throughout which he was boldly outspoken at every opportunity. Frank consistently chose to be the voice of those who often have no voice: Combat Zone sex workers, the elderly, Japanese-Americans in WWII, and even animals. One of the most powerful statements he made on his defense of civil liberties was his opposition to Respect for America's Fallen Heroes, proving that his support for the First Amendment supersedes any personal agenda. In light of how he has conducted such a vital, brave career, Ford Hall Forum presents Barney Frank with our 2013 First Amendment Award to commend his commitment to civic engagement, democracy, and expression.
Melissa Hohr, Margot Mifflin, and Bill Downing with Robin Abrahams: Hell in a Handbasket: The Decline of Taboos, video recording
Melissa Hohr, Margot Mifflin, Robin Abrahams, and Bill Downing
Not long ago, we lived in a world where cursing was verboten, only sailors had tattoos, and smoking marijuana was confined to college experimentation. Are these things really more prevalent today or were they acceptable long before they reached the puritanical eyes of American society? And if they are met with less disdain these days, is it because we're a more accepting society or because this is the beginning of a backslide into a social world rife with slovenly self-conduct? Moderator Robin Abrahams (author, Miss Conduct etiquette column) talks with Melissa Mohr (author, Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing), Margot Mifflin (author, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo), and Bill Downing (former President, MassCANN/NORML) to determine whether we can let it all hang out or if crossing the line is a harbinger of societal disaster.
Guy Maytal, M.D., Marcia Angell, M.D., and Jack Wrobel discuss, "Whose Choice is Death?" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Gun Maytal, Marcia Angell, and Jack Wrobel
With the vote on the physician-assisted suicide initiative coming down to a slim margin this past November, voters of Massachusetts appear torn. Is this dignity or playing God? Mercy or giving up too soon? Does it give people who are suffering a way to control their own destinies, or people with hidden agendas a way to do away with the vulnerable? And how soon will this issue arise again in our state? Jack Wrobel, Ford Hall Forum Vice President, moderates a debate that elucidates the issue from each side. Marcia Angell, M.D. (supporter for Prescribing Medication to End Life initiative) and Guy Maytal, M.D. (opponent to Prescribing Medication to End Life initiative) discuss facts, feelings, and unintended effects while the audience decides for themselves whether physician-assisted suicide should ever be Massachusetts law.
Nicco Mele, Kevin Banksto, and Dharmishta Rood discuss, "Rise of the Individual" at Ford Hall Forum, audio recording
Nicco Mele, Dharmishta Rood, and Kevin Bankston
The invention of the internet has opened an entirely new world of communication and, therefore, organization. With so much power now in the hands of the individual, one questions whether we need institutions anymore. As this technology progresses, we face an inevitable need to restructure our government systems, safety measures, and concept of ownership, as well as their attached legal implications. But while the world touts the internet as the prime conveyor of a bold, new democracy, we consider how it also ushers in sharper methods of surveillance and control. Moderator Dharmishta Rood (Fellow, Harvard University Psychology Department) leads Nicco Mele (Founder, EchoDitto and author, The End of Big) and Kevin Bankston (Director, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy & Technology) in a bold discussion on how the internet is giving rise to the individual.
Anchee Min and Elif Armbruster discuss, "The Chinese-American Dream" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Anchee Min and Elif Armbruster
Twenty years after penning her first memoir on growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution, author Anchee Min now releases The Cooked Seed: the true story of her journey to, and within, America. Min draws us in to bear witness to her trek from a land of deprivation to one of surrounding bounty that is just out of her reach. She works five jobs at once and suffers rape, exhaustion, and divorce. As these revolutionary personal events shape her world view, they culminate in the biggest shift of all: the birth of her daughter. Moderator Elif Armbruster (Associate Professor of English, Suffolk University) helps Min present her unique immigration narrative within the universal struggle of building a life despite precious few fundamental tools. Anchee Min will be signing and selling copies of her book, The Cooked Seed, at the end of the event.
Garrett Quinn, Adam Gaffin, Cheryl Fiandaca, and Skip Perham
As the Boston Marathon bombing crisis unfolded over a week's time, we witnessed firsthand how integral social media is to a public emergency in these modern times. While Redditors worked to identify the culprits, innocent victims were wrongly accused. It facilitated both the accommodation of those stranded after the Marathon and urban legends of those supposedly helped. We were thankful for the connection to loved ones ones during Friday's lockdown, yet did little besides exacerbating our own fears while glued to Facebook for eight hours. Join Garrett Quinn (Correspondent, Watertown TAB and Blogger, Boston.com), Adam Gaffin (Editor, Universal Hub), and Cheryl Fiandaca (Bureau Chief of Public Information, Boston Police Department) as they discuss with moderator Skip Perham (Board Clerk, Ford Hall Forum) how we can capitalize on social media's incredible benefits of crowd sourcing and speed while protecting against its inaccuracy and fear-mongering.
John Rosenthal, Charlton Mcllwain, and Edward Powell discuss, "Guns Don't Kill People, the Media Kills People" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
John Rosenthal, Charlton Mcllwain, and Edward Powell
The media shapes how we see things, even when we know the truth is otherwise. After all, why is the national conversation on guns framed as pro-gun vs. anti-gun despite most of our perspectives being much more nuanced? Moderator Edward Powell (Executive Director, The Boston Foundation's StreetSafe Boston) shines a spotlight on how the media's distortion of reality exacerbates gun violence. He speaks with John Rosenthal (gun owner and founder/Chairman of Stop Handgun Violence) and Charlton McIlwain (Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU Steinhardt) to identify how TV, internet, and newspaper reporting paints an inaccurate picture of guns' effects on communities of color and engages in fear-mongering that fails to prevent further tragedies.
Hendrick Smith, Yaron Brook, and Rachael Cobb discuss, "Money and Power" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Hendrick Smith, Yaron Brook, and Rachael Cobb
A critical debate featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith and President of the Ayn Rand Foundation Yaron Brook as they discuss how the economy came to be in its current state. Smith argues that a pro-business power shift in Washington and a change in the American business ethos away from stakeholder capitalism to shareholder capitalism has created a harmful economic divide in America. Brook counters that today's mess is a product, not of capitalism, but of empowering the government to restrict free enterprise and dole out favors to preferred groups.
Elizabeth F. Thompson, Leila Farsakh, and Robert Laffey discuss, "Hope Arab Spring Eternal" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Elizabeth F. Thompson, Leila Farsakh, and Robert Laffey
How much closer are Middle Eastern countries to having functioning constitutional governments than they were in the spring of 2011? How will such governments impact their economies? What unique challenges and opportunities has each country faced in building new government? How has the culture played into the emerging politics? Elizabeth F. Thompson (author, Justice Interrupted) and Leila Farsakh (Associate Professor of Political Science, UMass Boston) join us to provide an update on happenings in the Middle East, particularly in terms of consequences we did not foresee two years ago. Robert Laffey (Assistant Professor of Government, Suffolk University) guides this discussion on post-Arab Spring sociopolitical changes, mining Thompson's book for historical context and Farsakh's research for current insights. Elizabeth F. Thompson will be signing and selling copies of her book, Justice Interrupted, at the end of the event.
Lee Carl Bromberg, Dr. Robert Klitzman, and Dominic Ianno discuss, "Brand-Name Genes" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Lee Carl Bromberg, Robert Klitzman, and Dominic Ianno
Yaron Brook and Deborah Kincade Rambo discuss, "Reaping is a Virtue" at Ford Hall Forum, audio recording
Yaron Brook and Deborah Kincade Rambo
Moderator Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe asks Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Institute, and Deborah Kincade Rambo, LICSW, President of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston: is charity an expression of virtue? Brook delves into Ayn Rand's beliefs that charity should be undertaken only in self-interest and not out of a sense of false morality -- or, worse, guilt. He explains that Rand's followers would rather applaud the act of making money than giving it away. Rambo counters that charity as a virtue is critical to our collective well-being, enriching our society as it promotes a healthy economy. She argues that self-sacrifice through philanthropy is a form of love in which people of any (or no) religion can participate. Join us as we determine whether benevolence or earning is the real virtue.
James Downey receives the 2012 Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award at the Ford Hall Forum, video recording
James Michael Downey and William James Murray
Nick Dynan, Lou Jones, Nichole Sobecki, and Helen Rees discuss, "Worth a Thousand Words" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Nick Dynan, Lou Jones, Nichole Sobecki, and Helen Rees
Photographs are among the most compelling media for true stories across the globe, allowing viewers to feel as if we are right there in the action. Photojournalists must not only find shots and visually translate the emotions, but also address reporting ethics and their own biases behind the lens. On top of it all, they grapple with their effect on the subject itself while capturing the moment. Nick Dynan, Senior Web Coordinator for Global Post; Lou Jones, legendary photographer and board member of the Photographic Resource Center; and Nichole Sobecki, Nairobi-based photojournalist and former director of The Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership's EXPOSURE program, join Ford Hall Forum Vice President Helen Rees to focus on the fascinating finer points of photojournalism.
Barney Frank and Callie Crossley discuss, "Dysfunctional Democracy" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Barney Frank and Callie Crossley
If you thought Congressman Barney Frank was always outspoken, wait until you hear him when there's no reelection on the horizon. The U.S. Representative for Massachusetts' Fourth District is ready to tell us what's wrong with our democracy — from Congressional in-fighting to an electorate that's asleep at the wheel — and how the people can take control and make a difference. He'll also give us his best predictions for Election 2012. Don't miss the host of The Callie Crossley Show (WGBH Radio, 89.7), Callie Crossley, in the most Frank conversation you've ever heard with Representative Barney Frank.
Paul Lyons, Joyce Kulhawik, Lauren Beckham Falcone, and Jan Saragoni
Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Senator Rob Portman, and many other self-described conservatives are the Mad Men of politics, evoking the age of Don Draper with retro style. In the shadow of our first African-American president, is this trend a return to a simpler age of the Cold War and domestic abundance? What sparked the trend to run these slicked-back, chiseled-jawed politicians? Two wars, the horrible economy, the need for a Dad in the driver's seat to see the USA in a Chevrolet? This all-female panel of Boston personalities, Paula Lyons, Joyce Kulhawik, Lauren Beckham Falcone, Jan Saragoni, and moderator Margery Eagan will explore some voters' need to hearken back to when kids respected adults and neighbors knew each other. These days, when our government seem to be turning back the clock on women's issues, can style rescue us from weighty substance? This forum is held memory of Nora Ephron, a writer of remarkable style and substance
Rev. Dr. William Schulz, Dr. John Cerone, and Dr. Jasmine Waddell discuss, "The State of Human Rights" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
William Schulz, John Cerone, and Jasmine Waddell
With myriad political, social, and economic changes across the globe in the last decade, the public is eagerly questioning the effects on our worldwide fight for human rights. Rev. Dr. William Schulz, CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, discusses the United States' recent progress in upholding human rights and which geopolitical areas will soon need the most attention. Dr. John Cerone, professor of human rights law and the U.S. member of the International Law Association's (ILA) International Human Rights Law Committee, delves into the UN's original intentions with the Millennium Development Goals and the likelihood of fulfilling them by 2015. Visiting lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Dr. Jasmine Waddell, moderates their exchange on critical steps to ensure these fundamental rights to all.
Paul Tormey, John Linehan, Saul Wisnia, and Peter Meade
Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Peter Meade, moderates a program celebrating Boston's three exciting centennials in 2012. Author of the full-color and thoroughly researched Fenway Park: The Centennial, Saul Wisnia shares original commentary by three generations of Boston Red Sox players and fans, plus little-known stories about our favorite stadium. President & CEO of Zoo New England, John Linehan, then reveals how radically Boston's zoos — and zoology itself — have changed in a century, while describing our furry friends who live there now. Finally, the Fairmont Copley Plaza's Regional Vice President and General Manager, Paul Tormey, showcases the history and trivia behind Boston's jewel of hospitality in the Back Bay. Join us for a conversation on Boston's three incredible attractions that only comes once in a hundred years.
Harper Barnes, Jan Freeman, Laura Shapiro, and Paul Solman
Ford Hall Forum Vice President and former Real Paper journalist Monica Collins assembles this riveting Real Paper reunion with Harper Barnes, Jan Freeman, Laura Shapiro, Paul Solman, and Mark Zanger. Hear how this free newspaper's laudable format of an employee-run collective was, ironically, its undoing as the opportunity to sell arose, as did interpersonal conflict. Their experience with The Real Paper yields surprising views on modern-day journalism, including sustainable and fair business models, the future of free newspapers in a world of internet media, and whether journalists in today's economy should strike out on their own.
Dr. Yaron Brook, Dr. David Callahan, and Dominic Ianno discuss, "From the Government and Here to Help" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Yaron Brook, David Callahan, and Dominic Ianno
From the financial crisis to Obamacare to the budget debates, the size and scope of government is being debated across the country. One side calls for more regulation to foster equitable prosperity because the free market is out of control. The other side says government has grown too big and intrusive; we need to mitigate its power while rediscovering the founders’ principles. Dr. Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, and Dr. David Callahan, Co-Founder of Demos, join Ford Hall Forum President Dominick Ianno to debate the fundamental social, economic, and moral ideas that underlie politics in America today.
Buddy Cianci and Dominic Ianno
A champion of inner city revitalization, Buddy Cianci served as the Mayor of Providence for an unprecedented 21 years, turning it into the Renaissance City through sustainable urban renewal. While his tenure was marred with controversy, including a forced resignation and conviction, Buddy is still in the public eye through his daily radio and TV shows, and might even be considering yet another run for mayor. Ford Hall Forum President Dominick Ianno draws outrageous anecdotes from the always-entertaining Buddy Cianci.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Herbert Snorrason, and Wendy Ballinger discuss, "WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks and Our Right to Know" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Herbert Snorrason, and Wendy Ballinger
Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Herbert Snorrason, former WikiLeaks staffers and co-founders of newly-launched OpenLeaks, join Wendy Ballinger, Treasurer and former Executive Director of the Ford Hall Forum, LIVE BY SKYPE from Germany and Iceland to answer questions about the necessity of and danger in leaking state secrets.
Dr. John C. Green, Dr. Karl Giberson, and Dr. Randall Stephens discuss, "Evangelicals in the Electorate" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
John C. Green, Karl Giberson, Randall Stephens, and Eric Convey
Green, John C.; Giberson, Karl; Stephens, Randall; Convey, Eric
Ashley Judd and Candelaria Silva discuss, "Bittersweet Humanitarianism" at Ford Hall Forum, video recording
Ashley Judd and Candelaria Silva
Ashley Judd, award-winning actress, humanitarian, and author of All That Is Bitter and Sweet joins moderator Candelaria Silva, author and Roxbury Film Festival founder, to discuss Judd's experiences in feminist social justice work to discover the relationship between healing oneself and healing others.