Recordings of Convocations

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Daniel Kurtzer
    Created 24 April 2015; Published 28 April 2015
    Convocation: Daniel Kurtzer

    Following a 29-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Daniel Kurtzer retired in 2005 with the rank of Career-Minister. From 2001-2005 he served as the United States Ambassador to Israel and from 1997-2001 as the United States Ambassador to Egypt. He served as a political officer at the American embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv, Deputy Director of the Office of Egyptian Affairs, speechwriter on the Policy Planning Staff, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research.

    Throughout his career, Kurtzer was instrumental in formulating and executing U.S. policy toward the Middle East peace process. Since leaving government service, Kurtzer has served as an advisor to the Iraq Study Group; as a member of the Board of the American University in Cairo; the Advisory Council of the American Bar Association’s Middle East Rule of Law Initiative, and the Middle East Institute; as the first Commissioner of the professional Israel Baseball League; and as a member of the New Jersey-Israel Commission. He is the co-author of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East; co-author of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011; and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

    The title of his presentation is "Shifting Sands in the Middle East: Implications for American Policy."

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Arsalan Iftikhar
    Created 17 April 2015; Published 24 April 2015
    Convocation: Arsalan Iftikhar

    Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, global media commentator and author of the book Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era. He also serves as Senior Editor for The Islamic Monthly magazine.  For over seven years, Iftikhar was a regular on-air weekly commentator for National Public Radio and he was also named one of the top 12 Muslim Twitter accounts in the world by The Huffington Post in May 2011.

    His on-the-record interviews, commentaries and analyses have regularly appeared in virtually every major media outlet and his published columns and written articles have appeared in major publications around the world. For many in the media, Iftikhar became Islam’s "It guy," a sought-after interview or commentator for those seeking the American-Muslim perspective.  The title of his presentation is "The Future of Islam, Muslims, and the West."

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Becky Morrison
    Created 10 April 2015; Published 15 April 2015
    Convocation: Becky Morrison

    Becky Morrison is founder of Globetops, an online community that is redefining recycling, being creative about what we do with our waste. Roughly 220 million tons of old computers and other tech hardware are trashed in the United States every year. Half of those computers are in good working order. That’s 110 million tons of useful computer hardware wasted. What if each of those computers ended up not in a landfill, but in the hands of someone who needed one? What kind of future would we create if we made the unused, usable again, providing people across the globe the opportunity for connection, exploration, and the empowerment of their ideas? Globetops collects and refurbishes electronic waste, converting it into a usable instrument of world change. Globetops is not your traditional donation-based charity. It’s not a corporate philanthropy program. It is a network of people providing for people and being provided for. It is an exploration of the human desire for connection and a harmony of resources. Fueled by a collection of individuals taking on something bigger than themselves, Globetops is dissolving the divide between giver and receiver, establishing a model of redistribution that can have tremendous impact on the future of our planet. At the same time, they are demonstrating that in this era of global connectedness, having relationships with people from around the world is easier than ever, as is effecting social change. The title of Morrison’s presentation is “Revolutionary Ideas: How to Achieve the Impossible.”

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Ysaye Barnwell
    Created 3 April 2015; Published 8 April 2015
    Convocation: Ysaye Barnwell

    Ysaye Maria Barnwell was a member of the African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock from 1979 to 2013 and is a renowned female bass. A prolific composer, she wrote many of the group’s songs, as well as being commissioned to create music for dance, choral, film, and stage productions. With degrees in speech pathology, cranio-facial studies, and public health she has been a professor, researcher, and author in addition to her career as musician and choral clinician, successfully demonstrating a relationship between music, the arts, and health. Barnwell is also the recipient of multiple honorary doctorate degrees.

    Barnwell has been building vocal communities on three continents for over thirty years. Immersed in an African world view of music, she has traced the evolution of African American communal vocal music from Africa through Spirituals and work songs to the music of the Civil Rights Movement. The tradition is being eroded by the evolution of technology, and she is on a mission to keep it alive. The title of her presentation is “Building Vocal Communities.”

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Saru Jayaraman
    Created 27 February 2015; Published 5 March 2015
    Convocation: Saru Jayaraman

    Saru Jayaraman founded Restaurant Opportunities Centers New York after September 11, 2001, to provide support to restaurant workers displaced as a result of the World Trade Center tragedy. The organization soon grew to support restaurant workers all over New York City and to advocate for improved working conditions. In 2007, Jayaraman organized the country’s first national restaurant workers’ convening in Chicago, and subsequently launched Restaurant Opportunities Centers United in January 2008, with a mission to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce.

    In her presentation, titled “Behind the Kitchen Door,” Jayaraman draws attention to servers, bussers, runners, cooks, and dishwashers across the country struggling to support themselves and their families under the often shockingly-exploitative conditions that exist in many restaurants.

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Kelsey Timmerman
    Created 20 February 2015; Published 23 February 2015
    Convocation: Kelsey Timmerman

    Kelsey Timmerman is an investigative journalist who has trekked the planet and put a human face on the global economy. With a desire to know where his clothes came from and who made them, he began an adventure that would take him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. The result was his first book, Where Am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes. This was followed up by a global quest to meet the farmers and fishermen who grow and catch our food, which Timmerman documented in his latest book, Where Am I Eating?: An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy. Now he travels the world and shares the stories of the people he meets, educating audiences and promoting dialogue about how to improve our world economy.

  • A placard image for media work 2015_02_13_Convocation_Raadt.m4v
    Created 13 February 2015; Published 19 February 2015
    Convocation: Sam Polk

    Sam Polk is Founder and Executive Director of Groceryships. A Groceryship is a scholarship for groceries, providing families the money to buy fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and seeds for six months, along with a comprehensive program of education and support to empower them to increase health by incorporating more of these healthful foods into their diets. Families who are awarded Groceryships receive support on five levels:  Financial, Medical, Educational, Emotional, and Resources. Groceryships aims to empower families to live healthfully for generations to come. Sponsored by the Thomas M. Crosby, Sr. Lectureship Fund and the M .H. Wright Family Fund, the title of Polk's presentation is "Redefining Ambition."

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Javon Johnson
    Created 6 February 2015; Published 10 February 2015
    Convocation: Javon Johnson

    Merging race and gender theory with comedy, lyricism, and rhyme schemes, Javon Johnson is an enlightening spoken word poet and professor. Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University, Johnson earned his Ph.D. in Performance Studies, with a cognate in African American Studies and a certificate in Gender Studies, from Northwestern University. He is a back-to-back national poetry slam champion (2003 & 2004), has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café, TVOne’s Verses & Flow, and co-wrote a documentary titled Crossover, which aired on Showtime, in collaboration with the NBA and Nike. He has written for Our Weekly, Text & Performance Quarterly, The Root, and is currently working on his book about how Blackness operates in slam and spoken word poetry communities. The title of his presentation is "And, Your Kids Will Be Painted Black!"

  • A placard image for media work 2015_1_30_Convo Jan 30_Raadt.mp4
    Created 30 January 2015; Published 5 February 2015
    Convocation: Adam Falkner

    Writer, performer, and educational consultant Adam Falkner is the Founder and Executive Director of the Dialogue Arts Project (DAP), an organization dedicated to using creative writing and the arts as tools for generating difficult dialogue across lines of social identity, conflict and difference.

    Twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Falkner’s work has been published in Painted Bride Quarterly, Anti-, The Literary Bohemian, and elsewhere, and has been incorporated into coursepacks for use in sociology and social work curricula throughout higher education. Falkner was the featured performer at President Obama's Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, and he is currently an adjunct instructor at Columbia University Teachers College. The title of his presentation is “How Can Writing Change the World?”

  • A placard image for media work 2015_23_1_ConvocationJan23.mp4
    Created 23 January 2015; Published 30 January 2015
    Convocation: Lindsey Thomas

    Lindsey Thomas is the Assistant Hennepin County Medical Examiner. She received her B.A. in chemistry from Oberlin College, earned her M.D. at the University of Michigan Medical School, and served her residency with the Pathology Department of the University of Michigan Medical Center. She has served in a variety of capacities related to the field of forensic pathology.

    At the intersection of science, technology, and the judicial system, Thomas also serves on the board of directors of the Minnesota Innocence Project which represents people who were wrongfully convicted for crimes they did not commit, educates attorneys and criminal justice professionals on best practices, and works to reform the procedures that produce such unjust results. The title of her presentation is “CSI Minnesota: The True Story of Death Investigation.”

  • A placard image for media work 2015_1_16_Convocation_Raadt.mp4
    Created 16 January 2015; Published 19 January 2015
    Convocation: Dawn Porter

    Dawn Porter is an attorney, civil justice crusader and an award-winning documentary filmmaker who understands the deficiencies of the United States criminal justice system and what it takes to maintain the passion and commitment to be a public defender. Twelve million people are arrested in the U.S. each year and millions of those cases will proceed through the criminal justice system. Most will be represented by public defenders—lawyers who represent low income people accused of crimes. Often these lawyers receive little or no training, resources or support. What does that mean for our system of justice?

    Lawyer turned filmmaker, Porter spent three and a half years following three public defenders working in the deep south. The result was Gideon's Army, a feature documentary about their work which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO Documentary Films in July of that year. The title of her presentation is “Defending America in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Michael Shermer
    Created 9 January 2015; Published 12 January 2015
    Convocation: Michael Shermer

    Dr. Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the executive director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a prolific author. In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, and alien abduction. Shermer wages a no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, debunking nonsensical claims and exploring the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing.

    A science historian and crusader, Shermer holds degrees in psychology, experimental psychology, and the history of science, and was a college professor for 20 years.  He has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Oprah, Unsolved Mysteries (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!), and other shows as a skeptic of weird and extraordinary claims, as well as interviews in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. He was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, "Exploring the Unknown." The title of his presentation is "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time."  (Sponsored by the Irene Whitney Distinguished Visitor Lectureship Fund)

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Waneek Horn-Miller
    Created 7 November 2014; Published 31 December 2014
    Convocation: Waneek Horn-Miller

    Waneek Horn-Miller has overcome discrimination, self-doubt, and an infamous incident of violence to emerge as one of North America’s most inspiring Native speakers. With purpose and poise, she traverses the intersection of two generations of Native people, working to mend the dysfunctional relationship between Native and non-Native communities through social and political change. A Mohawk from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory near Montreal, Horn-Miller was behind the lines during the Oka crisis in 1990 when she was stabbed by a Canadian soldier’s bayonet. This near-death experience marked a turning point in her life. Instead of recoiling, she came back stronger than ever. In 2000, she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, in her role as co-captain of Canada’s Olympic women’s water polo team. More recently, Horn-Miller has worked to attract Aboriginal youth to higher education by building self-esteem and emphasizing a balance between education and sports, and she has teamed up with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network and health experts to launch a fitness and healthy-eating initiative called Working It Out Together. The title of her presentation is "First Nations Rights." (Sponsored by the Office of Intercultural and International Life)

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Charles Kernaghan
    Created 24 October 2014; Published 30 December 2014
    Convocation: Charles Kernaghan

    Charles Kernaghan is director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights which is dedicated to the promotion and defense of internationally recognized worker rights in the global economy.  With a widespread and highly experienced team of international advocates, the Institute responds to appeals for support from exploited workers all over the developing world who produce goods for export to the U.S.  The Institute undertakes in-depth research, public education and popular campaigns that empower the American people to provide support and solidarity to workers struggling to defend their most basic rights.  As workers across the developing world fight for their right to work in dignity, in healthy and safe workplaces, to earn a living wage and to organize independent unions, the Institute provides solidarity and international visibility to support their efforts.  The Institute also continues to demand that corporations be held legally accountable to respect core internationally recognized worker rights standards.  Kernaghan first became involved in the protection of worker rights while on an international peace march through Central America in the mid-80s, when scores of union leaders were being assassinated.  He joined the Institute in 1988 and became its director in 1991.  He is perhaps best known as "the man who made Kathie Lee cry" after exposing that 13-year-old children were working in a brutal Honduran sweatshop earning just pennies an hour sewing Kathie Lee Gifford's clothing line for Wal-Mart.  Kernaghan's work is widely recognized as having launched the anti-sweatshop movement in the U.S.  The title of his presentation is "The Race to the Bottom in the Global Economy."  (Sponsored by the Irene Whitney Distinguished Visitor Lectureship Fund)

  • A placard image for media work Convocation: Robert Paarlberg ’67
    Created 17 October 2014; Published 21 October 2014
    Convocation: 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)

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