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Oregon Humanities Conversation Project


Oregon Humanities Conversation Project
Afternoon Conversations at Cerimon House:
Two Conversations, Back-to-Back! (Attend one or both.)

Paul Susi
(2:00pm)  &  April Slabosheski (3:30pm)   

The Conversation Project brings Oregonians together to talk - across differences, beliefs, and backgrounds - about important issues and ideas. The goal is to connect people to ideas and to each other, not to push an agenda or arrive at consensus. We believe that conversation is a powerful medium to invite diverse perspectives, explore challenging questions, and strive for just communities.

Cerimon House is hosting a series of Oregon Humanities conversations, and we hope you will join us at one or all of these evenings. And we're trying something special: by bookending two dynamic conversations on the same day, you're able to take-in either or both of the topics. Here at CH, we believe in the power of conversation, and how actually being together in a room and discussing important topics of the day is a true boon to our civilization.


Higher education is considered essential for individuals seeking employment opportunities, social and cultural advancement, and a more secure financial future. No matter your background or privilege, a college degree is automatically assumed to multiply your opportunities. But in the current cycles of escalating tuition costs, ballooning student loan debt, and a crumbling secondary education infrastructure in Oregon, we have an increasing need to examine the purposefulness and meaningfulness of higher education in our day-to-day lives. Join educator and activist Paul Susi in a discussion that will examine our assumptions and values around education and its impact on our lives.

Paul Susi is an educator, activist, arts administrator, and performing artist based in Portland. Paul cofounded The Color of Now, a live discussion series focusing on race and privilege in Portland and served as manager for the innovative Peace 2 Shelter for self-identified men experiencing homelessness in downtown Portland. He serves as cochair of the board of directors for the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition; he is the operations director for Shakespeare in the Park; and he is a program leader for the Outdoor School, where he goes by the camp name “Badger.”

WHAT WE OWE -  April Slabosheski

Debt has bound people together and driven them apart for millennia. Oppressive debt has played a role in major social revolutions that have resulted in the clearing of debt records, yet there are other debts, like the cost of being born, for which many could not imagine demanding repayment. In the past ten years, US national debt and personal debt have reached all-time highs—levels at which full repayment may seem implausible. But is repayment even necessary? Join educator April Slabosheski in a conversation that asks, What constitutes debt? How does debt shape the way we relate to one another? How do we decide which debts we will repay, and which we will not?

April Slabosheski is an educator with a background in Jewish history. Personal experiences with debt spur her curiosity about the interpersonal effects of economic agency on individuals, communities, and nations. She is a debt activist and a member of Strike Debt Portland. She holds an MA in Judaic studies from the University of Michigan, a BS in community education and engagement from the University of Wisconsin, and works as the manager of museum and Holocaust education at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.

Earlier Event: March 10
Bower Power: Tree Planting Day
Later Event: March 15
Earth Songs for the 21st Century