Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Pell Center Wins Major Grant Award from Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

RICH LogoAward will Support Initiative to Examine the Role of Storytelling in Politics and Public Life

Newport—The Pell Center at Salve Regina University has won a major grant award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH), an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The grant, announced by RICH on Monday, January 14, is to support Story in the Public Square, a project to examine and celebrate the use of storytelling in public affairs.

Story in the Public Square will launch with a public conference on Friday, April 12, 2013.  The day-long event will feature accomplished story-tellers, whether they are journalists, novelists, or filmmakers, a screening of the Providence Journal’s acclaimed documentary “Coming Home” about veterans returning to southeastern New England after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, keynote remarks by former Senator Gary Hart, and the presentation of the first Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square.  A detailed description of the event follows below.

The winner of the inaugural Pell Center prize will be announced in the coming months.

“This is great news for the Pell Center and Salve Regina University,” said Jim Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center.  “We’ve worked for nearly a year with our partners to organize a public program that begins with a day-long event this April and then continues with on-going research and programming that will both celebrate ethical storytelling and expose abuses.  We’re very grateful to RICH for their generous support,” he continued.

G. Wayne Miller, a gifted storyteller and Providence Journal journalist, filmmaker, and author, is co-directing Story in the Public Square as a visiting fellow at the Pell Center.  “RICH’s support is a difference-maker for us,” he said.  “Their long record of support for great projects in the humanities is a real validation of our work.  We’re looking forward to the event on April 12th with real excitement and expectation.”

Additional details about the program, the Pell Center Prize, and a contest for college students will be released in the coming weeks.

For up to the minute news on Story in the Public Square, follow @pubstory on Twitter.

Story in the Public Square

April 12, 2013

Pell Center at Salve Regina University

Keynote Remarks by Senator Gary Hart

Presentation of the first Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square

 Panel Discussion: Public Story Telling

The use of storytelling in the public square is as old as politics.  This panel will examine contemporary story-telling in the public square, from many perspectives.  Each panelist will be asked to share their experiences in story-telling: the impact, the reach, the perils, and the promise of this time-honored element of public dialogue. Each will be asked to explore the importance of veracity in their work. Finally, each will be asked to discuss, briefly, the best example, from their perspective, of storytelling in modern American political discourse.

MODERATOR: Karen Bordeleau, Providence Journal, acting executive editor

  • James Vincent, NAACP Providence
  • Christopher B. Daily, Boston University
  • Karen Thompson Walker, best-selling author of The Age of Miracles
  • Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz, University of Rhode Island
  • David Boeri, WBUR

Screening of “Coming Home” and Panel Discussion: War Stories

War has been a central narrative of the human experience since before Homer’s Iliad. For Americans, the latest chapters have come since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the eleven years since those attacks, nearly 50 southeastern New Englanders have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of veterans have returned forever changed. In an hour-long documentary, “Coming Home,” the Providence Journal tells the deeply intimate stories of several who served, and the after-effects of combat on them and their loved ones. “Coming Home” was broadcast on PBS, and shown at the 2012 Roving Eye and Rhode Island International Film Festivals and other venues. “Coming Home” was nominated in 2012 for a New England Emmy and won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.

MODERATOR: Donna Harrington-Lueker, Salve Regina University

  • John DiRaimo, Rhode Island National Guard, Iraq War veteran
  • Lt. Col Denis J. Riel, Rhode Island Air National Guard, Director of Air Staff, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff, Rhode Island National Guard, and a war veteran of Iraq
  • Bob Kerr, Providence Journal columnist, narrator of “Coming Home,” and Marine Corps combat veteran of Vietnam
  • The Honorable Elizabeth Roberts, lieutenant governor of Rhode Island
  • G. Wayne Miller, Providence Journal

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