During my career at the Harvard Kennedy School, I spent countless evenings attending programs in the school’s Forum. International dignitaries, politicians, outstanding academics, even actors, spoke to enthusiastic audiences almost nightly during the school year. It was the site of student and faculty talent shows, fund-raising auctions and receptions. The Forum was a happening place.
It felt a bit strange to return there one night last week after more than a year’s absence. But we wanted to hear Jill Lepore, Harvard history professor and New Yorker writer talk about her new book, These Truths.
Of course, I knew none of the current students in the audience, but a Forum staff member recognized me and rushed to find seating for us. And I spotted a professor or two I knew and a former Dean of the school who used to introduce events in the Forum and was now just a member of the audience.
I, too, am now “just a member of the audience.” And that’s okay.