Recordings of Convocations
- Created 7 April 2006; Published 17 April 2006Convocation: Mahmood Mamdani
Originally from Kampala, Uganda, Mahmood Mamdani is one of the leading experts on African politics and history, as well as the relationship between Islam and the war on terror. He received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University. He is currently Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Department of Anthropology and Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He is the author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Origins of Terror, When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism and Genocide in Rwanda, and Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. The title of his lecture is "The Secular Roots of Radical Political Islam."
- Created 31 March 2006; Published 17 April 2006Convocation: Margaret Simms '67
"Confronting Katrina: How Should We Respond?," a day of education, discussion, and reflection in response to the devastation experienced along the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina, begins with this convocation by Margaret Simms '67. An economist and nationally recognized expert on minority business development, Simms is Vice President for Governance and Economic Analysis at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington D.C. Founded in 1970 by black intellectuals and professionals to provide training and technical assistance to newly elected black officials, the Joint Center is recognized today as one of the nation's premier think tanks on a broad range of public policy issues of concern to African Americans and other communities of color. Forty years after beginning the war on poverty, we have been confronted by pictures of people in horrible conditions because they lacked the resources to escape a natural disaster of epic proportions. What happened, or more precisely, what didn't happen? Were the programs flawed in their structure? Did we fail to put enough resources in them? Did we lack the public will to sustain them long enough? Was the problem with the people themselves, lacking the will to pull themselves up by the public bootstraps they were offered? Simms traces the development of policy during the past four decades as a way of highlighting the persistence of poverty in her presentation titled "Discovering Poverty While in College."
- Created 24 February 2006; Published 28 February 2006Convocation: Ray Rogers"Confronting Power with Power: Challenging Corporate Abuse." National union activist Ray Rogers has been described as labor's most innovative strategist and "one of the most successful union organizers since the CIO sit-down strikes of the 1930s." President and director of Corporate Campaign, Inc., Rogers coined the term "corporate campaigns" to describe strategies and tactics that help achieve victories for labor and other victims of abusive corporations and politicians. For 24 years, Corporate Campaign has championed union and community solidarity and membership and family involvement in campaigns for social and economic justice.
- Created 17 February 2006; Published 21 February 2006Convocation: Charles H. LongNew Orleans as an American City: Origins, Exchanges, Materialities, and Religion." Professor emeritus of history of religions and former director of the Research Center for Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, Charles H. Long has a unique perspective from which to speak of the general meaning of religion in history and culture, and specifically about African religions in Africa and in the Atlantic world. He participated in establishing the first curriculum for the study of religion in the College of the University of Chicago. Through his teaching and a rich and distinguished list of publications, he has influenced three generations of historians of religion and African-American studies.
- Created 10 February 2006; Published 28 February 2006Convocation: Guarneri String QuartetThe renowned Guarneri String Quartet has circled the globe countless times since it was formed in 1964, playing in the world's most prestigious halls in North and South America, Mexico, Europe, Asia and Australia. The quartet is an amazing achievement of four diverse personalities, all original members, and is the longest continuing artistic collaboration of any quartet in the world. Revered for its distinctively rich sound, majestic playing, and triumph of blending seamlessly into one luminous whole, this award-winning ensemble is one of the world's most celebrated string quartets. In addition to mastering the finest works in the existing quartet repertoire, the Guarneri String Quartet is committed to performing and popularizing works by today's foremost composers.
- Created 3 February 2006; Published 7 February 2006Convocation: Wendy Kopp"One Day, All Children." From her dorm room at Princeton University, twenty-one-year-old college senior Wendy Kopp decided to launch a movement to improve public education in America. Thus began the remarkable story of Teach For America, a non-profit organization that sends outstanding college graduates to teach for two years in the most under-resourced urban and rural public schools in America. The astonishing success of the program has proven it possible for children in low-income areas to attain the same level of academic achievement as children in more privileged areas and more privileged schools. Her book "One Day, All Children" is a blueprint for the new civil rights movement - a movement that demands educational access and opportunity for all American children.
- Created 27 January 2006; Published 7 February 2006Convocation: Patty Nieman '86 and Raymond Berg '80"Finding My Voice in the Heart of the Great American Songbook." Musical theater presents an opportunity for audience and performers alike to become more openhearted, awake and radiant. In that space we can experience feelings that we may have forgotten and see or hear things in a fresh, vivid way that changes and enriches our lives. The journey of musical theater performer Patty Nieman '86 as an artist is a journey toward personal authenticity - finding a way to ground the self in the world, speak the truth and sing from the heart through the beautiful melodies, catchy lyrics and timeless sentiments expressed in the Great American Songbook. Widening the definition of what musical genres are included among these "standards," mezzo Patty Nieman and pianist/arranger Raymond Berg '80 bring you songs from the Great American Songbook, Broadway, and the contemporary cabaret scene. Sponsored by the Laudie Porter Memorial Fund.
- Created 20 January 2006; Published 26 January 2006Convocation: Derrick Bell"Martin Luther King, Jr: The Twentieth Century Jesus?" A compelling voice on issues of race and class in this society, Derrick Bell has provoked his critics and challenged his readers with his uncompromising candor and original progressive views throughout his 40-year career as a lawyer, activist, teacher, and writer. Derrick Bell is one of the most highly respected constitutional law professors in America. His civil-rights career began when Thurgood Marshall recruited him fresh out of law school. He was the first African American to be tenured at Harvard Law School, as well as the only academic to relinquish a coveted tenured position to protest Harvard Law School's failure to appoint women of color. He served as the dean of the University of Oregon Law School and again resigned when the faculty refused to hire a qualified Asian-American woman.
- Created 13 January 2006; Published 26 January 2006Convocation: Sally Ride"Reach for the Stars." As the first American woman in space, Sally Ride inspired a nation to turn its dreams into reality. Through her experiences serving on two Challenger missions and work in mission control, Ride helped change the image of space flight as a male-dominated field. Today she provides insight about NASA's role in our scientific and technological future. As a professor, author and activist, Ride has contributed to NASA's efforts with a groundbreaking study of the space program's future and by serving on the commission investigating the tragic Columbia malfunction. She is also the CEO of Imaginary Lines, a company dedicated to encouraging girls and young women interested in science, math and technology. Sponsored by the Elizabeth Nason Distinguished Women Visitors Fund.
- Created 6 January 2006; Published 15 January 2006Convocation: Jonah Goldberg"The Goldberg Files: Current, National and Political Affairs." One of the most prominent young conservative journalists on the scene today, Jonah Goldberg is Generation X's answer to P.J. O'Rourke. His columns and articles, laced with keen wit and pithy insights, have rapidly generated a large readership. Whether he's issuing a sharply-worded cultural critique or laying out a lucid analysis of a hot political issue, Goldberg is guaranteed to make you laugh, and learn. His work is proof that reading and thinking about political, media, and cultural issues can be enlightening and entertaining at the same time - even if you don't agree with his particular point of view.
- Created 4 November 2005; Published 10 November 2005Convocation: Joy HarjoInternationally known Native American poet and musician Joy Harjo's work is grounded in her relationship to the earth, on a physical, spiritual, and mythopoetic level, and her writing contains a disturbing mixture of darkness and beauty, at once a lament and a moving incantation. Her work provides a unique perspective and piquant examination of American culture from a native point of view. Harjo is presently a professor of creative writing at the University of New Mexico. The title of her presentation is "How We Became Human: A Performance."
- Created 28 October 2005; Published 3 November 2005Convocation: Brian AtwoodCurrently Dean of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, J. Brian Atwood served six years as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Clinton administration. His areas of expertise include international development, foreign assistance, the United Nations, UN peacekeeping operations, politics-policy leadership, post-conflict reconstruction, and government reform. The title of his presentation is "The United Nations: Is It Worth Reforming?"
- Created 21 October 2005; Published 1 November 2005Convocation: Karen LebacqzThe dilemma of international justice is addressed by ethics professor Karen Lebacqz. Is it possible to have an international standard of justice? Should all people around the world have the same "rights," or do justice and rights vary from community to community? Is there a global standard? Philosophers are in disagreement about these issues, and sorting out the field of international justice theory is not easy.
- Created 20 October 2005; Published 31 October 2006Convocation: Bob Levey
"Where Modern Media Are Going: Bumps and Thunderstorms Ahead." A veteran journalist in the nation's capitol, Bob Levey has covered the Washington scene since the Johnson Administration. For 23 years, he wrote an award-winning daily column for "The Washington Post." Earlier in his 36-year career at "The Post," he covered Presidential politics, Congress, local news and sports. Levey has also had an extensive career in the electronic media, working for seven radio stations, four TV stations and one popular Internet site as a commentator and talk show host over the course of more than 20 years. Levey will discuss media ethics and the changing shape of the media landscape. He'll also make a few surprising predictions about which media will "win."
- Created 14 October 2005; Published 1 November 2005Convocation: Jawad KhakiRaised in rural Tanzania, Jawad Khaki left the United Kingdom in his 20's and moved to the United States with his wife, 2 children, 8 suitcases and $500. Twenty years later, Khaki is now a corporate vice president with Microsoft Corporation. But Khaki's accomplishments are not limited to his profession. He is also an active contributor to his local community and to issues of interfaith dialogue. In 2003, Khaki was nationally recognized with the sixth annual Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award by the Interfaith Alliance Foundation for promoting democratic values, defending religious liberty, and reinvigorating informed civic participation. The title of his presentation is "Realizing Potential in a Global Village."