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Who Needs Answers?

This story appeared in The Harvard Gazette.

“Works of art are designed to take us as quickly as possible to our most important questions,” Steven Seidel told an audience of artists and educators gathered at Farkas Hall on Monday night. It was the start of the 2015 Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute, three days of workshops, performances, and conversations hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Silkroad, the cultural organization founded by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

By now, in its fourth year, the event has acquired the air of a soiree — or a barn-raising. A celebratory buzz filled the hall, fueled by the particular energy of nearly 100 creative people from around the world coming together to trace connections among passion, inspiration, and learning.

The powerful questions that Seidel evoked were asked, answered, and then asked again — both in his opening conversation with Ma and in the exhilarating performance that followed, as the Silk Road Ensemble seemed to enact passion-driven learning right there on stage. As conferences go, there’s none with a better soundtrack...

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