Dale Bredesen

UCLA and Buck Institute

Reducing the Global Burden of Dementia: The First Alzheimer’s Survivors

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Bredesen describes his treatment for Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s, along with associated challenges and implications. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Office of Senior Associate Provost; the Career Center; Pre-Health Society; Pre-Health Program; Division of Student Life;  the Wellness Center; Department of Biology; and the Program in Policy Studies. It was initiated by the Clarke Forum Student Project Managers.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Dale E. Bredesen, M.D. received his undergraduate degree from Caltech and his medical degree from Duke.  He served as resident and chief resident in neurology at UCSF, then was postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Prof. Stanley Prusiner.  He was a faculty member at UCLA from 1989-1994, then was recruited by the Burnham Institute to direct the Program on Aging.  In 1998 he became the founding president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and Adjunct Professor at UCSF; then in 2013 he returned to UCLA as the director of the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

The Bredesen Laboratory studies basic mechanisms underlying the neurodegenerative process, and the translation of this knowledge into effective therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, leading to the publication of over 220 research papers. He established the ADDN (Alzheimer’s Drug Development Network) with Dr. Varghese John in 2008, leading to the identification of new classes of therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease.  His group has developed a new approach to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and this approach has led to the discovery of subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease, followed by the first description of reversal of symptoms in patients with MCI and early Alzheimer’s disease, with the ReCODE (reversal of cognitive decline) protocol, published in 2014 and 2016.  His book, The End of Alzheimer’s, is a New York Times Bestseller.

Related Links
CBN: New Alzheimer’s Treatment, Prevention Shows Impressive Results

First Paper 2014: Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program

2016 Paper: Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease

Subtypes: Metabolic profiling distinguishes three subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease

Silicon Valley Health:


Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob – Bechtel Lecturer

Dickinson College

The Bechtel Lecture

(Dis)Owning God: Religious Identity and Violent Extremism in the African Sahel Region

Monday, April 9, 2018
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

Religious identity, Jacob argues, has far greater normative influence on extremist recruitment and radicalization than religious beliefs and other appeals, but it has rarely been accounted for in counter-narrative campaigns and deradicalization programs in the West African Sahel region.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Bechtel Lectureship Fund.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob is a visiting international scholar in the International Studies program of Dickinson College.  His teaching and research interest is located at the intersection between communications, conflicts and peace building with particular reference to the Lake Chad Basin, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jacob visits Dickinson from the American University of Nigeria where he was chair of the Communications & Multimedia Design Program and interim dean in the School of Arts & Science. He has led the implementation of some very important donor-funded projects in support of peace building in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad region including a U.S. State Department-funded CVE project on peace journalism, involving training and working with a network of journalists, editors and influencers to facilitate a more nuanced media coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency.  He is the author of Convincing Rebel Fighters to Disarm: UN Information Operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DeGruyter 2017). Jacob earned his Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.  He has held a visiting position at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, where he initiated the research project on religious identity and violent extremism.

Bechtel Lectureship

This lectureship was established in honor of late emeriti faculty Dan Bechtel (Religion) and Joan Bechtel (Library Resources) to support speakers and events regarding Africa at The Clarke Forum.

Beyond Kinetics: Advancing Civil-Military Partnership in Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 6 p.m.


Muhammad Umer Bashir, Pakistan Army
Shawn Diniz ’18, Dickinson College
Margee Ensign, Dickinson College
Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, Dickinson College
Casey  Miner, United States Army
Yssouf Traore, Malian Army

ISIS and its affiliate organizations have recently suffered significant military losses in Syria, Iraq, North and West Africa as well as the broader Lake Chad Region. As `important as these military achievements are, they signal neither the end of ISIS and its affiliates nor the defeat of their extremist ideologies. Instead, they usher in an increasingly diffuse and unpredictable phase in the global war on terror. This panel discussion explores how the United States, Pakistan, Mali and Nigeria have experienced and learned from the changing phases of extremism, focusing mainly on what has worked and what hasn’t.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues in collaboration with the Carlisle Scholars Program at the U.S. Army War College.

Biographies from our Panelists

Brigadier Muhammad Umer Bashir is an artillery officer in the Army of Pakistan. He has commanded at the Regiment and Brigade levels, and performed as an instructor at the Pakistan National Defence University and Command and Staff College. Brigadier Bashir deployed to Morocco as an United Nations peace keeper. He has completed the National Security and Warfare Course and Command and Staff Course. He has earned a master of philosophy in public policy and governance and a master of science in art and science of warfare.  His recent deployments include planning, coordinating and conducting operations against terrorists, as well as rehabilitation of internally displaced persons and de-radicalization initiatives of Pakistan Army and affiliates.

Shawn Diniz ’18 is a senior at Dickinson College majoring in  international studies (security studies concentration) and a minor in Spanish. This entails courses in national/international security, business management, and pressing world issues. Diniz is a member of the men’s varsity tennis team, of which he has been captain for the past two years.  Diniz obtained two internships while at Dickinson; the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Creative Associates International, a development contractor, in Washington D.C.  These experiences coupled with his studies abroad at the University of Malaga, in southern Spain, help to enhance his worldview and aid in his assessment of geopolitical hotspots.

Margee Ensign became Dickinson’s 29th president on July 1, 2017. Prior to Dickinson she served for seven years as the president of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), a young, private university based on the U.S model of university education. There she oversaw the building of the sustainable campus, the creation of the finest digital library on the continent, the establishment of a law school as well as a graduate school, and a very active program of community engagement and humanitarian assistance. Pres. Ensign also co-founded the Adamawa Peace Initiative, a locally based response to the threat from Boko Haram violence, which successfully promoted peace in the area, and assisted close to 300,000 refugees for three years.

Pres. Ensign left her California home for New College in Florida where she received her B.A. in peace studies and international relations. She went on to earn her master’s and Ph.D. in international political economy from the University of Maryland. From there she proceeded to teach at Columbia University where she was an assistant professor of both economics and political science while serving as the director of the International Political Economy program. Moving to Washington DC, she assumed the role of director of the USAID’s development program through Tulane University, then diving into full-time university administration at the University of the Pacific where she was dean of the School of International Studies and associate provost for international initiatives.

The author and editor of four books, including Rwanda: History and Hope and Doing Good or Doing Well? Japan’s Foreign Aid Program, she has presented at the World Economic Forum, been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and CNN, written for The Washington Post, is a blogger for The Huffington Post, and has testified before Congress on international affairs, defense and foreign assistance.

Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob is a visiting international scholar in the international studies program of Dickinson College. His teaching and research interest is located at the intersection between communications, conflicts and peace building with particular reference to the Lake Chad Basin, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jacob visits Dickinson from the American University of Nigeria where he was chair of the Communications & Multimedia Design Program and interim dean in the School of Arts & Science. He has led the implementation of some very important donor-funded projects in support of peace building in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad region including a U.S. State Department-funded CVE project on peace journalism, involving training and working with a network of journalists, editors and influencers to facilitate a more nuanced media coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency.  He is the author of Convincing Rebel Fighters to Disarm: UN Information Operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DeGruyter 2017). Jacob earned his Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

Lieutenant Colonel Casey Miner, Ed.D., is an Army officer from Manhattan Beach, California, with over 27 years of service. He is currently a student at the Army War College in the Carlisle Scholars Program focusing on preventing violent extremism and youth identity. He recently completed an interagency fellowship with USAID where he served as the Kyrgyzstan desk officer, helped develop the Asia CVE strategy, and collaborated with the youth coordinator on the Strategic Youth security issues. Along with assignments in intelligence, logistics and strategic communications, he served as a command inspector general in Afghanistan where he developed a senior level resiliency program to prevent at-risk behavior and a strategy for organizational leaders to address negative deployment trends. His assignment as the aide-de-camp to the chief of the Army Reserve took him to 30 countries for security cooperation and capacity building engagements, strategic meetings with heads of armed forces and meetings on Capitol Hill. He deployed as part of the United Nations Protection Force in 1994 to the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia. Casey’s doctoral research at UCLA focused on connecting conceptual knowledge to practical application to better prepare youth for adulthood. He speaks at national education conferences and advises school districts. Casey graduated from the University of Southern California with an undergraduate degree in Political Science with minors in History and Peace and Conflict Studies. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and his awards include two bronze star medals.

Lieutenant Colonel Yssouf Traore is an international fellow of the United States Army War College. He received his commission as an infantry officer from the French Military Academy of Saint-cyr  in 2001. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, The Airborne School, Commando School of Montlouis, Command and General Staff College.  Prior to his arrival at Carlisle Barracks, he was assigned to Malian 33rd Airborne Regiment, where among other jobs he served as the company commander, operations officer and regiment commander. He also served as a operations officer in the Tuareg battalion and the commanding officer of the Malian airborne taskforce during the Sabre, Serval and Maliba operations with allied forces from 2013 to 2015 in northern Mali. Colonel Traore holds a master of international security studies from the Pierre Mendes France University. His awards and decorations include the Medaille de campagne Djiguitougou, Medaille de campagne Badinko, Medaille de campagne Maliba, Medaille des blesses, Medaille d’or de la defense nationale, the Parachutist Badge, the jumpmaster badge, the commando Badge Tab.


Related Web Links

Boko Haram, Diffusion of Terror

We are Obsessed with Peace

Silencing Boko Haram

Role of Women in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) 

The Military’s Role in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)



Seeing = Believing?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Eitan Grinspun, Columbia University
Steven Malcic, Dickinson College
Tabitha Peck, Davidson College
Graham Roberts, The New York Times
Gregory Steirer (moderator), Dickinson College

Where is computer-generated imaging and sound technology, including virtual reality, going next? Our panel of experts will discuss new developments in these technologies and what they mean for the politics of media production and consumption.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Departments of English; International Business & Management; Philosophy; the Film Studies Program; and the Churchill Fund. This program was initiated by the Clarke Forum’s Student Project Managers and it is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Eitan Grinspun is associate professor of computer science and applied mathematics at Columbia University, and co-director of the Columbia Computer Graphics Group. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and NSF CAREER Award recipient, NVIDIA Fellow and a Caltech Everhart Distinguished Lecturer. Prior to joining Columbia University, he was a research scientist at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences from 2003-2004, a doctoral student from the California Institute of Technology until 2003, and an undergraduate at the University of Toronto. He was profiled in The New York Times, Popular Science (“Brilliant 10 Scientists of 2011”), Fast Company (“Most Creative People in Business 2013”), Scientific American, New Scientist, and mentioned in Variety. The NSF-funded technologies developed by his laboratory are found in Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, major film studios including Disney, Pixar, and Weta Digital, and condensed matter physics laboratories. His film credits include The Hobbit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin.

Steven Malcic is a visiting assistant professor of film and media studies in the Department of English at Dickinson College, specializing in the areas of media infrastructures, media industries, internet history, and digital culture. His work focuses on the relationship between identity and digital media, having published articles in internationally refereed journals including the Internet Policy Review, Convergence, and the Journal of Information Policy. In 2014, he co-authored a comparative analysis of digital policy in the US and E.U., which was presented to the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. Malcic holds a Ph.D. in film and media studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tabitha Peck is a professor of mathematics and computer science at Davidson College. She completed her Ph.D. in computer science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 and has worked in numerous virtual reality research labs including the Palo Alto Research Center and the Experimental Virtual Environments (EVENT) Lab for Neuroscience at the University of Barcelona. Her research interests include the psychological implications of fully immersive body-swap illusions, including implications of racism and stereotype threat, and locomotion interfaces in virtual environments. She is an associate editor for Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments and serves on the ACM SIGGRAPH education committee and the IEEE Virtual Reality program committee.

Graham Roberts, director of immersive platforms storytelling at The New York Times,  leads an innovation team that explores new approaches in video, motion graphics, and virtual/augmented reality. This includes co-direction of editorial for NYT VR. He has received recognition for his work from a number of award-giving bodies, including the Society of News Design, the Emmy’s, the Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Pulitzer Awards. He also teaches at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Jessica Ferri, a writer and singer and creator of Dearly Departed, their son Roman, and dog Ralphie whose interests include squirrels and skateboards.

Gregory Steirer is an assistant professor of English and film studies at Dickinson College. His scholarship, which has appeared in a variety of journals and edited collections, including Convergence, Postmodern Culture, and Television and New Media, focuses on the technologies, business practices, and regulatory structures of twentieth and twenty-first century media systems. He has served three times as a researcher for the Connected Viewing Initiative of the Carsey-Wolf Center in Santa Barbara and has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2017-18 in support of his monograph on intellectual property law and the history of the narrative-based franchise.

Related Links

Stephen Walt

Harvard University

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars Program

Where is U.S. Foreign Policy Headed?

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This lecture explores the future of U.S. foreign policy under President Trump. Walt argues that Trump, his bellicose tweets notwithstanding,  is gradually being captured, coopted, and constrained by the foreign policy establishment. Under Trump, therefore, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be an even more inept version of our recent follies.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and Phi Beta Kappa and co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Advising, Political Science and International Studies.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Stephen Walt is Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former academic dean. He also taught at Princeton and the University of Chicago and has been a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, co-chair of the editorial board of International Security, and co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs book series. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received the International Studies Association’s Distinguished Senior Scholar award in 2014. His books include The Origins of Alliances; Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy; and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. He is currently writing a book about why U.S. foreign policy keeps failing.

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars Program

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering  undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.

The Visiting Scholars travel to more than 100 colleges and universities each year, spending two days on each campus and taking full part in the academic life of the institution. They meet informally with students and faculty members, participate in classroom discussions and seminars, and give a public lecture open to the academic community and the general public.

Over the last 60 years, 648 Visiting Scholars have made 5,288 visits to Phi Beta Kappa sheltering institutions.

Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression.


Ajuan Mance

Mills College

The 1001 Black Men Online Sketchbook and the Art of Social Justice

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Mance created 1001 Black Men: An Online Sketchbook as a reaction against the controlling images that have limited and defined media representations of Black men. Mance will use a slideshow of images from her series as the basis of a wide ranging discussion of art, Black maleness and gender performance, and representation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center; the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity; and the Departments of Africana Studies; American Studies; English; French; and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Ajuan Mance is a professor of English at Mills College in Oakland, California. She holds degrees from Brown University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. A lifelong artist, she works in acrylic on paper and canvas, ink on paper and, for the 1001 Black Men project, ink on paper and digital collage. Ajuan has participated in solo and group exhibitions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as well as at the University of Oregon, the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, and the Brainworks Gallery in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in several digital and print media outlets, including, most recently, Transition, Cog,, NPR,org, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times. A professor of English at Mills College in Oakland, California, Ajuan is partly inspired by her teaching and research in U.S. Black literature and history. In both her scholarly writing and her visual art, Ajuan explores race and gender, and the literature, lives, and locations, in which they intersect. She is the author of two scholarly books, Inventing Black Women: African American Women’s Poetry and Self-Representation, 1877-2000 and Before Harlem: An Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century, both from the University of Tennessee Press. She is also the author of several comics and zines, including A Blues for Black Santa, The Ancestors’ Juneteenth, and The Little Book of Big, Black Bears. Gender Studies, her autobiographical comic book series, uses humor to explore her experiences as a Black nerd navigating the complexities of gender.

Video of the Lecture



Martin Burt and Margee Ensign

Martin Burt, Fundación Paraguaya
Margee Ensign, Dickinson College

A Conversation with President Margee Ensign and Global Entrepreneur Martin Burt

Monday, February 26, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Ensign and Burt will discuss what it means to be a social entrepreneur; ways to envision a life in the areas of social innovation, advocacy, and social change; and the possibilities of entrepreneurship as a mechanism for reducing poverty.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) Certificate Program and the Department of International Business & Management. This program is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biographies (provided by the speakers)

Martin Burt is founder (1985) and CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, a 33-year old NGO devoted to the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic self-reliance to eliminate poverty around the world. He is a pioneer in applying new poverty metrics, microfinance, micro-franchise, youth entrepreneurship, financial literacy and technical vocational methodologies to address chronic poverty around the world. He has developed one of the world’s first financially self-sufficient agricultural and tourism high schools for the rural poor. He is co-founder of Teach a Man to Fish, a global network based in London (3000 members-150 countries) that promotes “education that pays for itself” and which is partnering with more than 50 organizations from 27 countries to establish self-sufficient schools, mostly in rural areas. He has also developed the Poverty Stoplight, a new poverty measurement tool and coaching methodology that assists families to self-diagnose their level of multidimensional poverty and develop customized plans to eliminate poverty. This new metric is now being implemented in more than 30 countries by more than 100 organizations, including the U.S. and the UK.  Burt is currently a member of the board of directors of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum and of the Global Foodbanking Network. In public service, he has served as chief of staff to the president of Paraguay, was elected mayor of Asunción, and was appointed vice minister of commerce. Burt has books published on economics, development, municipal government, poetry, and education and has received numerous awards. He holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University Law School and is a visiting professor of social entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and distinguished visiting professor at University of California, Irvine. Martin Burt was born in Asunción, Paraguay in 1957 where he resides with his family.

Margee M. Ensign became Dickinson College’s 29th president on July 1, 2017. Prior to Dickinson she served for seven years as president of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), a young, private university focused on development based on the U.S. model of university education. There, she oversaw the building of the sustainable campus, the creation of the finest digital library on the continent, and a very active program of community engagement and humanitarian assistance. AUN is located in Yola, the capital of Adamawa state, one of the three northeastern Nigerian states that have been under a state of emergency because of the Boko Haram insurgency. To deal with the crisis, Ensign co-founded and led the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API), a Yola-based response to the escalating violence, which successfully promoted peace in the area through education, empowerment and community development while feeding 300,000 refugees fleeing the fighting to the north.

Ensign has been internationally recognized for her pioneering work at AUN, including receiving the 2011 African Leadership Award in Educational Excellence, granted by London-based African Leadership Magazine. Rotary International made her a Paul Harris Fellow in 2012. In 2014, Ensign received the African Leadership Award from the World Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2015, the Women of Jama’atul Nasril Islam in Nigeria recognized her for her contributions to leadership, philanthropy, and education of women and girls in northeast Nigeria. She also received an honorary degree from the American University of Paris for her pioneering academic and humanitarian work.

Ensign worked in Africa for 15 years and served as an advisor to the governments of Uganda and Rwanda. She is a widely published scholar whose work focuses primarily on the challenges of international development as well as on the implications of development assistance. She co-authored Rwanda: History and Hope, co-edited Confronting Genocide in Rwanda and is the author of Doing Good or Doing Well? Japan’s Foreign Aid Program and Images and Behavior of Private Bank Lending to Developing Countries.

Prior to AUN, Ensign served as dean of the School of International Studies and associate provost for international initiatives at the University of the Pacific in California. At Pacific, she set up undergraduate and graduate programs in social entrepreneurship, inter-American studies and intercultural relations. She also established the Gerber Lecture Series that attracted such globally renowned speakers as Archbishop (emeritus) Desmond Tutu of South Africa, President Michelle Bachelet from Chile, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Vice-President Gilbert Bukenya of Uganda, President César Gaviria of Colombia, and Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway.

Ensign earned her B.A. from New College in Florida and her Ph.D. in international political economy from the University of Maryland. She began her academic and administrative career at Columbia University in New York City. There, she was both assistant professor of politics and economics and director of the international political economy program.

From Columbia, she became director of USAID’s development studies program at Tulane University and a professor at Tulane’s international development program, offering advanced programs at the master’s and Ph.D. levels in international development. She also has taught as visiting professor at Georgetown University and American University in Washington, D.C.

Video of the Discussion


Komozi Woodard ’71

Sarah Lawrence College

The Strange Career of the Jim Crow North: A Dickinson Story?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Live Stream Link

In the 1960s, the Congress of African Students at Dickinson College began the study of the Strange Career of the Jim Crow North with the early development of Africana Studies and the Black Arts Movement. This is the story of those Dickinson roots.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Waidner-Spahr Library; the Division of Student Life; and the Departments of History; Africana Studies; American Studies; Sociology; and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Komozi Woodard ’71 is professor of history, public policy and Africana studies at Sarah Lawrence College; he attended Princeton, Andover, Dickinson, the New School, Rutgers, Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania. Woodard was managing editor of Unity & Struggle and Black Newark newspaper and radio program in the Black Power Movement, Main Trend journal in the Black Arts Movement and Manhattan’s Children’s Express before writing and editing these: A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics; The Making of the New Ark; The Black Power Movement: Amiri Baraka from Black Arts to Black Radicalism, Freedom North, Groundwork, Black Power 50 and Want to Start a Revolution: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle?.

Komozi Woodard & Jeanne Theoharis curate Conversations in Black Freedom Studies at the Schomburg Center for Culture and Research in Harlem.

Video of the Lecture

Substantia Jones

Founder and Photographer, The Adipositivity Project

The Adipositivity Project

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Jones discusses (and displays) a decade of body politics activism promoting fat acceptance and physical autonomy by subverting that most commonly used tool of what she calls the angst industrial complex: photography.

The program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by The Trout Gallery. This program is also part of Love Your Body Week programming.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Substantia Jones is the founder and Photographer of The Adipositivity Project.  Jones’ work has been included in art exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London, the Steirischer Herbst Arts Festival in Graz, Austria, Lesbiche in Sardinia, Italy, and in a two-month solo exhibition of her photographs at Te Manawa Museum in New Zealand. She’s also been featured in VICE News, Glamour Magazine, US News & World Report, Cosmopolitan, BUST,, Huffington Post, Bustle, Mashable, The Establishment, on numerous podcasts and radio broadcasts, and in a TIME magazine video profile of Jones and The Adipositivity Project. She hopes to soon produce a book of her photographs, and looks forward to another decade of The Adipositivity Project.

Video of the Lecture


Food Access & Poverty

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Alyssa Feher, Tapestry of Health
Becca Raley ’94 (moderator), Partnership for Better Health
Risa Waldoks ’12, The Food Trust
Robert Weed ’80, Project Share

Food security allows all people to have access to regular, culturally appropriate food sources to ensure a healthy existence. Increased reliance on national and state food assistance programs reflect rising poverty and food insecurity in our community. Panelists will discuss both the systemic nature of persistent poverty and food insecurity and innovations designed to address these root concerns.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Studies, the Center for Sustainability Education, the Food Studies Program, Partnership for Better Health and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Alyssa Feher has served as the director of the Tapestry of Health WIC Program servicing Cumberland, Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata counties since 2011.  Feher is responsible for overseeing clinic operations and works frequently with clients needing assistance from multiple agencies.  She previously served as the human resources manager for a non-profit medical facility. Feher has a B.A. in political science from Shippensburg University and a M.A. in organizational leadership from Mansfield University.

Becca Raley ’94 is the executive director of the Partnership for Better Health where she oversees the foundation’s strategic direction and community investments to improve the health of the people and communities in our region. Raley serves as the organization’s lead spokesperson, advocates for effective policies, cultivates community partnerships, develops new public health initiatives and ensures sound fiscal and human resource management.

Prior to joining the foundation in 2009, Becca worked as director of institutional advancement and senior research associate at Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), a national nonprofit think tank. At P/PV, she designed new projects across the fields of youth programming, community health, workforce development and crime reduction. With 10 years of experience in applied research, Becca’s expertise includes directing multi-method program evaluations, securing and managing philanthropic grants, supporting demonstration projects and providing technical assistance to promising social programs. She has written and contributed to numerous research reports on the effectiveness of community-based programs for youth, young adults and seniors.

Becca serves on the Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center’s Advisory Council and is a board member of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the state’s largest nonprofit food distribution organization serving 27 counties. She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative and serves on numerous local coalitions including the Greater Carlisle Project, the Cumberland County State Health Improvement Partnership and the Perry County Health Coalition. She was appointed to Dickinson College’s Presidential Commission on Community and Civic Learning & Engagement. She served on the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner’s 2017 Consumer Health Literacy Work Group and is past chair of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Stakeholder Leadership Team. She has led foundation initiatives focused on addressing the region’s opioid epidemic, end-of-life planning, rural health access, postpartum depression, chronic disease prevention, and health policy advocacy. Becca graduated cum laude from Dickinson College and holds a master’s degree in sociology from Temple University.

Risa Waldoks ’12 is a project manager with The Food Trust’s National Campaign for Healthy Food Access. In this role, she brings together community residents, policymakers, public health and economic development leaders, grocers, farmers, foundations and other diverse partners in order to advance equity across the country. She lives in Philadelphia, where she is engaged in an array of food and social justice organizations, and she completed the city’s Citizen Planning Institute. Risa graduated from Dickinson College in 2012, and she majored in Policy Management and Political Science.

Robert Weed ’80, interim-CEO of Project Share, is a seasoned business leader, coach, and organizational change agent.  With almost 35 years’ experience in the Retail Banking industry, Bob has built the skills necessary to guide and lead teams through organizational and cultural reorganizations and systems integrations.  Weed has a record of successfully leading teams through integrations during bank mergers, including the PNC acquisition of Sterling Financial and PNC’s acquisition of NCC.  He also has experience in reorganizational activities and strategic tactical execution with Summit Bank and CoreStates Bank.

Weed earned his B.S.  in political science and psychology from Dickinson College.  He received his MBA with a concentration in human resource management from American University.  Bob has obtained coaching certification through various organizations and is a Gallup Great Workplace Award winner.

Related Resources


Web Resources


Video of the Lecture


Christopher S. Parker

University of Washington, Seattle

2018 MLK Jr. & Black History Month Symposium

Donald Trump, Race, and the Crisis of American Democracy

Monday, February 5, 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

The Democratic Party likes to make the argument that Trump can be defeated by wooing working-class whites. A classed-based strategy must be scrapped in favor of one that emphasizes race.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Christopher S. Parker is Stuart A. Scheingold Professor of Social Justice and Political Science in the department of political science at the University of Washington, Seattle. After serving in the military for a total of ten years, and another five as a probation officer for Los Angeles County, Parker attended UCLA. He then earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago. Parker is the author of Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America (Princeton). Parker’s award-winning first book, Fighting for Democracy: Black Veterans and the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South, was also published by Princeton University Press. He resides in Seattle.

Video of the Lecture

Gabriela González

Louisiana State University

The Glover Memorial Lecture
Einstein, Black Holes and Gravitational Waves

Monday, January 29. 2018
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.
(360 W. Louther Street, Carlisle, PA)

More than a billion years ago, the merger of two black holes produced gravitational waves  that were observed traveling through Earth on September 14, 2015. The talk will explain how Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves more than one hundred years ago, and describe the latest exciting discoveries with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Glover Memorial Lecture Fund and co-sponsored by department of physics & astronomy and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Gabriela González is a physicist working on the discovery of gravitational waves with The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team.  She was born in Córdoba, Argentina, studied physics at the University of Córdoba, and pursued her Ph.D. in Syracuse University, obtained in 1995. She worked as a staff scientist in the LIGO group at MIT until 1997, when she joined the faculty at Penn State. In 2001 she joined the faculty at Louisiana State University, where she is a professor of physics and astronomy. She has received awards from the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and is a fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since it was funded in 1997, served as the elected LSC spokesperson in 2011-2017, and is known for participating in the announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves in 2016.  Her work has focused on LIGO instrument development (especially reducing noise sources and tuning alignment systems) and LIGO data calibration and diagnostics, critical to increasing the astrophysical reach of data analysis methods.

The Glover Memorial Lecture

The Glover Memorial Lectures are usually presented in alternate years. This lectureship in science was established in 1958 in memory of John Glover of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, the inventor of the Glover Tower, and in memory of his son and grandson, Henry and Lester Glover, by the late Dr. John D. Yeagley and Mrs. Blanche Yeagley of York, Pennsylvania. Recent Glover Lectures include Peter Brancazio’s “Sports on the Moon,” Clint Sprott on “The New Science of Chaos,” Dr. Dorrit Hoffleit’s presentation on “A Century of Women in Astronomy,” Lawrence Krauss’ lecture on “The Physics of Star Trek,” Albert Bartlett’s lecture on “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy,” David Lee’s lecture on “Superconductivity and Superfluidity: A Century of Discovery”and Rush Holt’s lecture on “Advancing Science.”

Video of the Lecture

Solmaz Sharif

Iranian-American Poet

An Evening with Solmaz Sharif

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Poet Sharif, a National Book Award finalist, will share work that explores, in eloquent detail, the conduct of contemporary war, the intimacy of loss, and the unbearable—but necessary—power of language. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of English, the Creative Writing Program, the Department of American Studies and the Women’s & Gender Resource Center.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Photo Credit: Arash-SaediniaBorn in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif’s astonishing debut collection LOOK (Graywolf Press) was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and 2017 PEN Open Book Award. In LOOK, she recounts some of her family’s experience with exile and immigration in the aftermath of warfare—including living under surveillance and in detention in the United States—while also pointing to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout, she draws on the Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, the language used by the American military to define and code its objectives, policies, and actions. The Publishers Weekly Starred Review said, “Sharif defies power, silence, and categorization in this stunning suite. In form, content, and execution, LOOK is arguably the most noteworthy book of poetry yet about recent U-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the greater Middle East.” And The New Yorker said: “By turns fierce and tender, the poems are a searing response to American intervention—‘Hands that promised they wouldn’t, but did.’”

In her essay, “A Poetry Of Proximity,” Sharif writes, “It can take sixteen seconds for a Hellfire missile with its trigger pulled in Las Vegas to reach Mazar-e-Sharif. This is both much and little, both closer and more distant than we have ever been in warfare….A poem is similarly much and little, distant and close, but where one tries to increase the distance between bodies, the other tries to close. Where weapons try to limit the possibilities of speech and thereby the possibilities of desire, of recognition, poetry exists in speech. Where one has no song, the other is only.”

Sharif’s poems and essays have appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Witness, Volta, and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, scholarships the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a winter fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, an NEA fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. She has most recently been selected to receive a 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award as well as a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. She holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

Video of Lecture for Campus Viewing Only

The Opioid Epidemic in Central Pennsylvania

Monday, November 6, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Jack Carroll (moderator), Cumberland-Perry Drug and Alcohol Commission
Carrie DeLone, Holy Spirit-Geisinger
David Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office
Duane Nieves, Holy Spirit EMS
Kristen Varner, The RASE Project

Watch Live

This panel will address the current opioid epidemic in Central Pennsylvania, focusing both on the situation we face now and plans and opportunities for ending this significant problem.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, the Program in Policy Studies, the Health Studies Program and the Wellness Center.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Jack Carroll is the executive director of the Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission.  The Commission is responsible for managing public funded substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment services for residents of Cumberland and Perry Counties.  Carroll has worked in several different capacities within the drug and alcohol field since his graduation from Penn State in 1976.

Carrie L. DeLone, M.D joined Geisinger Health System as the medical director of the Holy Spirit Medical Group in 2015.  DeLone is responsible for overseeing clinical operations at Holy Spirit Medical Group’s physician practices, leading process improvement and innovation-based activities, establishing long-range objectives, and monitoring financial performance. She also serves as a liaison with community and governing authorities.  She  served as Pennsylvania’s Physician General during the Corbett administration. In that role, DeLone advised the governor and the health secretary on all medical and public health-related issues. Prior to that, DeLone served as physician advisor for Holy Spirit and has more than 20 years of clinical experience. “Holy Spirit’s culture of personalized quality patient care coupled with Geisinger’s innovation is enhancing health care in our community,” says Dr. DeLone. She believes it is important to encourage patients to become active healthcare decision makers. “Ensuring that patients are getting the best care possible and supporting individuals when they are vulnerable is the most important goal we can have as a health care system.” Board certified in internal medicine, Dr. DeLone completed both a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in physiology before graduating from Temple University School of Medicine. She is certified by the American Academy of Coding Professionals.

David J. Freed is serving his third full term as Cumberland County district attorney following his re-election in 2015. He has served as district attorney since December 28, 2005.  Prior to taking over as district attorney, he served as first assistant district attorney for five years, handling a caseload including homicides, violent felonies, complex drug transactions and arson cases.  He previously served as an assistant district attorney in Cumberland County and a deputy prosecutor in York County. Freed has also worked in the private practice of law concentrating on insurance defense litigation.  He graduated from Camp Hill High School, received his B.A., cum laude, from Washington and Lee University and his J.D. from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law.  Freed lectures frequently on various law enforcement topics including Victims Rights and Services, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Trial Advocacy.  He has lectured for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute and the National College of District Attorneys.  He is a member of the National District Attorneys Association where he serves on the national Legislative Committee, Past President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute.   He is former chair of the PDAA Education and Training Committee and current chair of the PDAA Communications Committee. In February, 2013, Mr. Freed received the Champion for Children Award from Fight Crime Invest in Kids Pennsylvania. Freed lives in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania with his wife Amy and children Thomas, Elizabeth and Natalie.  He is a past president of the Lion Foundation and a youth sports coach.


Duane Nieves has been a career paramedic since 1987. Throughout those years, he has served in the positions of staff paramedic, field supervisor, EMS continuing education coordinator, assistant chief and currently as director of field operations & chief at Holy Spirit EMS, A Geisinger Affiliate in Camp Hill, PA. Duane also serves as adjunct faculty for Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) EMS Programs, is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee for the HACC Paramedic Program, is president of Cumberland County EMS Council, and represents EMS on the Cumberland County Community Opiate Overdose Prevention Coalition. Since passage of PA ACT 139 of 2014, Duane has provided the required EMS agency oversight to Cumberland County Law Enforcement Agencies who elect to participate in the administration of Naloxone to patients believed to be suffering from opioid-related drug overdoses. Duane recently received recognition for this work in the form of two awards. In December, 2016 he received the “Exceptional Civilian Service Award” from the Cumberland County Chiefs of Police Association and in June, 2017, the “2017 Champions for Better Health – Community Impact Award” from Partnership for Better Health.

Kristin Varner, director of Carlisle programs, training, and advocacy of The Rase Project, received her B.A. from Shippensburg University in August 2000. Prior to joining The RASE Project, she worked as an assistant for the television station, WHTM ABC 27 in Harrisburg, PA. She was appointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee for Cumberland County Children & Youth in 2013 to serve as a representative of the recovery community. As an active member of the recovery community, Varner volunteers on several communities based committees such as The Substance Abuse & Prevention Coalition, The Local Housing Options Team and Committee Woman for Swatara Township. Recently she accepted a position as a board member of Carlisle CARES. She is also a member of Cumberland County Opiate Overdose Coalition (COOP). Currently, Kristin oversees all Carlisle RASE Programs, facilitates the RASE educational trainings, maintains the “In My Own Words Speaker’s Bureau” and is the responsible for all RASE advocacy efforts.

Related Links

Faces and Voices of Recovery
Get Naloxone Now
Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission 
Cumberland County Community Opiate Overdose Prevention Coalition
Cumberland County Medication Take Back Boxes
PA Dept. of Drug & Alcohol Programs Opioid/Heroin Overdose Reversal
Not One More
Cumberland-Perry Family Resources
The Harbor
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Video of the Panel Discussion

Sean Sherman

Founder, The Sioux Chef

The Evolution of Indigenous Food Systems of North America

Friday, November 3, 2017
Stern Center, Great Room, 4:30 p.m.

Committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine, Sherman will share his  research uncovering the foundations of the Indigenous food systems. There will be a book sale and signing following the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the the Office of Dean & Provost – Neil Weissman, the Center for Sustainability Education, the Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, American Studies, Environmental Studies, and the Food Studies Program.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, has been cooking in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana for the last 27 years.  In the last few years, his main culinary focus has been on the revitalizing of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context.  Sean has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, elemental cooking techniques, and Native culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world.  In 2014, he opened the business titled, The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator to the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.  In 2015 in partnership with the Little Earth Community of United Tribes in Minneapolis, he and his business partner Dana Thompson designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, which features pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories.  Chef Sean and his vision of modern indigenous foods have been featured in many articles and radio shows, along with dinners at the James Beard Foundation in Milan and also Slow Foods Indigenous Terra Madre in India.  The Sioux Chef team continues with their mission statement to help educate and make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible.

Video of the Lecture

Paul Offit

Pediatrician and Expert on Vaccines, Immunology and Virology

The Vaccine-Autism Controversy

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

How have scientists, the media, and the public dealt with the question of whether vaccines cause autism? A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy and the Health Studies Program.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Paul A. Offit, MD is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. Offit has published more than 160 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. He is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC; for this achievement Offit received the Luigi Mastroianni and William Osler Awards from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the Charles Mérieux Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases; and was honored by Bill and Melinda Gates during the launch of their Foundation’s Living Proof Project for global health. In 2009, Offit received the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2011, he received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Biologics Industry Organization (BIO), the David E. Rogers Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges, the Odyssey Award from the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2012, Offit received the Distinguished Medical Achievement Award from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Drexel Medicine Prize in Translational Medicine fro the Drexel University College of Medicine. In 2013, he received the Maxwell Finland award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the Distinguished Alumnus award from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Innovators in Health Award from the Group Health Foundation. In 2015, Offit won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, he won the Franklin Founder Award from the city of Philadelphia, The Porter Prize from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and the Jonathan E. Rhoads Medal for Distinguished Service to Medicine from the American Philosophical Society.

Offit was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research. He is also the author of six medical narratives: The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007), for which he won an award from the American Medical Writers Association, Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Columbia University Press, 2008), Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Basic Books, 2011), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews and Booklist as one of the best non-fiction books of the year, Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013), which won the Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking from the Center for Skeptical Inquiry and was selected by National Public Radio as one of the best books of 2013, and Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine (Basic Books, 2015), selected by the New York Times Book Review as an “Editor’s Choice” book in April 2015. Offit has also written Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong (National Geographic Press/Random House, April 2017) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Science and Health (manuscript in preparation). In 2017, he also became a weekly columnist for The Daily Beast.

Video of the Lecture

Franklyn Schaefer – “Wesley Lecturer”

Pastor, Activist and Author

Wesley Lecture

An Indictment of the United Methodist Anti-Gay Doctrine

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

Does the United Methodist anti-gay doctrine violate John Wesley’s “do-no-harm” rule? Testimonies of queer church members and an analysis of a study by the American Psychology Association strongly suggest that it does.

This lecture is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice with special thanks to the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and co-sponsored by the Department of Religion, the Division of Student Life and the Office of LGBTQ Services. It is also co-sponsored by the Churchill Fund and part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Rev. Franklyn Schaefer is a United Methodist pastor, chaplain and author (Defrocked, 2014). He and his wife immigrated from Germany in 1990. After obtaining a master’s of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary (1996) and following ordination as an elder (1998), he served two church appointments in Pennsylvania. In between appointments, he obtained a clinical pastoral education degree from Penn State University while working as a resident chaplain at Hershey Medical Center. (2001-2002). In a highly publicized United Methodist Church trial he was defrocked in 2013 for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding after refusing to denounce gay marriage rights. He was reinstated on an appeal in June 2014, a ruling that was upheld by the Church’s highest Court in October 2014. Schaefer has became a national advocate for human rights while also pioneering the University U.M. Church restart in Isla Vista, California.

The Wesley Lecture
The Wesley Lecture grows out of the historical relationship between Dickinson College and the Methodist Church, a relationship that has its roots in the 19th century. The lecture highlights contemporary conversations and controversies in faith communities and in higher education about the importance and role of community, commitment, and service for the education of the citizen-scholar.

Video of the Lecture

Damián Sainz

Cuban Filmmaker

Imagining Cuba: Emerging Documentary Filmmaking within Social Change

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Sainz explores the struggles of the emerging generation of documentary filmmakers in contemporary Cuba.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Departments of Spanish & Portuguese; Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies; Film Studies; the Women’s & Gender Resource Center; and First Year Seminars.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Damián Sainz  graduated from the University of Arts, Havana, Cuba with a degree in media arts and from the EICTV (International Film and Television School of San Antonio de los Baños) with a degree in documentary direction. Sainz also studied at the Mel Oppenheim Film School in Montreal, Canada and at the Cinema Department at HEAD Genève, Switzerland. Sainz has worked as director, editor and producer in documentary films in Cuba, Canada, Switzerland and Spain and has collaborated with visual arts projects like Galeria Continua, Inventario at the Ludwig Foundation and online project Docuselfie. His short documentary films, focused on LGBTQ culture in the island and Cuban youth, have been selected and awarded in several international film festivals like Havana Film Festival, Fribourg in Switzerland, FICUNAM in Mexico, DocumentaMadrid in Spain and FICU in Uruguay. Sainz teaches documentary cinema at the EICTV in San Antonio de los Baños, The Ludwig Foundation in Cuba and at the Cinema Program of Altos de Chavón in Dominican Republic. He lives and works as an independent filmmaker in Havana, Cuba.

Related Links

Video of the Lecture

Republican Politics Today

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Watch Live


Reneé Amoore, Republican Party of Pennsylvania
Robert Borden ’91, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Brandon Ferrance, Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans
Jim Gerlach ’77, Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC)
David O’Connell (moderator), Dickinson College

Drawing from state and national politics, this panel will explore who identifies as and what it means to be a Republican today. Particular attention will be paid to the definitions of conservatism and the challenges Republicans face in Pennsylvania as a swing state, adding context to political debates on Dickinson’s campus.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Division of Student Life, the Departments of American Studies and Psychology and the Program in Policy Studies.  This program was also initiated by the Clarke Forum Student Project Managers.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Reneé Amoore is a longtime advocate of clinically-appropriate and cost effective alternatives to expensive healthcare, and began her foray into the medical field as a registered nurse with training at Harlem Hospital School of Nursing. Earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Antioch University, Amoore catapulted from a career in nursing, to supervisor of a hospital program, and VP and COO of a social service organization.
In 1996 Amoore started her own company, which today consists of three divisions under the parent corporation, The Amoore Group (TAG).  The divisions of TAG provide diverse services, such as: PR/ marketing, government relations, health care consulting, job creation, education, workplace diversity, and early intervention/allied health services.

An active participant in shaping her community, Amoore was the first African American elected to the Upper Merion School District, where she served as the board’s vice president for four years. In 1992, she was elected to Pennsylvania’s Republican State Committee and became its deputy chair in 1996.

In 2004 she became the first female and African American to chair a Pennsylvania delegation to the Republican National Convention.  She also did role call at the 2000 Republican National Convention.  At the 2008 Republican National Convention she was a keynote speaker.  She has raised money for national, state and local candidates for the Republican Party.  She is a Republican strategist for Fox News, CNN and local Philadelphia stations.  She currently has a radio show, “Real Clear”.

She is also currently involved with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber Executive Committee, CMS, Women Against MS, Take the Lead Event Committee, Vision 2020, and the Pennsylvania New Majority Council, while also serving as a Drexel University trustee, a member of Drexel University’s executive board, member of the Main Line board of governors, Main Line Health, member of the Urban Affairs Coalition and the chair of the Joint Board at Saints Memorial Baptist Church.

The Elevator of Achievement: Determination Requires a Choice, is a book written by Amoore in which she demonstrates how women can move up the corporate ladder by shaping their own attitudes about success, prejudice, oppression, equality, business, and leadership.

Robert Borden ’91 is the deputy staff director of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform under Chairman Trey Gowdy. He has served on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. He was the director of oversight for Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leaders Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy. In that capacity, he coordinated the oversight and investigative activities of House committees. Borden has also served as the general counsel of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and before that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. In addition, he served as counsel to the select committees that investigated the Benghazi terrorist attacks and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Borden graduated from Dickinson College in 1991 and from American University’s Washington College of Law in 1994. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and his two daughters.

Brandon Ferrance is the chairman of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans, he is also currently serving on the executive committee of the Cumberland County Republican Committee as a vice chairman and the Credentials Committee of the College Republican National Committee. In the past he founded and chaired the Luzerne County Teenage Republicans, served as Northeast Central Caucus representative for the Pennsylvania Teenage Republicans, served as co-chairman, vice chairman, and secretary for the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans, as well as working on numerous campaigns across the Commonwealth. He was recently named to PoliticsPA’s 30 Under 30 list as one of Pennsylvania’s 2016 Rising Stars. Raised in Luzerne County, he now resides in Cumberland County and attends school at Shippensburg University where he majors in political science.

Former U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA) serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC).

He joins BIPAC following an extensive career in public service and the private sector. Rep. Gerlach served Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District for 12 years where he most recently served on the House Ways and Means Committee and its Subcommittees on Health and Select Revenue. In the 113th Congress he was also the lead Republican on the Ways and Means Manufacturing Working Group. During his six terms in the House, from 2002-2014, Rep. Gerlach also served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Financial Services Committee, and the Small Business Committee.

National publications, including National Journal and Roll Call, have recognized Rep. Gerlach’s strong record as an independent voice. He is no stranger to difficult campaigns. The 6th District was ranked as the most competitive district in the nation between 2002 and 2008, according to a University of Minnesota survey.

Prior to his tenure with the U.S. Congress, Rep. Gerlach also served four years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and eight years in the Pennsylvania Senate. This public service was preceded by 10 years of private law practice in the Commonwealth.
Throughout his career, Jim has always stood for free enterprise. Gerlach was repeatedly named a “Guardian of Small Business” while serving the citizens of Pennsylvania as a state legislator and a Member of the U.S. Congress. While in Congress, he received perfect scores from BIPAC’s Outline for Prosperity, received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise award, and gained support from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Active in his community, Gerlach served as a member of the board of directors of the Brandywine Health Foundation, as well as a member of the board of directors of MECA (Mission for Educating Children with Autism), the board of trustees of Dickinson College, the Chester County Agricultural Development Council, the West Brandywine Township Zoning Hearing Board, and the board of directors of the Brandywine Hospital.

oconneld OConnell DavidDavid O’Connell (moderator) is an assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College. His research interests include the presidency and religion and American politics. O’Connell’s research has been published in Presidential Studies Quarterly, and his first book, God Wills It: Presidents and the Political Use of Religion, was recently re-released in paperback. Professor O’Connell is a frequent media commentator on American politics, having appeared on C-SPAN, ABC27, CBS21, FOX43, WGAL 8 and WITF, and he has been interviewed by print outlets ranging from CNN to The Christian Science Monitor to the Associated Press. Professor O’Connell received his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, and holds a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Video of the Panel Discussion

Raquel Cepeda

Journalist, Critic, Filmmaker, and Autobiographer

Remixing the American Dream

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

The American Dream, Cepeda argues, is a pipedream for some and a birthright for others. Challenging the absurdity of the black-white national conversation about the American dream, Cepeda offers a working and accessible revision to suit generations of Americans, like her, who have been pushed to the margins.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, the Popel Shaw Center for Ethnicity & Race, the Division of Student Life, and the Departments of Spanish & Portuguese, English, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, award-winning journalist, cultural activist, podcaster, and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda is the author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. Equal parts memoir about Cepeda’s coming of age in New York City and Santo Domingo, and detective story chronicling her year-long journey to discover the truth about her ancestry, the book also looks at what it means to be Latinx today. Cepeda’s latest documentary Some Girls, produced by Henry Chalfant and Sam Pollard, focuses on a group of troubled Latina teens from a Bronx-based side prevention program who are transformed by an exploration of their roots via the use of ancestral DNA testing, followed by a treat to the seat of the Americas. Cepeda is currently in production on her next documentary and currently writing East of Broadway, a story about one community in New York as soon through the lives of several of its inhabitants. She lives with her husband, Sacha Jenkins, a filmmaker, musician, and creative agency partner, her daughter, 20, and five-year-old son in New York City, “…concrete jungle where dreams are made of [and] there’s nothin’ you can’t do…”