When Bruce Eckman, co-chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center’s Summer Institute committee, reached out to Danielle Allen as a potential speaker this summer he had no idea she would later announce her candidacy for governor of Massachusetts. He was just excited to hear the Harvard professor talk about her work.

“It’s amazing how much this woman has done in her life, given how young she is,” Mr. Eckman said in an interview this week.

Ms. Allen will give a talk at the Hebrew Center on Thursday, July 15, as the second speaker in the series, which began last week with a talk by Michael Sandel.

A MacArthur Foundation fellow who has chaired the boards of both the Mellon Foundation and the Pulitzer Prize, Ms. Allen was the 2020 recipient of the Library of Congress’s Kluge Prize, which honors scholarship in areas not covered by the Nobel Prize.

Her candidacy for governor came as a surprise to Mr. Eckman and his wife Shelley, who co-chairs the committee. Mr. Eckman said the talk will focus on her work, and not her candidacy.

“We keep that totally separate from the topic,” Mr. Eckman said, noting that Ms. Allen employs different secretaries for her professional and political careers.

Next Thursday’s speaker is CNN news anchor and Washington correspondent Jake Tapper. His July 22 talk titled Fiction, Facts, and Lies: On Writing Novels and Covering Politics in 2021 is already sold out for in-person seating, but Zoom tickets are available through the Summer Institute website.

Harvard Medical School professor and dean George Q. Daley speaks on July 29 in a talk entitled Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness’s Response to Covid.

The Eckmans said audience members will be able to ask Dr. Daley their most pressing and personal Covid-related questions.

“There’s room for those,” Mr. Eckman said. “People feel better [when they] hear from experts.”

The plight of theatre during the pandemic, which has darkened Broadway for more than a year, inspired the institute’s August 5 booking of former New York Times drama critic Ben Brantley, who will speak on Theater, Now and Forever: Why the Fabulous Invalid Isn’t Dying.

The Fabulous Invalid, originally the title of a 1938 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart that traced the ups and downs of a fictitious Broadway playhouse at the center of the plot, has become a nickname for theatre itself.

A working critic for close to three decades, Mr. Brantley is also the author of The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century.

“He will give us some idea about what to look forward to,” Mr. Eckman said.

The Summer Institute’s final speaker, Vanderbilt University professor Michael Eric Dyson, will address a sold-out Hebrew Center crowd on July 12, with hundreds more listeners expected to join by Zoom. An author, broadcaster and contributing New York Times writer, Mr. Dyson is also an ordained minister who teaches in both Vanderbilt’s college of arts and sciences and its divinity school. His past appearances on the Vineyard have packed Union Chapel and the high school performing arts center, Mr. Eckman said.

Mr. Dyson’s speech topic, Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America, is also the title of his most recent book, published last December.

Along with the speaker series, the institute is hosting an abbreviated, online version of its annual accompanying film festival, beginning July 18 with the Israeli movie Here We Are, about a father and his autistic son.

On July 25, the documentary ‘Til Kingdom Come examines the alliance between conservative Christians and the state of Israel. Screening August 1, Italian feature Thou Shalt Not Hate is a drama about morality.

Ticketholders may view the film of the week at any time on the day of screening, the Eckmans said.

Speaker series events begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit mvsummerinstitute.org. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required to attend the in-person events.