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Dreyfuss to launch initiative, give lecture

By Staff | Sep 16, 2011

Actor Richard Dreyfuss will speak at a Constitution Week event at Shepherd University Saturday, Sept. 17 as part of his work to bring the Dreyfuss Initiative to Jefferson County.

According to the initiative’s Executive Director Scott Faulkner, a Harpers Ferry resident, the Dreyfuss Initiative in Jefferson County will focus on three tasks.

The first is to improve instruction of civics in local schools by offering new resources and learning materials to teachers. The second is the development of a “global think tank” in Jefferson County.

Faulkner explained that the Dreyfuss Initiative is in the process of purchasing Happy Retreat, the historic home of Charles Washington, for uses as the “Charles Washington Institute of the Enlightenment.”

The institute will serve as a home for scholars from all over the world researching enlightenment era theory.

“There is no other center anywhere in the world that explicitly studies that,” he said.

The center will also offer public programs and discussions and will serve as a meeting house for global experts.

Faulkner said the initiative plans to partner with the Friends of Happy Retreat as well as the Washington Heritage Fund in its efforts.

Happy Retreat will also act as a visitors center for those interested in learning more about all of the Washington homes and plans are in the works to link Happy Retreat with all the other historic spots along the Washington Heritage trail.

The third task of the Dreyfuss Initiative is to produce cultural work that promotes the importance of civic duty and responsibility.

“We want mass and popular culture to support what America is about,” Faulkner said.

This initiative will include the development of plays, films and television shows focused on events in American history aimed at educating the public.

Dreyfuss will make appearances in Charles Town Saturday morning and afternoon.

Dreyfuss’s lecture will take place at 6 p.m. at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies on Shepherd’s campus and will focus on the history of the Constitutional Convention and democracy.

More information about the Dreyfuss Initiative can be found by visiting www.thedreyfussinitiative.org.