Steamboat Springs The first speaker in Steamboat's Summer Seminar Series will take the stage Aug. 7, opening yet another door between this tiny mountain town and the world.
The idea for a lecture series that would bring in policy experts and analysts from across the country came during a hike last summer, co-organizer Bob Stein said.
"We want to open up discussion of subjects of national, regional and local interest," Stein said. "We are not going to talk about literature, because there is already Literary Sojourn. We are not going to talk about music, because there is Strings. We are going to focus on kinds of policy issues and international issues."
Since 1981, Jane and Bob Stein have split their time between Steamboat and the Washington, D.C., area.
As members of both communities, they recognize that Steamboat "is an isolated place in a way," Jane Stein said. "But many of the people who chose to live here are well-read and enjoy keeping in touch with what is going on in the world.
"You can do that through the Internet and television, but we thought that it might be nice to bring these issues in on a more personal level -- raise some questions."
Each lecture will be followed by a short reception for attendees to continue the discussion.
The organizers of the Summer Seminar Series are starting with people they know.
The first speaker, scheduled for 4 p.m. Aug. 7, is Joseph Nye Jr., former assistant secretary of defense and dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Nye is a friend of co-organizer and Steamboat resident Belle Sawhill.
Nye is the author of "The Paradox of American Power: Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone."
If the United States is bound to lead, it is also bound to cooperate, he writes. His book warns against unilateralism.
Nye argues that the interests of the international community go hand-in-hand with our national interests -- interests that cannot be achieved without the help of other nations.
In August, the second installment in the lecture series will focus on "Changes in the American Family." Panelists will include Sue Birch, executive director of Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association; Sara McLanahan, director of Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University; and Irwin Garfinkle, professor of contemporary urban problems at Columbia University.
At the end of the series, attendees will be asked to fill out a questionnaire indicating their interests for next summer.
"For topics, we thought about education and health-care reform," Jane Stein said. "We're not doing this through any political organization. We just want to get the issues out there and people can decide how they want to think about them."
The Steins have received positive response to the idea of the Summer Seminar Series.
"I'm very encouraged at the way this community makes things happen," Jane Stein said. "Someone says, 'we need a film series' and -- poof -- it happens. It happens because people work on it. Individuals have to take the responsibility for what they want to see in their community."