We’re pleased to announce that our Chat & Chowder book talk series is now free of charge. All WorldBoston regular programming is now free.
Thank you to The Lowell Institute for making this possible, by supporting Great Decisions, and now, Chat & Chowder.
This change is in line with our recent elimination of membership fees: We believe these steps will expand our mission to foster international engagement and global cooperation and make our programs more accessible.
We also believe that our community values these programs and that those who can will make the same, or greater, efforts to support our work as in the past, so that more may benefit from it. In fact we are counting on it – counting on you.
What does this mean for you? Monthly Chat & Chowder programs no longer have a ticket price. Advance registration will still be required. Also, we’ll now routinely ask you to consider a tax-deductible contribution of any size, whether to defray costs or a larger commitment to support our mission. All contributions, individual or corporate, are tax-deductible. Learn more about supporting WorldBoston here.
To celebrate this milestone, join our first Chat & Chowder of the fall season on September 20th. We will feature historian David Allen to discuss his book Every Citizen a Statesman and, fittingly, the history of the World Affairs Councils. Join us for expert insights, audience Q&A, networking, and (of course) chowders and beverages – for free!
Most importantly, we want you to attend our events. We hope to see you soon.
David Allen is a historian of U.S. foreign relations. He was most recently a fellow in the International Security Program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
David earned a PhD in History from Columbia University in 2019, with distinction. Before that, he took an MPhil in Historical Studies, with distinction, as well as a BA in History, with a double first, from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Previously, David has held appointments as an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Belfer Center; an Eisenhower Roberts Graduate Fellow at the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College; a History and Policy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation; and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Project on Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft, appointed jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program and Belfer Center. David taught as a core Lecturer at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs in Spring 2021.
David has published academic articles in the International History Review, the Historical Journal, the Journal of Cold War Studies, the state-of-the-field volume Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, and an edited volume on international organizations. His work has received grants and honors from the Friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Previously a resident tutor at Leverett House, Harvard University, he lives and works with his family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Outside academia, David has been a freelance classical music critic at The New York Times since 2014. He tweets on music, mostly, at @fafnerthekite.
The surprising story of the movement to create a truly democratic foreign policy by engaging ordinary Americans in world affairs.
No major arena of United States governance is more elitist than foreign policy. International relations barely surface in election campaigns, and policymakers take little input from Congress. But not all Americans set out to build a cloistered foreign policy “establishment.” For much of the twentieth century, officials, activists, and academics worked to foster an informed public that would embrace participation in foreign policy as a civic duty.
The first comprehensive history of the movement for “citizen education in world affairs,” Every Citizen a Statesman recounts an abandoned effort to create a democratic foreign policy. Taking the lead alongside the State Department were philanthropic institutions like the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and the Foreign Policy Association, a nonprofit founded in 1918. One of the first international relations think tanks, the Association backed local World Affairs Councils, which organized popular discussion groups under the slogan “World Affairs Are Your Affairs.” In cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered in homes and libraries to learn and talk about pressing global issues.
But by the 1960s, officials were convinced that strategy in a nuclear world was beyond ordinary people, and foundation support for outreach withered. The local councils increasingly focused on those who were already engaged in political debate and otherwise decried supposed public apathy, becoming a force for the very elitism they set out to combat. The result, David Allen argues, was a chasm between policymakers and the public that has persisted since the Vietnam War, insulating a critical area of decision-making from the will of the people.
WorldBoston’s Chat & Chowder series features key authors on international affairs in an engaging setting. In addition to discussion of a featured book (usually sold at a significant discount), the program offers the opportunity for discussion among members and guests – and of course a selection of chowders and beverages. This Chat & Chowder will be hosted in-person (from 6:00 to 7:30PM ET) and live-streamed to Zoom (from 6:15 to 7:15 PM ET only).