The Cherry Pie Society
The Cherry Pie Society Logo
The Cherry Pie Society is Ashdown's intellectual discussion group, open to every member of the Ashdown Community. Founded more than 50 years ago, the Cherry Pie Society was originally the name of a group of Ashdown House residents who would meet up from time to time for dinner to discuss intellectual topics. Every meeting would end with dessert, typically cherry pie since that was a personal favorite of one the Cherry Pie Society's original members, Housemaster Avery Ashdown.
The modern incarnation of the Cherry Pie Society dates back to 2012 and closely resembles the original Cherry Pie Society in both spirit and format. The topic of each meeting is introduced by a Society member through a short presentation, after which a discussion of the topic amongst attendees commences. The discussions typically last 1.5-2 hours and are accompanied by tea/coffee, light refreshements, dinner (sometimes) and, of course, cherry pie (always)! Occassionally, documentaries or video clips are shown and guest speakers invited (e.g., at a March 2014 meeting Professor Christopher Leighton of MIT was invited to contribute to a discussion about a documentary on democracy in China). At the end of every meeting, each attendee is invited to give their closing opinion on the topic at hand.
Every meeting is run according to the Cherry Pie Ideal, an emphasis on mutual respect, openness and fair discourse. Debate is allowed (and sometimes encouraged), but, at all times, attendees are urged to remain cordial and courteous to others with whom they disagree.
A partial list of past Cherry Pie discussion topics include:
Cherry Pie Society officers include: