In a symposium for charities on the front lines of the battle against Covid-19, three of the nation’s sagest visionaries will come together on May 17 to discuss how the pandemic will indelibly change the country and affect the daily life of every American.

The program is part of the “Conversations on the Green” series in the Greater New Milford area.

A trio of renowned panelists will participate: historian Douglas Brinkley, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a leading voice on devising national policies to battle the ongoing pandemic.

The forum, which will be moderated by former NBC correspondent and national talk show host Jane Whitney, is the opening event of COG’s eighth season and will be interactive, allowing viewers to participate and pose questions for the panelists.

The discussion, “Life After COVID-19: A Brave New World,” is designed to sketch an outline of how the pandemic’s legacy will reverberate through time and grows out of the history of previous contagions.

The fall of the Roman empire is widely attributed to the Antonine Plague in the late 100s while Europe’s social order was upended by the Black Death in the mid-1300s.

More recently, even less deadly crises - such as The Great Depression, the fall of the Berlin Wall or the collapse of Lehman Brothers - sent shockwaves racing around the globe and provoked profound but previously unimaginable changes in the way we live and think.

COVID-19 is the latest in this long line of seismic shifts to shatter our preconceptions about our futures.

Just as it has destroyed lives, disrupted markets and exposed the incompetence of governments, it inevitably will reorder society and lead to permanent changes in political and economic power.

But the crisis concurrently presents unexpected opportunities: more sophisticated and flexible use of technology, a new commitment to battling climate change, a realignment of the global order, renewed appreciation of personal responsibility, a reduction in materialism as well as fresh gratitude for the joys of rural lifestyles and other simple pleasures.

The panelists will help make sense of these history shaping prospects.

Brinkley is an historian and author of more than a dozen best-selling books on myriad social and cultural trends.

A Rice University professor, he is a noted student of the presidency and international relations, a CNN commentator and a Vanity Fair contributing editor as well as a prominent spokesperson on conservation issues.

The winner of two Pulitzer prizes including one for his coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests, Kristof grew up on an Oregon sheep and cherry farm, covered economics and presidential politics for the paper and is renowned for giving, as the Pulitzer committee noted, “voice to the voiceless.”

Celebrated as a renaissance thinker, Emanuel is an oncologist and bioethicist, a leader in crafting national COVID-19 policy, a vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization.

The symposium, which will begin at 3 p.m. and run 90 minutes, will be live streamed, allowing anyone with an internet-connected device to participate and ask questions.

Tickets are $25 and require advance registration at, where participants can leave a question for the panelists.

On the day of the event, registrants will be sent a link to the live stream and a private password to the channel.

All net proceeds of the event support charities on the front lines of the battle against the pandemic, including the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund, which provides immediate assistance to those risking their lives during this crisis; Greenwoods Counseling Referrals Inc., which provides access to compassionate and high quality mental health care; Susan B. Anthony Project, which promotes safety, healing and growth for all survivors of domestic and sexual abuse; and New Milford Hospital, a provider of cutting edge medical care to the northwest Connecticut community.