The Nantucket Project is a Win for the Island
More can be done to involve the year round population
At this time last week I was standing in the back of the tent at the third annual Nantucket Project listening to an expert on national security talk about the future of potential threats against our nation. She was part of a slate of more than 60 speakers that in a four day span covered a variety of topics that included politics, business, economics and religion to name a few. They came from all over the world and represented some of the brightest minds in their respective fields.
This was my first time at the Project and found it to be an inspiring few days, and really something the Nantucket community should be proud to host. That sentiment is evident in the business community here on island as there were many sponsors that helped make the event possible.
Situated inside a large tent on the back lawn of The White Elephant (a property of one of the Project's key sponsors, Steve and Jill Karp), this year's TNP was sold out with more than 500 attendees packing out the facility. I attended as a volunteer and was fortunate to be able to hear nearly all the speakers.
A theme that emerged throughout the long weekend was one of working together and finding common ground, no matter your political or social ideology. A wide array of viewpoints were presented and nearly all responded with a respectful discourse.
The ideas and arguments presented were inspiring and motivating and one of the only things missing, from my perspective, was more of a local presence. The majority of the attendees are people with a great deal of means and power, both in the political and social realms. This absence is not something specific to TNP, but a product of the Nantucket culture. And as a distinction from some of the other major "summer" events on Nantucket, the Project itself isn't necessarily meant to cater to the local population, as much as it serves as an attractive backdrop to an event where really important things are discussed by people who have the power and ability to change the climate we live in. That said, I think the Project and the Nantucket community would benefit from an event open to the public, featuring one of their keynote speakers at the Nantucket High School or the Dreamland Theatre. I don't mean to belittle the island's role in the Project, as it is clearly important to the founders (Tom Scott and Kate Brosnan) and many of the sponsors that it take place here.
On an island 30 miles at sea, it is easy to forget that we are increasingly more and more a part of a global community that we have the ability to contribute to on a daily basis. As an example of how TNP DOES contribute to the Nantucket community, it has a Fellows Program comprised of local business and community leaders, who attend and participate at the Project on a variety of levels.
There are also several young Nantucket entrepreneurs who are making a global impact and are invited to the Project annually to get inspired and grow a network of contacts that can further their work around the globe.
Overall the Project is a great thing for Nantucket and something I will continue to try to be a part of, but I really do believe organizers should give the year round community a better glimpse into the great things they have going on.