Friday, July 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Global poverty conference; David Sedaris at the Mahaiwe; Carole Owens book talk; Norton Owen on Jacob’s Pillow; Butterfly Leadership Program; swing dance nights

"Remarkable Women of New England" also includes the story of Anna Dix Orton Bingham, the Widow Bingham who fought to become the first woman to have a tavern license in Berkshire County on the site of the present-day Red Lion Inn.

Williams College to host global poverty conference

Angus Deaton.

Williamstown — Williams College’s Center for Development Economics will hold a “Tackling Global Poverty” conference Thursday, April 7, and Friday, April 8. Through a series of panels and discussions, the conference will address issues surrounding global poverty and will include a keynote speech by Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton.

Thursday, April 7, in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, Bernhard Music Center

4 p.m.: “Evaluation Technologies: Have policy innovations succeeded in tackling the problem of global poverty?” opening presentation via videoconference with Jeffrey Sachs of the Columbia University Earth Institute, followed by a panel discussion with Angus Deaton of Princeton University, John Hoddinott of Cornell University, and Oliver Babson of the Gates Foundation.

8 p.m.: Keynote address by Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. He is a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Econometric Society and, in 1978, was the first recipient of the Society’s Frisch Medal. He is also the recipient of a BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Deaton’s research focuses on the determinants of health in rich and poor countries, as well as on the measurement of poverty in India and around the world. He was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in economic sciences for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.

Friday, April 8, in Room 3, Griffin Hall

9 a.m.: “Which innovative politics and approaches have proved most effective at tackling global poverty?” with presenters Fred Ssewamala of Columbia University, Jessica Leight of Williams College, Oliver Babson, and Diego Angemi of UNICEF.

11 a.m.: “How are evidence-building technologies supporting (or hindering) global progress in tackling poverty?” with John Hoddinott, Lucie Cluver of Oxford University (via videoconference), Frank DeGiovanni of the Ford Foundation, and Susan Godlonton of Williams College.

2 p.m. “How can we improve evidence-building technologies to cultivate the policy innovation required to tackle global poverty and ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals?” with Angus Deaton, Frank DeGiovanni, Jessica Leight, Jason Wolfe of USAID, and Tara Watson of Williams College and the U.S. Treasury.

For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.


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David Sedaris at the Mahaiwe

david Hugh Hamrick
David Sedaris. Photo: Hugh Hamrick.

Great Barrington – The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present author David Sedaris on Sunday, April 10, at 7 p.m.

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that he is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. He is the author of “Barrel Fever,” “Holidays on Ice,” “Naked,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy,” and his most recent book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” the audio version of which was a Grammy Award nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. There are a total of ten million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages. Sedaris’s books will be for sale at the Mahaiwe and he will sign them after his talk.

Tickets to David Sedaris are $48, $53, and $68. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.


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‘Remarkable Women of New England’: Book talk with Carole Owens

41vbZAOicTLStockbridge — On Saturday, April 9, at 4 p.m., the Bidwell House Museum and the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives will present historian, author, and Edge columnist Carole Owens in a talk about her book “Remarkable Women of New England: Daughters, Wives, Sisters and Mothers: The War Years 1754 to 1787,” in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room at the Stockbridge Town Offices, 50 Main St.

“Remarkable Women” describes the day-to-day lives of 18th-century women in the home, church, village, and society, based on Owens’ research of women’s letters and journals. The book includes several former Stockbridge residents: Mary Gray Bidwell, a quiet country woman who had a front row seat on the war and the formation of the new nation; Rev. Jonathan Edwards’s daughter, Esther Edwards Burr, whose husband founded Princeton University and whose son was the second Vice President of the United States (and tried for treason); and Lavinia Deane Fisk, widowed during the Revolutionary War and whose second marriage triggered a firestorm that led to a revolutionary war in the Congregational Church. The book also includes the story of Anna Dix Orton Bingham, the Widow Bingham who fought to become the first woman to have a tavern license in Berkshire County on the site of the present-day Red Lion Inn. Carole Owens lives in Stockbridge and is the author of seven books, two newspaper columns, and numerous feature articles.

The talk is free and open to the public, though donations are welcome. For more information call (413) 528-6888 for more information.


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‘New Beginnings at Jacob’s Pillow’ with Norton Owen

Norton Owen
Norton Owen.

Great Barrington — On Friday, April 8, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will present Norton Owen as part of its Knosh & Knowledge program. Owen is the director of preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and will speak about the Festival’s history and its future direction in a talk titled “New Beginnings at Jacob’s Pillow.” This program will take place at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire at 10:45 a.m. and will be followed by lunch.

Longtime Director of Preservation Norton Owen asserts that Jacob’s Pillow prides itself on its tradition for new beginnings, from its pioneering days as the summer home for Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers to its current status at the forefront of presenting major dance artists from throughout the world. As the Pillow launches its 84th season with a new director at the helm, Owen will trace the Festival’s history of innovation and offer a taste of what might be expected in the future.

Norton Owen has been associated with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival since 1976 and has been Director of Preservation since 1990, overseeing the PillowTalks series and projects involving documentation, exhibitions, audience engagement, and archival issues. He is the curator of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive, an acclaimed online video resource that reaches audiences worldwide.

Admission to the talk is $11 includes the lunch. Participants may attend the program only for $5. Advance reservations for lunch are required and, for more information or to make reservations, call the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10 or email


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Butterfly Leadership Program for teen girls

Great Barrington — The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers (BFWW) will present the next installment of its Butterfly Leadership Program for teen girls ages 13 – 18 on Sunday, April 10, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the South Berkshire Friends Meeting.

The writing-intensive session will be led by BFWW Director Jennifer Browdy and spoken word poet Grace Rossman and will focus on the topic “Discovering and Cultivating Passion and Purpose on the Issues that Matter Most.”

The cost of the session is $60. Online registration is available. For more information contact


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Swing dance nights at Race Brook Lodge

Sheffield — Race Brook Lodge will host two swing dance nights in April: the Friday, April 8, event will feature a live performance from One Straw Revolution; Hot Club of Saratoga will provide musical accompaniment on Saturday, April 30.

All those interested in swing dancing, from beginners to experienced dancers, are welcome to attend. Both evenings will include a beginner’s lesson at 8 p.m. before the music and dancing start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 each. For more information call Race Brook Lodge at (413) 229-2916.



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