What is a roundtable? To date, hundreds of Harvard and MIT professors have engaged in Roundtable faculty-seminar dinner-discussions in Cambridge (MA), experiencing the potential to bring added depth to their lives as scholars and educators. Roundtable seminars are dedicated to fostering dialogue that explores the intersection of contemporary academic thought and Christian thought on issues related to science, religion, and society.

We’re dedicated to fostering conversations that explore the big questions of all things good, true, and beautiful and their intersections with contemporary academic thought, work, and life in the university context.

In Providence, we have adapted the Cambridge Roundtable for the academic community at Brown University and other nearby institutions such as PC, RIC, URI, and J&WU, which will include hosting at least one roundtable event each semester.

Since our first roundtable event in 2014, we’ve had hundreds of different professors (as well as some local clergy, community leaders, and alumni) from almost every academic department participate in our events.

What happens at a Providence Roundtable event? Before the event, invited participants (who have RSVP’d) will receive information about the discussion topic, brief biographies of the presenters, and any readings to do prior. Around 65 participants will arrive sometime during the 30-minute opening reception where drinks and appetizers will be served. Next, guests will sit at their designated tables to hear the opening remarks from the presenters (usually one local and one non-local professor) on the particular topic for the evening. Dinner will be served and then the discussion around your table ensues regarding the topic presented.

There is no set agenda or official facilitator of the table–the only expectation is that people will be respectful of one another’s views, making sure to listen attentively and allow adequate time for all to speak. Afterwards, the presenters will field some questions from the participants, and then make brief closing remarks to end the evening.

Who can attend? This is an invitation-only event, though we are glad to work with invited scholars to encourage their colleagues to participate. If you have any questions and/or would like to be invited to a future event, please contact us.

Also, Roundtable invitations are not pre-sorted in alignment with any particular religious or non-religious perspective. Scholars from nearby universities and from a variety of academic departments, as well as specially-selected clergy and local business and community leaders, are invited: the result has been that a diversity of academic and religious and non-religious views are represented.

How much does this cost to attend? This event is free for all who attend. This initiative has been sponsored and funded by a number of foundations and individuals, most notably the Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries related to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.

The Providence Roundtable is co-chaired by:

The Providence Roundtable Coordinator is Jarrod Lynn (Brown ’05, ScM’07), Religious Life Affiliate at Brown University. The Regional Roundtable Director is Dave Thom: davethom@mit.edu.

Roundtables beyond Rhode Island…

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