FLORIDA: CHOOSING THE FUTURE is a unique television special that covers critical issues facing Florida, its leaders and its people as Floridians move forward economically, politically and socially. WEDU is planning a statewide premiere broadcast on Thursday, September 23 at 9:00pm. The program is a one hour discussion including major leaders and thinkers who have shaped and will continue to shape Florida.
The program is produced by WEDU in association with Fred Friendly Seminars and with the support of the Florida Humanities Council and Reubin Askew Institute on Politics and Society. The program is a dialogue between a moderator and 13 panelists and the discussion will follow the Socratic Method. This Fred Friendly Seminar is an artful combination of hypothetical stories and hard hitting issues, woven together by a moderator who unfolds a fictional scenario for a carefully cast panel of participants. These “hypothetical” scenarios guide participants in finding ways to solve problems facing Florida and how as a community we can build for a brighter future. The idea is to have participants think of ways to work together to solve problems. To break away from political and social ideology and look at the human side of each equation and provide personal perspective based on knowledge, expertise and skills that they can bring to finding and providing solutions. The panelist play roles in a fictional story and experience and reveal the complexity of issues with greater depth and drama than a standard debate would ever expose.
Program Moderator Arthur Miller is a University Professor at NYU’s School of Law and the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. In the 1970’s, Miller pioneered legal TV with his program, “Miller’s Court”, a show that helped make legal issues and information accessible to the general public. He is one of the original members of the Fred Friendly team and has moderated countless seminars on critical issues facing all Americans. He moderated the nationally acclaimed series THE CONSTITUTION: That Delicate Balance and more recently hosted Reinventing Healthcare.
The panelist include a wide array of business leaders, politicians, community activist, media professionals and educators. Key participants included:
Bob Graham- Florida’s 38th Governor and former U.S. Senator for Florida as well as Presidential Candidate in 2003.
Eduardo Padrón- President of Miami Dade College, the largest institution of higher education in America with over 170,000 students. Time magazine included him as one of “The 10 Best College Presidents.”
Pam Iorio- Tampa’s current mayor, Pam has served in the past as a Hillsborough County Commissioner and Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.
The rest of the panelists include Helen Aguirre Ferré, Dr. David Colburn, Saif Ishoof, Jon Mills, Philip Mobley, Lucy Morgan, Mark Kaplan, Steve Seibert, Ruben Jose King-Shaw, and Susan Story.
The program opens with a hypothetical situation for “Utopia County”, a place in Florida where the economy is driven by tourism at the beaches. Senator Bob Graham plays the role of outgoing county commissioner and sets up a scenario of a grim environmental disaster he once faced as a commissioner. An oil well devastated their community beaches and wrecked the local economy. Incoming commissioner Pam Iorio provides immediate solutions and the program is off and running. Issues including growth, economy, home foreclosures, education, business, jobs and growth management are enumerated through several scenarios provided by moderator Arthur Miller. The panel struggled with these issues and offered up solutions that can bring Floridians together in solving problems facing us today. 13 thought leaders of Florida come together for 1 hour to show their vision of Florida: Choosing the Future.