Featured Speakers

We were pleased to welcome the following featured speakers to our 2019 Symposium on Democracy, held Feb. 18, 2019.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the Director of Retirement Security at the Economic Policy Institute, and currently serves as a research professor at Georgetown University, where she founded the Center for Retirement Initiatives. She has also served as chair of the Governor’s Retirement Security Task Force for the State of Maryland.

As the State of Maryland’s first woman lieutenant governor, from 1995 to 2003, Townsend was in charge of a multimillion dollar budget and had oversight of several major cabinet departments. Prior to being elected lieutenant governor, Townsend served as deputy assistant attorney general of the United States.

Townsend is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland. She founded the Maryland Student Service Alliance, making Maryland the first and still only state to make community service a requirement for high school graduation.

An honors graduate of Harvard University, Townsend received her law degree from the University of New Mexico where she was a member of the law review. She has received 14 honorary degrees. Townsend’s book, Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Mixed God with Politics and Lost Their Way, was published by Warner Books in 2007.

Kerwin Swint, Ph.D.

Kerwin Swint, Ph.D.

Dr. Kerwin Swint is an author, speaker, and professor of politics at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. Specializing in Campaigns and Elections and Mass Media, he or his work has appeared in a number of national and international media, including CNN, FOX News, the BBC, the ABC program The View, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, The Toronto Star, The Daily Mail (UK), National Journal, Mental Floss, Publisher's Weekly, Salon, Slate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and numerous other media.

He is the author of: The King Whisperers: Power Behind the Throne from Rasputin to RoveMudslingers: The Twenty-Five Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All TimeDark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder Roger Ailes; and Political Consultants And Negative Campaigning: The Secrets Of The Pros.

Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life -- from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement.

After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely. For twelve years he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon's children's newspaper Audubon Adventures, and approximately 30 books.

Robert´s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings & etchings, Speaking Fire at Stones, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake's “Proverbs of Hell”, and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.

His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal, however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits Americans Who Tell the Truth. The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. Venues have included everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, and the Superior Court in San Francisco. To date, the exhibits have visited 26 states. In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name. In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate non-fiction.

The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.

Shetterly has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. In the spring of 2007, he traveled to Rwanda with Lily Yeh and Terry Tempest Williams to work in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide there. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the terrible practice of Mountaintop Removal by coal companies in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the US particularly in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Since 1990, he has been the President of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA), and a producer of the UMVA’s Maine Masters Project, an on-going series of video documentaries about Maine artists.