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Syracuse University announces University Lectures 2009-10 season
Syracuse University announces University Lectures 2009-10 seasonApril 30, 2009Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Six invited guests will bring their global experiences and perspectives to Syracuse University this fall as part of The University Lectures 2009-10 season.
They are: Khaled Hosseini, author of best-selling novels “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and founder of the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, along with author Firoozeh Dumas, who will interview him; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund; Ira Glass, producer and host of Chicago Public Radio’s “This American Life”; Alex Steffen, founder and executive editor of the Worldchanging website on sustainability; and Scott Simon, host of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” and writer and novelist.
Now in its ninth year, The University Lectures maintains its tradition of bringing to the SU campus some of the most influential movers and shakers from around the world.
“The speakers selected for next year’s season offer us lenses through which to view both the larger world and our own lives,” says Kal Alston, SU associate provost for academic administration and director of The University Lectures series. “Through their experiences, they will take us to the streets of Afghanistan and beyond, to the cities and towns of America, into the lives of our nation’s youth and on a quest for innovative ideas. Their perspectives highlight the tenacity of the human spirit and the potential for the future.”
Alston says that a goal of The University Lectures is to bring SU students, faculty and staff together with members of the greater Central New York community in shared learning experiences: “It is my hope that, as members of our communities come together for The University Lectures, their direct and indirect interactions with our visitors and each other spur further collaboration and engagement across campus and across local and global communities.”
All lectures will be held in Hendricks Chapel at times to be determined. The 2009-10 guests are:
Khaled HosseiniInterviewed by bestselling author Firoozeh Dumas Monday, Oct. 5
Hosseini was born in Afghanistan and grew up in Kabul, where his father worked for the Afghan foreign ministry and his mother was a teacher. The family moved to Paris in 1976 when Hosseini’s father was assigned a diplomatic post in the Afghan embassy. Hosseini’s father obtained political asylum in the United States, and the family moved to the United States in fall 1980. Hosseini earned a medical degree in 1993 and entered medical practice as an internist in 1996.
His bestselling novels “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” were published by Riverhead Books in 2003 and 2007, respectively. In 2006, Hosseini was named a Goodwill Envoy for the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to help raise awareness about refugees around the world. Hosseini now divides his time among writing, working with the UN, and his family. He recently founded the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Hosseini will donate his speaking fee to the foundation.
Firoozeh Dumas was born in Iran and moved to Southern California with her family in the 1970s. She later graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and married a French national. She grew up listening to her father, a former Fulbright Scholar, recount the many stories of his life in Iran and America. In 2001, with no prior writing experience, Dumas decided to write these stories as a gift to her children. Her memoir, “Funny in Farsi” (Random House, 2004), was on the San Francisco and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists, a finalist for the PEN/USA Award and a finalist for the Audie Award for best audio book.
For the past five years, she has traveled the country, using humor to remind audiences that our commonalities far outweigh our differences. Her latest memoir, “Laughing without an Accent” (Random House), was published in 2008.
Marian Wright EdelmanTuesday, Nov. 3
Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Leave No Child Behind(r) mission of the CDF is to ensure every child a “Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start” in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
Edelman began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. She served as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C., founded the Washington Research Project, and served as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University for two years. Her work has earned her numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A prolific author, her latest book, “The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation” (Hyperion Books) was released last fall.
The lecture is sponsored in cooperation with the Syracuse Symposium in The College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Human Ecology; and the College of Law.
Ira GlassTuesday, Nov. 17
Glass’ “This American Life” premiered on Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ, in late 1995 and is now heard on more than 500 public radio stations each week by more than 1.7 million listeners. Glass began his career as an intern at National Public Radio’s network headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1978, at age 19. Over the years, he worked on nearly every NPR network news program and held virtually every production job.
Under Glass’ editorial direction, “This American Life” has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including the Peabody and DuPont-Columbia awards, as well as the Edward R. Murrow and the Overseas Press Club awards. In 2001, Time magazine named Glass “Best Radio Host in America.” The show has inspired a comic book, three greatest hits compilations, a paint-by-numbers set, a “radio decoder” toy and a DVD, which was created with cartoonist Chris Ware. In March 2007, the television adaptation of “This American Life” premiered on Showtime to great critical acclaim; in 2008, it won two Emmy Awards.
The lecture is sponsored in cooperation with the Syracuse Symposium in The College of Arts and Sciences; the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; and the School of Education.
Alex SteffenTuesday, March 2, 2010
Steffen is the founder of Worldchanging, a popular website on sustainability. Every day, Steffen and his team of journalists and practitioners deliver bright new ideas that The New York Times lauds as “solutions-focused reporting on innovation.” The ideas range from the small and clever to the huge and inspiring-and all are proof that the tools and models to build a better future are already here. Steffen brings them all together on the site, in his talks and in his edited book “Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century (Abrams, 2006), a 600-page compendium of writings from more than 60 noted leaders around the world.
Steffen’s next release, “Bright Green,” a book aimed at helping business people understand where the big opportunities for change are, will be released in 2009. Steffen, who has been the subject of a CNN documentary, serves on the boards of numerous NGOs, and is a much-sought-after speaker on the power of new thinking and innovative solutions for sustainable cities.
Scott SimonTuesday, March 9, 2010
From Ground Zero in New York to ground zero in Kabul, to police stations, refugee camps, snipers’ roosts, subway platforms and theater stages, NPR’s Peabody Award-winning Simon has reported from all 50 states and every continent. Simon has covered 10 wars, plus hundreds of campaigns, sieges, famines, hurricanes, earthquakes, civil wars, scandals, state funerals and opening nights. He has interviewed and profiled some of the most interesting personalities of our time. Simon has hosted many public television specials and written for numerous prominent publications.
He is author of four best-selling books, including his most recent novel, a political comedy called “Windy City” (Random House, 2008), which was chosen by The Washington Post as one of the best novels of 2008.
About The University Lectures
The University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s Trustees, alumni and friends. The lectures are free and open to the public.
The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. To recommend a speaker, or for additional information about The University Lectures, please contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 443-2941 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found at The University Lectures website, http://lectures.syr.edu.