November 2012, Volume 16, Number 5

Powerful Partnerships


Humanities Champions Converge at MDC

Prominent proponents of the humanities recently joined forces in a major forum at Miami Dade College to testify to the importance of the humanities, arts and social sciences, indispensable fields that all too often are the first targets of budget cuts.

The Humanities and Civil Society was organized by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, of which Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón and University of Miami President Donna Shalala are both board members. They were joined by board members Phil Bredesen, former governor of Tennessee, and Cornell President David Skorton, as well as Academy of Arts & Sciences President Leslie C. Berlowitz in hearing testimony from numerous notable South Floridians, starting with superstar singer and arts advocate Gloria Estefan, who chronicled her experience as a public school student to emphasize how pivotal the humanities are to education and the advancement of society.

Compared with the attention lavished of late on the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, “not as many people realize the importance of the humanities and how it crosses into so many different parts of our lives,” said Estefan. “It contributes to the fabric of the world and makes the world a much better and more pleasant place to live.”

Following Estefan in speaking on the behalf of the humanities, arts and social sciences were Raúl Rodríguez, founding partner of Rodríguez and Quiroga Architects; Faith Mesnekoff, attorney and board chair of History Miami; Arva Moore Parks, historian and director of Coral Gables Museum; Ann Henderson, president and CEO of the Collins Center for Public Policy; Mitchell Kaplan, founder of Books and Books; Michael Spring, Miami-Dade County director of cultural affairs; Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Regina Bailey, assistant director of special projects for the Wolfsonian Museum; Alina Interián, executive director of MDC Cultural Programs; John Richard, president/CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center; and Mihoko Suzuki, director of the Center for Humanities at UM.

“We at Miami Dade College have for many years placed a great deal of effort on the humanities,” said President Padrón. “When you look at the history of our nation, we recognize the vital role that the humanities have played in the development of American society throughout the generations, and we want to ensure that they will continue to do so.”

— MR


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