North Dakota Nice: A game-changing festival in pursuit of what matters most

The amazing people behind Humanities North Dakota didn’t want you to have leave the state to encounter some of the most powerful thinkers in the world, and so they created the GameChanger Ideas Festival – a day-long adventure across multiple voices on a single issue that is challenging North Dakotans today.  Held in Bismarck on October 13, 2018 and inspired by the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Atlantic Festival, the goal of the GameChanger Ideas Festival is to create more thoughtful and informed citizens that can help lead our state and country through these challenges.

From the GameChanger website:

We invite people to our stage who challenge the status quo and strive to make changes to critical systems that honor our shared humanity. We believe that civil disagreement and debate are stepping stones for learning. The GameChanger Ideas Festival does not take political stances on issues. Instead we strive to offer a variety of viewpoints from people with both scholarly insight and hands-on knowledge. These aren’t just people with good ideas, but people who have put their ideas to action in the real world.

This year’s GameChanger topic is “The Pursuit of Health and Happiness: Find out what really matters in the end.”  The festival will kick off the evening before with a “A Beautiful Hell,” a play on the sorrow and joy of the journey of a terminal illness.  The big event includes discussions on questions such as, “Can we disrupt aging?”,  “Why are we so afraid of death and dying?”, and “How responsible are parents for who their children grow up to be?”.  On October 14, the documentary “Far from the Tree” will be screened for free for participants, and examines the lives of children who differ greatly from their parents.

As a part of their annual GameChanging tour de force, Humanities North Dakota has put together a series of Community GameChanger videos, focused on North Dakotans who are making a difference on the ground.  Often unsung heroes, many of the fourteen individuals selected are unsung heroes who deserve a spotlight as proof that one person can be the change they want to see in the world.  You can watch the first five videos in the series now here.

Humanities North Dakota is an independent non-profit led by Executive Director Brenna Gerhardt, Associate Director Kenneth Glass, Development Officer Corby Kemmer, and Program Officer Kayla Schmidt.  The organization is not a state agency and does not receive state funding, and is governed by a 12-person board made up of Elizabeth Sund, Ann Crews Melton, Bethany Andreasen, Mark Clemons, Marilyn Foss, John Heinen, Dr. Eric Johnson, Leslie W. Peltier, Ken Schmierer, Carol Kapaun Ratchenski, Iris Swedlund, and Sarah Vogel.

Thank you to the organizers, speakers, sponsors, and all of the “students of life” for celebrating, challenging, and communicating with one another for the benefit of us all!

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