2007-2008 Convocation: Hope & Action

Digital archives of convocation speakers are available through the Olin Library.


About the 2007-2008 Theme

Director: Michael D. Hill, Cultural Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Global Studies

Is it too late to solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges? Aren’t humans just naturally competitive, greedy, and destructive? How will we ever see the end of poverty, or disease, or corruption? What can one person do anyway? Such questions are pervasive today and are symptoms of malaise, hopelessness, and inaction. Drury’s 2007-2008 Convocation theme, Hope and Action, seeks to put such questions to rest by showcasing, celebrating, and ultimately learning from global citizens and organizations which, even in the midst of human tragedy or environmental disaster, have resolutely believed in their abilities to create a better world and have purposefully directed their efforts towards doing so. While informed and effective agents of change must acknowledge and critically confront the realities of problems they are attempting to solve, they also must ultimately move beyond guilt, apathy, and cynicism in order to develop the wisdom and will to act with hope.

The Hope and Action Convocation Series seeks to bring such inspiring role models to Drury from diverse professions, from business as well as public sectors, and from civil society, so that the Drury community might be further catalyzed in its own efforts to prepare ethical leaders for a global community. The vision for the Hope and Action series is that through diverse accounts of inspired activism and meaningful change, we will deepen our understanding of the principles and practices that drive successful human and environmental development so that we may better implement those principles and practices within our own communities and spheres of influence.

The series also seeks to showcase members and organizations within the Drury community who are following the call for hope and action and effecting sustainable change efforts. Participatory workshops and other innovative presentation styles are especially welcomed.


HIV/AIDS Hope and Action: Realizing a Dream
Mati Hlatshwayo

August 19, 2007

Drury alumnus Mati Hlatshwayo ’05), once Drury’s Homecoming queen, and currently a medical school student at the Cleveland Clinic, will return to share her own story of hope and action, particularly her recent work with nonprofit organizations in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.




"What If" Art Exhibition
Traci Molloy

September 7-October 2, 2007

This exhibition expresses hope and survival in the face of tragedy. Artist Traci Molloy has helped create the works with children of the New York City area who lost parents on September 11, 2001.






Humanitarian Work Will Change Your Life
Betty Nguyen

September 13, 2007

Betty Nguyen joined CNN in April 2004 and anchors Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning. In September 2005, Nguyen traveled to Houston to cover thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims seeking shelter in the Astrodome. She contributed to CNN’s George Foster Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Nguyen will detail her trips to the flooded Mekong Delta region of her native Vietnam to help with emergency relief and cover the story as a professional journalist. Nguyen is the co-founder of Help the Hungry, an organization that strives to alleviate global hunger by providing humanitarian aid to poverty-stricken families. Her philanthropic work has earned her a spot in the Philanthropy in Texas Hall of Fame.


Toward a Theology of Hope and Reconciliation - The Rebuilding of German Jewry
Dr. Walter Jacob

September 20, 2007

Walter Jacob ’50 is the founding president of the Abraham Geiger College (Berlin/Potsdam, Germany), the first rabbinic seminary founded in Central Europe since the Holocaust. The ordination of its first group of rabbis occurred in September 2006 and was internationally celebrated. For more than a decade he has played an important role in re-establishing Liberal Judaism in Central and Eastern Europe. For these efforts he was honored as Knight Commander of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2000.

Jacob was born in Germany and grew up in Springfield, Missouri. He graduated from Drury College in 1950 and received an honorary degree in 1990.

He is the author, editor, or translator of thirty-five books and numerous essays and monographs. He is president of the Freehof Institute for Progressive Jewish Law, an international association for Jewish law and ethics.


Domestic and World Poverty: A Confucian Meditation
Henry Rosemont

September 25, 2007

Henry Rosemont is known internationally as an expert on Eastern philosophy. Rosemont’s recent work explores Confucian perspectives on the good person and the good society, situating these perspectives especially around the cultural translation of notions of freedom, human rights, and equality.

Rosemont has spent most of his academic career at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Fudan University (Shanghai), and the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He is distinguished visiting professor of East Asian and Religious Studies at Brown University.

Co-sponsored by the Drury Philosophy and Religion department and the Dean’s Office; the visit is also planned in conjunction with Missouri Southern State University.


I, Too, Can Create: Art from American Prisons
Phyllis Kornfeld, Curator

October 4, 2007

Phyllis Kornfeld has been conducting visual arts programs with prison inmates around the country for 22 years. Focusing on recent work by artists in American prisons, Kornfeld's lecture explores the range of production from mainstream prison art with its reliance on tattoo imagery to “folk arts” such as soap carving and toilet paper sculpture and powerful inventive drawings and paintings being exhibited in premier galleries in America and Europe.

Author of Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America, Kornfeld has curated exhibitions of prison artwork at the College of Charleston, Massachusetts College of Art, Samek Gallery, Bucknell University, and State University of New York-Cortland Art Museum. She shows the work regularly at the Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York City. Her essays have appeared in Raw Vision (International Journal of Intuitive and Visionary Art), Art and Antiques, and Prison Life magazines.


Sharing Ubuntu with the World
Prince Cedza Dlamini

October 25, 2007

Cedza Dlamini has a vision to create a unified global order by establishing global networks of young leaders working collectively to address world problems, such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, hunger, and illiteracy. He travels the world helping young people realize two things: their connectedness to one another and their power to change their surroundings.

Drawing on the African concept of Ubuntu and its values of respect, integrity, and tolerance of others, Cedza travels the world promoting global forgiveness, compassion, and the use of dialogue—instead of violence—as a powerful tool for conflict resolution. Cedza's strong sense of community stems from his rich lineage: He is the descendant of freedom fighters King Sobhuza II, who fought for the independence of Swaziland, and his grandfather is Nelson Mandela, who triumphed over apartheid in South Africa after decades of peaceful protest against white-only rule.


That's enough of that. It's MY turn to shape the world!
Bernard Franklin

November 1, 2007

Franklin has a long career in both the business sector and the field of higher education administration. Franklin served as executive director of Kauffman Scholars (2003-05), a unique, $70 million, 20-year initiative funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to guide and support urban Kansas City seventh graders to high school and college graduation.

President of Metropolitan Community College (Penn Valley) in Kansas City, Franklin also is a faculty member of the Center for Leadership Development, the sponsors of the annual National Student Leadership Conference. In 1998, Franklin was honored as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in Kansas City, and the Morehouse College Research Institute presented him the Vision Award for his pioneering work in educating African American men. Franklin motivates students to realize their own empowerment in effecting positive change in campus communities.


Physicians for All Populations
Evan Tlesla Adams

December 6, 2007

Dr. Evan Tlesla Adams is an actor and writer from the Sliammon Band near Powell River, British Columbia, Canada. The first president of the Healing Our Spirit British Columbia First Nations AIDS Society, he was instrumental in helping to provide prevention education for Aboriginal people in both urban and rural First Nations communities throughout British Columbia. He also acted as a "Role Model" for the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program, where he worked with Native youth in health promotions and life-skills workshops across the country.

Evan has kept close ties with his Coast Salish roots, and he has varied interests in the arts. His competitive and traditional styles of Native dance have taken him touring across Canada and Europe, and into collaboration with the Karen Jamieson Dance Company of Vancouver. He does Raven’s Tail weaving, some of his work in this ancient style appearing in Cheryl Samuel's book Raven's Tail. He also appeared in the 1998 movie Smoke Signals as Thomas Builds-the-Fire.


From Despair to Hope: The Transformative Power of Dialogue
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed

January 31, 2008

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington D.C., is considered a leading authority on contemporary Islam. He has been a faculty member at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities and was the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain. He has advised both the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles and met with U.S. President George W. Bush on Islam. He is principal investigator for “Islam in the Age of Globalization,” a project supported by The Brookings Institute, American University and The Pew Research Center, and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute. Ahmed lends his perspective and knowledge to the Incident Management Team for the Department of Homeland Security. He serves an expert panelist with the online feature “On Faith” for the Washington Post and Newsweek.


Can We Talk about Race? Democracy, Education, and the Restoration of Hope
Beverly Daniel Tatum

February 21, 2008

Scholar, teacher, author, administrator and race relations expert Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is the ninth president of Spelman College. She is a clinical psychologist whose areas of research interest include black families in white communities, racial identity in teens, and the role of race in the classroom. For more than 20 years, Tatum taught her signature course on the psychology of racism.

In her acclaimed book, 'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?' and Other Conversations about Race, she applies her expertise on race to argue that straight talk about racial identity is essential to the nation. Using real-life examples and the latest research, she dispels race as taboo, and gives readers a new lens for understanding the emergence of racial identity as a developmental process experienced by everyone. Her book, "Can We Talk about Race?" and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, explores the social and educational implications of the growing racial isolation in our public schools. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education for the innovative leadership she has provided in the field of education.


Loving Our Unloved Animals: What Compassion and Action Have Taught Me
Valerie Lang

February 28, 2008

Valerie Lang talks about how her soul searching resulted in a new undergraduate course in Animal Law, a student club devoted to animal welfare issues, and a county task force designed to assist law enforcement in recognizing, reporting and investigating animal abuse and neglect. Her inspiring, at times humorous tales of her struggle to answer her calling, and the emotional complexity and intelligence of "lesser beings," remind us of the power of kindness and compassion.

Lang has a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami in Florida, and a Master’s in Library Science from the University at Albany in New York. Recipient of the 2005 New York State Humane Association Award: Humane Educator of the Year, Lang developed and teaches Animal Law at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, and serves as co-advisor to the HVCC Animal Outreach Club, a student club she co-founded in 2005. She is a member of a newly established animal cruelty task force: The Rensselaer County Animal Protection Coalition, is a past member of the Board of Directors at the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, and 2006 speaker for the Empire State Animal Protection Forum on Humane Education at the College Level. She has 5 pets which she adores more than anything.


Justice, Poetry, and the Disappeared of Latin America
Alicia Partnoy

March 6, 2008

Alicia Partnoy is a survivor from the secret detention camps where an estimated 30,000 Argentineans disappeared. After twenty years of circulation in English, the original manuscript of her tales about being disappeared in Argentina has just been published in her country as La Escuelita-Relatos Testimoniales. She is the author of The Little School, Tales of Disappearance and Survival and of the poetry collections Little Low Flying/Volando bajito, and Revenge of the Apple/Venganza de la Manzana. Partnoy edited You Can’t Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile. A former vice-chair of Amnesty International, Partnoy is chair of the modern languages and literatures department at Loyola Marymount University.

In conjunction with Partnoy's visit, there will be a screening of La Historia Oficial/The Official Story (1985) on Tuesday, March 4th, at 7pm in the Olin Room of Olin Library. This event is sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies Program.


Icyizere (Hope): Healing and Rebuilding Communities in Post-Genocidal Rwanda
Patrick Mureithi

March 6, 2008

Patrick Mureithi is a Kenyan Filmmaker based in Springfield, MO. He recently returned from Rwanda, where he documented a series of 3-day reconciliation workshops entitled Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC). These workshops bring together 10 survivors and 10 perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, and through addressing PTSD and conducting a series of group exercises that begin to build trust, the workshop brings participants to a place where they realize that:

  1. they are more similar than different
  2. they are ALL, victim and aggressor, suffering from trauma
  3. the only way they are going to overcome their trauma is by making an effort to forgive each other and work toward rebuilding trust within their communities.

Patrick will be returning to Rwanda in March of 2008 to screen the documentary at the Rwanda Film Festival, and will be sharing his work with us before he leaves the country


Saving the Environment, One Piece of Paper at a Time
Karyn Kaplan and Robyn Hathcock

April 3, 2008

Karyn Kaplan and Robyn Hathcock tell the story of what happened when the campus of the University of Oregon made a commitment of environmental sustainability. Kaplan (program manager) and Hathcock (housing recycling coordinator) of the university’s recycling program will tell the story of its creation and how it has created positive change. Since 1990, when the program was created, more than 600 students have worked in the program.




Theme Day
Jessica Flannery

April 17, 2008

Jessica Flannery is co-founder of Kiva.org, an innovative microfinance program which allows any Internet user to effectively become a microlender to small business entrepreneurs throughout the developing world. Kiva partners with microcredit organizations around the world who manage the funds, and lenders can receive website and e-mail updates on the business initiatives that they are helping to sponsor, along with monitoring their repayment rates.



Theme Day
David Naster

April 17, 2008

David Naster grew up in smart-alec family who taught him how to survive with humor. After studying psychology in college, he decided he would rather make fun of people. During his career as a comedian, he learned that laughter helps people in ways he never would have imagined. Thirty-one years after his fateful decision to ditch psychology, Naster is an authority of the benefits of humor and laughter. The Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor, an organization of health-care professionals, honored his book, You Just Have To Laugh through Tough Times , as the 2007 Best Humor Book. This guidebook teaches people how to laugh through illness, injury, danger and grief.