Recordings of Convocations

  • Created 19 May 2006; Published 22 May 2006
    Convocation: Ray Suarez

    Ray Suarez has more than twenty-five years of varied experience in the news business, covering such issues as immigration, education, and the relationship of religion in politics. As a Washington-based senior correspondent for the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," he is responsible for conducting newsmaker interviews, studio discussion and debates, reporting from the field and serving as a backup anchor. He came to "The NewsHour" from National Public Radio where he had been host of the nationwide call-in news program "Talk of the Nation." He also currently serves as host for American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media ( The title of his presentation is "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America."

  • Created 12 May 2006; Published 15 May 2006
    Convocation: Eric Schlosser

    Author of the national bestsellers, "Fast Food Nation" and "Reefer Madness," Eric Schlosser investigates hidden realms of American business and culture and their far-reaching effects on our lives. He challenges people to think about critical and often overlooked issues, including food safety, workers' rights, the war on drugs, our prison system, and marketing to children. In "Fast Food Nation," Schlosser uncovers the inner workings of the fast food industry, from the appalling working conditions in American meat-packing plants to the "flavor industry" along the New Jersey Turnpike that gives fast food its taste. Depicting the tremendous growth and success of the industry, Schlosser reveals how fast food has been a revolutionary force in American life, transforming our diet as well as our economy, workforce and popular culture. The title of his presentation is "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal."

  • Created 5 May 2006; Published 15 May 2006
    Convocation: Jonathan Kozol

    After being fired from his teaching job for reading a Langston Hughes poem to his students, Jonathan Kozol wrote "Death at an Early Age," which put urban schools on America's political agenda. He has since tackled illiteracy, homelessness, and educational equality, earning himself the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Conscience in Media Award for his efforts. He has written many books, including "Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation"; "Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope"; "Savage Inequalities" and, most recently, "The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America". Kozol is an eloquent spokesperson for the disenfranchised, and explores the reflections of children surviving and thriving in America's most violent communities. The title of his presentation is "The Shame of the Nation."

  • Created 28 April 2006; Published 3 May 2006
    Convocation: Lisa See

    Raised in Los Angeles, author Lisa See spent much of her time in Chinatown. Her first book, "On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family," was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of 1995. The book traces the journey of her great-grandfather, Fong See, who overcame obstacles at every step to become the 100-year-old godfather of Los Angeles's Chinatown and the patriarch of a sprawling family. She has most recently written "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," a novel about "nu shu," the secret writing developed and used by women in a small country in China for over a thousand years. In addition to her writing, she has served as guest curator for an exhibit on the Chinese American experience for the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, which then traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She then helped develop and curate the Family Discovery Gallery at the Autry Museum, an interactive space for children and their families that focuses on Lisa's bi-racial, bi-cultural family as seen through the eyes of her father as a seven-year-old boy living in 1930's Los Angeles.

  • Created 21 April 2006; Published 3 May 2006
    Convocation: Jagdish Bhagwati

    Described as one of the most creative international trade theorists of his generation, Jagdish Bhagwati is a leader in the fight for freer trade. Bhagwati is Professor of Economics at Columbia University and Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was Economic Policy Adviser to the Director General of the GATT (1991-93), has also served as Special Adviser to the UN on Globalization and has advised the Indian government on economic reform. Currently, he is a member of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's High-level Advisory Group of the NEPAD process in Africa and is an External Adviser to the WTO. Five volumes of his scientific writings and two of his public policy essays have been published by MIT press. Three festschrift volumes of essays in his honor have been published in the USA, the UK, and the Netherlands. In addition to numerous invited lectures, Professor Bhagwati has received honorary degrees from universities on four continents. Bhagwati has published more than three hundred articles and fifty volumes and also writes frequently for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times, as well as reviews for The New Republic and The Times Literary Supplement. His most recent book, "In Defense of Globalization," has attracted worldwide acclaim. The title of his presentation is "The Critics of Globalization: Why They are Wrong."

  • Created 14 April 2006; Published 3 May 2006
    Convocation: Carol Bellamy

    President and CEO of World Learning, Carol Bellamy is passionate about educational opportunity and dedicated to making the world better. World Learning is one of the world's first private, non-profit, international educational organizations, promoting international and intercultural understanding, democracy, social justice and economic development through education, training, and field projects around the globe. Previously, Bellamy served for 10 years as Executive Director of UNICEF, where she made education for all one of her key priorities, often stating that there was no better investment the world could make than educating every child. The title of her presentation is "The Future of Global Leadership."

  • Created 7 April 2006; Published 17 April 2006
    Convocation: 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 2006
    Convocation: 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 2006
    Convocation: 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 2006
    Convocation: Charles H. Long
    New 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 2006
    Convocation: Guarneri String Quartet
    The 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 2006
    Convocation: 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 2006
    Convocation: 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 2006
    Convocation: 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 2006
    Convocation: 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.

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