Adam Davis

Adam Davis is the executive director of Oregon Humanities, which works toward an Oregon that invites diverse perspectives, explores challenging questions, and strives for just communities. Before joining Oregon Humanities in 2013, Davis directed the Center for Civic Reflection, where he trained thousands of discussion facilitators and founded “Justice Talking,” a program for AmeriCorps and other service organizations across the country.

Davis has edited several books, including The Civically Engaged Reader and Taking Action, interviewed dozens of authors and thinkers in front of audiences across Oregon, and taught literature and philosophy for many years in the Odyssey Project and Humanity in Perspective, college courses for adults living near the poverty line. He also co-founded and directed Camp of Dreams, which provides year-round educational and cultural programming to underserved young people on Chicago’s west and south side. Davis received his PhD from the University of Chicago, and he used to lead wilderness trail crews in the Pacific Northwest.



Adam’s Monday Sessions:

Talk is Cheap, Listening is Cheaper, We Need Both: What Nonprofits Can Offer

Keynote Address by Adam Davis, Executive Director, Oregon Humanities

In this busy world, listening is one of the true gifts we have to offer each other.  Each day is filled with information. People are telling their stories through a variety of media, and the way we communicate is changing.  Listening to others is still essential to doing good and sustainable, nonprofit work.  

In his keynote address Adam Davis, Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, will explore how nonprofit practice includes many (often hidden) opportunities to do important work that bridges differences. Davis will highlight the power of bringing people together around our mission-driven work and will give examples of times when thinking and talking about why we do what we do led to unexpected and positive results.


From Saving to Serving: On Intervening in the Lives of Others

Many of us try to make a positive difference in the world through our work and volunteering, and we often find that this can be difficult. The language of helping reflects this difficulty. Charity sounds admirable to some and offensive to others. Service can be bland, saving can be paternalistic, and social entrepreneurship can feel corporate. Join Adam Davis, the Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, for a conversation exploring why it’s so hard to find the right words for the good work we try to do in the world. How should we think and talk about our efforts to make positive change?

Presented by Adam Davis, Executive Director, Oregon Humanities