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32nd Anniversary Renaissance Weekend Convenes for New Year's in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C., Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Renaissance Weekend, the non-partisan retreat founded in 1981 to build bridges among innovative leaders from diverse fields, tomorrow brings 1,200 participants to Charleston, South Carolina, for 500 lectures, seminars, discussions, and performances concluding with their traditional singing of "Auld Lang Syne" and "God Bless America" at the stroke of the New Year.

The tradition was founded and is hosted by the former US Ambassador to the Court of St. James's Philip Lader, who is chairman of WPP plc, the world's largest advertising/media services company, and his wife, Linda Lader.

"For 32 years," Ambassador Lader said, "Renaissance Weekend has continued to be a cross-generational conversation among accomplished individuals with widely divergent perspectives.  Civility prevails, partisanship is frowned upon, and commercialism is banned."

"Though strikingly different views of religion, politics, media, science, and every other field are represented, there is more light than heat," Lader added.

The meetings are likened to the reunion of "an extended family" of prominent leaders in business and finance, education, religion, law, medicine, government, the media, science, technology, sports, non-profits and the arts.  This year's gathering includes CEOs, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, Nobel laureates, MacArthur "Genius" Award-winners and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Oscar winners, artists and scientists, astronauts, athletes and university presidents, judges, journalists and diplomats, concert performers as well as government, non-profit, military and religious  leaders. 

The preponderance of participants have attended regularly throughout Renaissance's 32-year history.  In response to three decades of Renaissance ideas and challenges, hundreds of participants entered public service, started businesses, founded non-profit organizations, and established private foundations.  Also, more than 20 marriages resulted from couples meeting at these Weekends.

Prominent national figures will again be among the "surprise guests" at this New Year's Renaissance Weekend.

The New Year's Weekend's 500 programs, which will include the pre-release screening of motion picture produced by one of the participants, address a broad spectrum of public policy and personal issues, such as:

  • The Shattered Lives of Sandy Hook – Meaning for the Nation
  • New Realities of the Middle East
  • How Does America's Fiscal Mess Get Fixed?
  • The Bonfire of Partisanship
  • "Duty, Honor, Country"  (What Should We Expect in Our Military Leaders?)
  • America's Energy Revolution
  • "Modern Family's America – Its Implications for Ensuing Generations
  • Why Does Capitalism Have an Image Problem?
  • What Does "Gangnam Style" Tell Us about Pop Culture?
  • Road Maps for Social Media & Big Data
  • Reinventing Philanthropy through Strategic Giving
  • Astronauts' & Astrophysicists' Insights from Outer Space
  • Impact of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on Education
  • Red, White & Blurred – How's America's Political Process Changing
  • Preparing Your Culture for Tomorrow's Employees
  • When China Sneezes
  • Can Class & Mass Co-exist in Media?
  • Zigging When Financial Markets Zag
  • Faith in Turbulent Times
  • Has the Dating Game Gone Partisan?
  • Why Do Ayn Rand's Books Outsell Karl Marx's 16-fold?
  • Was 2012's Race "The Campaign to Nowhere?"

The New Year's gathering is designed to be the largest of five annual Renaissance Weekends, with 2013 sessions scheduled for Santa Monica on Presidents' Day, Jackson Hole on July 4th, Monterey Bay on Labor Day, and Napa Valley on Columbus Day.

"Each Renaissance Weekend over these past 32 years has sought, with equally distinguished participants, to build bridges across traditional divides of religion, politics, and philosophies, generations, geography and personal backgrounds," Mrs. Lader, a Presbyterian minister, explained.

Past participants have regularly included former US Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Bill Clinton, as well as more than 18 past candidates for President and scores of Cabinet members, Governors, & US Senators, Nobel laureates and MacArthur "Genius" Award-, Pulitzer Prize-, Oscar- and Emmy-winners, Olympic champions and astronauts, best-selling authors, celebrated CEOs and investment managers, Internet pioneers and entrepreneurs, and leaders in education, non-profits, social services, law and medicine.  Illustrative lists of past participants, the history of the programs, information about the founders, and other details may be found at www.RenaissanceWeekend.org.

(WPP plc, of which Ambassador Lader is Chairman – the parent company for Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam, Grey Global, Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, Kantar, Group M, and scores of other global companies – has 141,000 employees, in 2,800 offices, in 110 countries.)

SOURCE The Renaissance Institute

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