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Robert Putnam, the Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, author of the landmark bestseller, Bowling Alone, and consultant to four U.S. presidents, joins ALOUD for a wide-ranging conversation about the past and future of community life in America. This program is presented in association with the special exhibition, Something in Common, currently on view at Los Angeles Central Library, and further explores the importance of connection for our physical and civic health. In his most recent book, The Upswing, Dr. Putnam draws on his inimitable combination of statistical analysis and storytelling to analyze the trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. 

Robert D. Putnam

Robert D. Putnam is the Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association, in 2006 he received the Skytte Prize, the world’s highest accolade for a political scientist.  In 2012 Barack Obama awarded Bob the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities.  He has written fifteen books, translated into twenty languages, including Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Italy and Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, both among the most cited (and bestselling) social science works in nearly a century.  He has consulted for Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama, as well as presidents and prime ministers from the UK, Ireland, and Finland to South Korea and Singapore. His most recent book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again (2020), is a widely praised study of broad 20th century American economic, social, political, and cultural trends.    


Dr. Vivek H. Murthy

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021 to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States. He previously served as the 19th Surgeon General under President Obama. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public. As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy also commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations. The first Surgeon General of Indian descent, Dr. Murthy was raised in Miami and is a graduate of Harvard, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Management. He also recently launched a new podcast, House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy, designed around how conversations have the power to be healing.  A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, author, and mango aficionado, he lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children.