What does it mean to be American today? 

Screening and discussion:

"American Creed"

4 p.m. Sunday, July 28
, 2019
Carey Institute for Global Good, Rensselaerville

Paul Grondahl, director of the New York State Writers Institute, will lead a community conversation following a screening of the PBS documentary “American Creed” at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 28, 2019, at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville.

The conversation will pick up on themes presented in the film by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, who come together from different points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American Creed.

Community Conversation: American Creed

What does it mean to be American today?

Grondahl's role as moderator of the "American Creed" discussion furthers the Writers Institute's tradition of fostering community engagement and sparking debates on sometimes challenging topics.

The institute's "Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World" symposium in 2017 included spirited talks on  gerrymandering, fake news and political corruption. Last fall's Albany Book Festival featured a "New Americans" panel of immigrants whose memoirs revealed experiences both sorrowful and uplifting.

Upcoming events at the University at Albany carry forward the "American Creed" theme. On Friday, Sept. 6, we welcome legendary newsman Dan Rather, author of the New York Times bestseller, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, a collection of essays on what it means to be an American. On Saturday, Sept. 14, the 2nd Annual Book Festival will highlight notable authors and poets whose works compel us to confront uncomfortable topics in our increasingly divided nation.

Rather's event, presented free and open to the public by the university's Speaker Series, will include a question and answer session, a rare opportunity to engage with a newsman who has interviewed every president since Eisenhower, During an interview with NPR's "All Things Considered," Rather was asked about patriotism and politics and he replied,

"I remind myself and try to remind others that, you know, the country as a whole is stronger than any president, and that if we just lower the volume and say, 'Let's have civil discourse,' and to return, yes, to our core American values, take an attitude of, 'Listen, we agree on so much — we agree on the right to vote, we agree on the need for empathy.'

There are fundamental things that we agree on, so concentrate on those things — and where we have disagreements, say, 'OK, we disagree about these things. Let's discuss them in a very civil manner, lower the temperature and talk to one another.'"

The "American Creed" screening and community discussion will be held 4-6 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at The Carey Institute's Guggenheim Pavilion, 63 Huyck Rd, Rensselaerville, NY 12147. The event is is free and open to the public. 

To register, visit The Carey Institute website. For more information, call The Rensselaerville Library at 518-797-3949.

More Information

AMERICAN CREED Community Conversations are film screenings and scholar-facilitated discussions that mirror the type of conversation Rice and Kennedy have in the film; one designed to engage Americans in reflection and dialogue about their own part in the American story, and in acting to shape that story for the better.


Rensselaerville Library is hosting a community conversation screening and facilitated discussion to provide space where we can bring our various backgrounds, life experiences and points of view together to explore the questions integral to our democracy.


This opportunity will demonstrate how an audience with a wide range of beliefs can come together and respectfully discuss the reasons for different interpretations. It is anticipated that the notes captured from the discussions will encourage and support future conversations or activities.

More at www.americancreed.org