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 16 May 2014; Published 11 December 2014Convocation: Sandra Steingraber
Internationally recognized ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber explores the links between human rights and the environment. She has devoted her life’s work to understanding the ways in which chemical contaminants in air, water, and food endanger human health. As a cancer survivor with a doctorate in biology, Steingraber takes a personal and scientific look at what she regards as a human rights issue, and offers insights into how we can protect our environment and ourselves.
Winner of the Annual Heinz Award, Steingraber is the author of the powerful Raising Elijah: Protecting children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, and Living Downstream, which prompted a highly-acclaimed documentary of the same name. The title of her presentation is "The Whole Fracking Enchilada: Toward Meaningful Toxic Chemical Reform and a Rational Energy Policy."
- Created 9 May 2014; Published 11 December 2014Convocation: Sean Carasso
Sean Carasso, a young social entrepreneur, freedom fighter, industry innovator, and humanitarian, has spent the last four years running toward a goal most call impossible. In 2008 he went into the Democratic Republic of Congo where he learned of children sent to the frontlines of war, armed with only a whistle. That night he wrote a small journal entry, "Falling Whistles." The journal was forwarded around the world, and he woke up to thousands of emails asking: "What can we do?" The Falling Whistles campaign was born with a simple response—make their weapon your voice, and be a whistleblower for peace.
Out of a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, Falling Whistles invests in eight Congolese whistleblowers rebuilding their country, and is building a global coalition for peace in our world's deadliest war. Today, that coalition is over 50,000 strong. Carasso has been featured in Forbes and has been selected by the White House as a Next Generation Leader. He also coauthored Baptism of Liberty, a strategic brief endorsed by eight advocacy organizations, 35 Congressmen, and 16 senators, which led to a global call to action by 77 international organizations and 24,000 citizens. The title of his presentation is "The Power of the Individual: Youth Movements and Social Change."
- Created 2 May 2014; Published 11 December 2014Convocation: Kao Kalia Yang ’03
Kao Kalia Yang ’03 is a Minnesota writer with a story that stretches across the globe. The daughter of Hmong immigrants to Minnesota, Yang was born in a Thai refugee camp, Ban Vinai, in 1980. Her family came to Minnesota when she was seven.
In her book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, Yang recounts her family's journey from Laos to Minnesota—from her parents' first encounter and unceremonious marriage in the jungles of Laos, to their harrowing escape into Thailand, and subsequent relocation to Minnesota. In The Latehomecomer, Yang struggles to feel a sense of home—new to Minnesota, and cultural heir to centuries of homelessness. Yang’s interest in writing arose from her struggle with speaking English.
A graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University, Yang and her sister founded Words Wanted, a company dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services. The title of her presentation is "Returning To Our Stories."
- Created 25 April 2014; Published 11 December 2014Convocation: Philip Lilienthal
Philip Lilienthal is the founder and president of Global Camps Africa, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower children for an AIDS-free tomorrow. Global Camps Africa changes the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children and youth by providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and training through high-impact residential and day camp experiences and continuing education, equipping young people with the life skills that will support them in becoming safe and productive adults who have hope for the future.
A former Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia and a veteran camp owner in the United States, Lilienthal brought together his belief in the transformational nature of camp and his passion for helping people around the globe to create a powerful force in the lives of South African children.
In 2013, the National Peace Corps Association awarded Lilienthal the annual Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service. Named for the first Peace Corps Director, the annual award is given to a returned Peace Corps volunteer who continues to make a sustained and distinguished contribution, whether that be to humanitarian causes at home, abroad, or through innovative social entrepreneurial efforts to bring out significant long term change. The title of his presentation is "Having Fun and Doing Good: Impacting HIV/AIDS Through Experiential Learning (the Camp Experience)."
- Created 18 April 2014; Published 11 December 2014Convocation: Derreck Kayongo
A former Ugandan refugee, Derreck Kayongo created a global business vision out of his challenging life experience. In 1979, when Kayongo was ten, his family fled the civil war in Uganda for a better life in America. He never forgot the experience of homelessness and living in a refugee camp, and today he has made it his mission to help save the lives of millions of children in developing countries, one bar of soap at a time.
Each year, an estimated 3.5 million children die from illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia, which can be prevented through improved hygiene and sanitation. In 2009, Kayongo and his wife founded the Global Soap Project, which donates melted, purified and reprocessed hotel soap to vulnerable populations, an astonishingly simple yet highly effective and sustainable approach to global health.
Since establishing his non-profit, Kayongo has become known as a widely respected global health leader and social entrepreneur, and in 2011 he was among CNN’s "Top Ten Heroes" of the year. Prior to Global Soap, he served in leadership roles in some of the world's top NGOs, including the American Friends Service Committee and Amnesty International. He currently serves as Senior Advocacy Coordinator with CARE International and is a regular columnist with The Huffington Post. The title of his presentation is “Recycle Soap, Save a Village.”
- 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."