The Big Question

How should life be?

Fall 2019

In 2019, The Big Question jump-started our year of inquiry, curiosity, and engagement with Maine’s bicentennial.


  • Virginie Akimana, Instructor, Portland Adult Education and Community Interpreter, Catholic Charities Maine
  • Libby Bischof, Professor of History and Executive Director of Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine
  • Maurice Habimfura, founder of the Imihamirizo Project and representative of Ikirenga cy’Intore
  • Michael Kebede, Policy Counsel, ACLU of Maine
  • Lisa Margonelli, Author of Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology
  • Darren Ranco, Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American Research, University of Maine



In 2019 we had a fabulous group of community co-sponsors — folks who are helped us spread the word, and who brought a group to join in the discussion.

Amjambo Africa! Maine Family Planning
For Us, By Us Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition
Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
Homeless Voices for Justice Portland Adult Education
In Her Presence Portland Overdose Prevention Society
Ladder to the Moon Network Portland Recovery Community Center
The Telling Room


What people are saying

  • “This evening has been a thoughtful exercise, a compassionate act, and an uncomfortable stretch.”


  • "Lovely day - more than informative: inspirational."


  • “This is such a fantastic idea- to have a multidisciplinary approach to these issues to encourage collaboration."


  • "[I was] exposed to more, and many, connections in Maine between organizations, institutions, and people."


Funded by:

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily
represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.