Serious Symposium Ahead

By Angie Duke

    The Hamptons Institute, a symposium on some of the most pressing issues of our time, will be back in East Hampton on Saturday, featuring three panel discussions during the course of the day on education, the economy, and the environment. The free event, organized by the Roosevelt Institute and held at Guild Hall, will provide intellectual perspectives and debate by experts in the given fields.

    The day will begin at 10:30 a.m. with “Innovations in Education.” It will be moderated by Jacqueline Adams, a former CBS News correspondent. The panelists are Kahlil Byrd, president of Students First, Josh Zoia, superintendent of KIPP NYC, a network of charter schools for children from disadvantaged communities, Reena Bhatia, vice president of education programs of LISC, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Priscilla Campbell, a teacher at East Hampton High School who is president of the school district’s Teachers Association and chair of the Long Island Presidents Council.

    “We strive to look at various points of view and assess what kind of public policy options are available,” commented Ellen Chesler, the curator of the symposium and a senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute.

    After a noon break for lunch in the Minikes Garden at Guild Hall for fellows, sponsors, and panelists, the second discussion will focus on climate change with experts from Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Lamount Doherty Earth Observatory. They are Steve Cohen, an environmental policy expert, Sabine Marx, a research scientist on environmental risk perceptions, and Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist specializing in the dynamics of weather and climate.

    “After Sandy,” to start at 1:30 p.m., will tackle the hard question of what people and government can do. It will be moderated by Dava Sobel of East Hampton, who writes for Popular Science and is the author of the bestsellers “Longitude” and “Galileo’s Daughter.”

    The third and final panel, at 3 p.m., will cover the most talked about political topic of 2013, the economy. The focus will be China’s involvement in the economy of the United States and the global economy. Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, will moderate the discussion between James Steinberg, former deputy U.S. secretary of state, and Frank Newman, former deputy secretary of the treasury.    Mr. Steinberg is the dean of the Maxwell School of Public Policy at Syracuse. Mr. Newman is the chair or vice chair of several organizations that focus on Asia and the author of “Six Myths that Hold Back America — And What America Can Learn from the Growth of China’s Economy.” The day will culminate at a cocktail reception.

    Asked how the panelists were chosen, Ms. Chesler said, “We went to the strongest scientists, but also to the people who know how to address complicated and technical policy issues to a public audience. It’s very rare to get panelists with high levels of public policy experience with insight as to what the future holds in their given fields. The whole point is to offer not just to the weekenders but to the entire community. We hope people can take time out of their weekends and come by.”

    Tickets are available online at or at the box office.