Recordings of Convocations
Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, convocation audio files are archived separately from video files. View the audio archives.
- Created 17 October 2014; Published 21 October 2014Convocation: Robert Paarlberg ’67
Robert Paarlberg ’67 is a researcher on food and agricultural policy, with a focus on farming technologies and poverty in the developing world. This topic connects Paarlberg both to his own family history (his father grew up on a farm in Indiana) and to an important current issue in international development: how to help farmers in Africa – most of whom are women – increase their productivity to better feed their families and escape poverty. His book, Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa, explains why poor African farmers are denied access to productive technologies, particularly genetically engineered seeds with improved resistance to insects and drought. He also has published books on the use of food as a weapon (Food Trade and Foreign Policy), on international agricultural trade negotiations (Fixing Farm Trade), on environmentally sustainable farming in developing countries (Countrysides at Risk), on U.S. foreign economic policy (Leadership Abroad Begins at Home), on the reform of U.S. agricultural policy (Policy Reform in American Agriculture), and on the regulation of biotechnology in developing countries (The Politics of Precaution). In the past decade Paarlberg has worked in more than a dozen countries in Africa, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the United States Agency for International Development. Paarlberg is a Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. The title of his presentation is "The Political Fight over Food and Farming: Who is Winning?" (Sponsored by the Class of 1957 Revolving Lectureship Fund)
- Created 10 October 2014; Published 21 October 2014Convocation: Jake Porway
Jake Porway is a matchmaker. He sees social change organizations working hard to make the world a better place, collecting mountains of data, but lacking skills and resources to understand and use that wealth of information to advance their mission. He sees data scientists with amazing skills and cutting-edge tools eager to use their talent to accomplish something meaningful, yet cut off from channels that would allow them to do so. He sees governments ready to make unprecedented amounts of data open and available, but disconnected from people who need it. For Porway, it's a match waiting to happen and exactly why he founded DataKind (formerly Data Without Borders). They connect nonprofits, NGOs, and other data-rich social change organizations with data scientists willing to donate their time and knowledge to solve social, environmental, and community problems. Porway pionts out that there are dozens of apps to help us find movies or choose restaurants. Nice, but isn’t that really just making very comfortable lives slightly more comfortable? What if we also used the power of data analysis to do something that could change the world? The title of his presentation is “Using Data for the Greater Good.” (Sponsored by the QuIRK Initiative, the Thomas M. Crosby Sr. Lectureship Fund, and the M.H. Wright Family Fund)
- Created 3 October 2014; Published 20 October 2014Convocation: Daisy Hernández
Daisy Hernández grew up in New Jersey. That’s where she heard the best stories about Cuba and Colombia and this lady who knows how to eat an avocado so you won’t get pregnant. It’s also where she first learned about race, sex, money, and love. These stories are captured in her new book, A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir. Hernández is also co-editor of the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, which is taught in women studies classes alongside the classic works of feminist theories. At ColorLines, a newsmagazine on race and politics, Hernández worked with a virtual, multi-racial newsroom of reporters, activists, and bloggers. Previously, Hernández was a columnist for Ms. Magazine and worked on the metro desk of The New York Times. Her commentaries have appeared in several publications and her essays have been published in multiple anthologies. The title of her presentation is "Feminism, Sofia Vergara, and Writing about Familia: A Talk on Media Representations." (Sponsored by the Office of Intercultural and International Life)
- Created 26 September 2014; Published 29 September 2014Convocation: Stephen Strand
Economics Professor Stephen Strand presents the annual Argument and Inquiry Seminar Convocation.
- Created 30 May 2014; Published 2 September 2014Honors Convocation 2014
The Honors Convocation is held each year on the last Friday of spring term, drawing the campus community together to celebrate the awards and academic accomplishments of our students. This year's address was delivered by Hibah Hussain, who graduated from Carleton in 2008 with a B.A. in English and went on to earn a Master of Science degree with a concentration in Media Studies from the London School of Economics.
Hussain served as a media research fellow at Columbia University, an account optimizer at Google, and a technology policy analyst at The New America Foundation before recently returning to Google as a public policy analyst in Washington D.C. Among other topics, her research focuses on the international digital media landscape and the links between policy, technology, and economic development. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate at Carleton, Hussain was also a member of Mortar Board and recipient of both the Ruth Weimer Mount Fellowship and the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship.
- Created 11 April 2014; Published 2 September 2014Convocation: Mel Duncan
In an age when unarmed civilians are apt to get caught in the crosshairs of conflict, Mel Duncan has a radical idea about who should stave off war's "collateral damage:" other unarmed civilians. Duncan's Nonviolent Peaceforce, founded in 2002, dispatches international teams of trained, unarmed peacekeepers to conflict zones where civil society has been caught in the crossfire. Unlike the blue-helmeted U.N. troops, these peacekeepers are immersed in local society to make connections and build trust. Their lack of weapons helps, too. "Peacekeeping isn't always most effective when it’s done at the end of a gun," says Duncan. Sometimes simply being a presence can provide protection. Often, serving as a conduit of nonpartisan information is key.
Duncan’s peacekeepers go only where they've been invited by civil society groups, and where extensive analysis determines that their presence and limited resources can be effective. "No one can make anyone else’s peace for them," says Duncan. "[We] help create the space where local people can do their work and stay alive." The title of his presentation is "Nonviolent Peacekeeping: Hard Nosed Hope in a Tough World."
- Created 4 April 2014; Published 14 April 2014Convocation: Annie Houle
Annie Houle is National Director of Campus and Community Initiatives for The WAGE Project, Inc., an organization established for one purpose: to end discrimination against women in the American workplace in the near future. Over her working life, a woman will earn $1 million less than a man simply because she is a woman. WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) seeks to eliminate the gender wage gap for every woman in America, inspiring and helping working women to take the steps needed so that every woman is paid what she’s worth. The title of her presentation is "Eliminating the Gender Wage Gap."
- Created 28 February 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Stewart Ramsey
Social entrepreneur Stewart Ramsey is on a mission to revolutionize what it means to do business and to do good. As a college student in 2007, Ramsey and three close friends founded Krochet Kids intl. (KKi), a non-profit lifestyle brand focused on empowering communities and engaging customers to make a sustainable impact on global poverty.
As high schools students, Ramsey and friends began selling hats they crocheted for a little spending money and were dubbed the “Krochet Kids” by their hometown newspaper. But they never imagined the hobby would blossom into a global movement. Ramsey discovered his passion while he was traveling around the world learning to volunteer.
During one trip to northern Uganda on his summer break from college, he encountered a population of people who had become isolated and dependent upon others due to the impact of a rebel army. Yet, he also saw the desire and capability they had to change their circumstances, if given the opportunity. His experiences became the foundation for the work of KKi.
Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Krochet Kids employs more than 100 people in Northern Uganda through the production of their handmade headwear and fashion accessories and have recently started a new program in Peru. Now spanning three continents, their work connects the producer with the customer through a hand-signed label that accompanies every product. The title of his presentation is “Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship: Creating a Cycle of Success.”
- Created 21 February 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Joan Morgan
An award-winning journalist and author, Joan Morgan is a provocative cultural critic. Her groundbreaking book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, marked the literary debut of one of the most original, perceptive and engaging young social commentators in America today. In this fresh, funky, and ferociously honest book, Morgan bravely probed the complex issues facing African-American women in today's world: a world where feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasure their independence often prefer men who pick up the tab; and where the deluge of babymothers and babyfathers reminds black women who long for marriage that traditional nuclear families are a reality for less than 40 percent of the African-American population.
In light of the candidacy and election of President Barack Obama, Morgan now takes a look at the changing racial and ethnic composition of America since Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963 and examines several insightful questions: What would Dr. King make of the changing makeup of America and its impact on America's black and white racial binary? Who are we talking about in 2013, when we use the term African American? How useful is it to still use the terms Black and African American interchangeably? And finally, what impact does this heterogeneous and multi-ethnic American Blackness have on the country from a political, social and economic perspective? The title of her presentation is "Is America 'Post-Racial'?"
- Created 14 February 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Kimberly Bryant
BlackGirlsCode was founded in 2011 by Kimberly Bryant, a biotechnology/engineering professional, to meet the needs of young women of color who are underrepresented in the currently exploding field of technology. Her vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering preteen and teenage girls of color to become innovators in science/technology/engineering/math fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. The title of her presentation is "Behind the Click: Securing the Future for Girls of Color as the Tech Leaders and Creators of Tomorrow."
- Created 7 February 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Joy DeGruy
Renowned educator, psychologist, and social worker Joy DeGruy is the author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. While African Americans managed to emerge from chattel slavery and the oppressive decades that followed with great strength and resiliency, they did not emerge unscathed. Slavery produced centuries of physical, psychological and spiritual injury. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can eliminate non-productive attitudes, beliefs and adaptive behaviors and, build upon the strengths we have gained from the past to heal injuries of today.
- Created 31 January 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Marco Werman
Marco Werman is the host and senior producer of Public Radio International's "The World," a weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Werman got his start in radio while freelancing in Burkina Faso, West Africa, for the BBC World Service, where he later worked as a producer. In 1995, he was invited to assist in creating the format for The World where he has worked since.
In 1997, he began producing the Global Hit segment, in which musicians and musical trends around the globe are linked and used as a lens to understand the news. Werman has received awards for an original radio drama, for an exposé on child labor in West African gold mines, for a BBC documentary on the 1987 assassination of Burkina Faso’s president, and for coverage of diversity issues. Werman was the first of American television and radio journalist to go to Libya after Muammar al-Gaddafi renounced weapons of mass destruction in December 2003, and in 2007 won an Emmy for his story "Libya: Out of the Shadow" on the PBS program Frontline/World, about the 2006 total solar eclipse that brought thousands of tourists to Libya just after it had rejoined the community of nations.
Werman will discuss the importance of public broadcast as a means of keeping Americans informed and connected with global issues. The title of his presentation is "Stories, Not Punditry."
- Created 24 January 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Sidney Wolff '62
Since Galileo first looked through a telescope at the moons of Jupiter, we have been finding better ways to gaze at the heavens. And since Sidney Wolff '62 started her career in astronomy, she has been involved in many of the most cutting-edge new telescope projects.
Truly a "starblazer," Wolff is the first woman to serve as director of a major U.S. observatory and to have led the construction of six premier telescopes. She also is the founding editor of Astronomy Education Review. In addition, Wolff’s research on stellar atmospheres and the evolution, formation, and composition of stars is internationally recognized. The title of her presentation is "Exploring New Worlds."
- Created 17 January 2014; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Lewis Hyde
Regarded as an intellectual among artists, and an artist among intellectuals, Lewis Hyde is a scholar, essayist, translator, cultural critic and writer whose scholarly work focuses on the nature of imagination, creativity, and property. Hyde offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present.
Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is “intellectual property,” Hyde turns to America’s Founding Fathers—men such as Adams, Madison, and Jefferson—in search of other ways to imagine the fruits of human wit and imagination. What he ends up describing is a rich tradition in which knowledge was assumed to be a commonwealth, not a private preserve. For the founders, democratic self-governance itself demanded open and easy access to ideas. So did the growth of creative communities such as that of eighteenth-century science. And so did the flourishing of public persons, the very actors whose “civic virtue” brought the nation into being.
Bringing the past to bear on present matters, Hyde sheds fresh light on everything from the Human Genome Project to Bob Dylan’s musical roots. In so doing, he allows us to stand on the shoulders of America’s revolutionary giants and thus to see beyond today’s narrow debates over cultural ownership. What he reveals is nothing less than a vision of how to reclaim the commonwealth of art and ideas that we were meant to inherit. The title of his presentation is "Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership."
- Created 8 November 2013; Published 27 March 2014Convocation: Zonnie Gorman
Recognized historian of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, Zonnie Gorman is an expert in her field and a dedicated teacher. The daughter of one of the original Code Talkers, she appeared in and been consultant to several documentaries including the History Channel documentary Navajo Code Talkers, the movie Windtalkers, and the documentary True Whispers.
In addition to serving as consultant for museum exhibitions and books on the subject, Gorman has lectured extensively throughout the United States at colleges and universities, museums and other institutions, including the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.
Gorman is currently the Project Coordinator for the Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project, a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of Navajo role models to youth and fosters cultural pride and self-worth, while educating them along with non-Navajos about the rich history, culture, language and contributions of the Navajo people. The title of her presentation is "Growing Up With Heroes: Navajo Code Talkers of World War II."