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Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia

About Our Speakers...


The following is a list of speakers for the Spring 2016 Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia.


Luis Branco Photo

Wednesday, February 3 - 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Luis Branco, co-founder of Zalgen Labs

Zalgen Labs is a biotechnology company that develops rapid diagnostics and therapeutics for emerging and neglected viral diseases. He earned his BS at the University of Massachusetts and his Ph.D. at Tulane University.

Ebola and Other Pandemic Diseases: Their Economic, Social, and Political Impact on West African Nations.
Dr. Branco has extensive experience in research, clinical, and outreach logistics in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, where he has been working since 2008 on viral hemorrhagic fevers, including the recent 2014-2015 Ebolavirus outbreak.

Azar Nafisi Photo

Tuesday, February 16 - 7:00 p.m.

Azar Nafisi, author
Reading Lolita in Tehran (117 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List)
Things I’ve Been Silent About (2008)
The Republic of the Imagination: A Life in Books (2014)

Literature’s Place in a Free and Enlightened Society
Nafisi is a fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She is an Iranian writer, a professor of English Literature, has won numerous literary awards, and has taught at Oxford University and universities in Tehran. She has resided in the US since 1997 and became an American citizen in 2008.

Leonard Pitts Photo

Wednesday, March 2 - 7:00 p.m.

Leonard Pitts, Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
Columnist for Miami Herald
Novelist
Grant Park (2015); Freeman (2012); Forward from This Moment (2009); Before I Forget (2009)

Race and Social Justice: Why Black Lives Matter
“To treat where it hurts, one must first acknowledge that it still hurts….[this acknowledgement] gives the lie to the self-congratulatory balloon juice about how this country has overcome its founding sin.” (Miami Herald, August 2015)

Dervish with Cathy Jordan Photo

Monday,March 21 - 7:00 p.m.

Dervish with Cathy Jordan

Described by BBC Radio as "an icon of Irish music,” Dervish is an Irish traditional music group from County Sligo, Ireland. They were formed in 1989 by Liam Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Martin McGinley, Brian McDonagh, and Michael Holmes.

Traditional Irish Music - Straight from Ireland, featuring Dervish and Brilliant Soloist, Cathy Jordan
Described by BBC Radio as "an icon of Irish music,” Dervish is an Irish traditional music group from County Sligo, Ireland. They were formed in 1989 by Liam Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Martin McGinley, Brian McDonagh, and Michael Holmes.

Jennifer Lawless Photo

Tuesday, April 5 -11:00 a.m.

Jennifer Lawless, author

Lawless serves as the current director of the Women and Politics Institute and as Professor of Government at American University. Her research about female candidates and election results has been published in many scholarly journals, including Political Research Quarterly.

Running from Office: Why Young People Are Turned Off to Politics (published 2015)
Lawless has authored other notable books, including It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office (2010). Her commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Victoria Chang Photo

Monday,April 25 - 11:00 a.m.

Victoria Chang, poet
Books of Poetry: Circles - 2006; Salvinia Molesta - 2008; The Boss - 2015. Chang was the recipient of the 2014 Pen Center Literary Award and 2013 California Book Award. She graduated from Harvard University and Stanford Business School and has an MFA in poetry.

Searing Poems Ranging from Infidelity to Global Politics
Literary critic James Longenbach writes that Chang’s poetry is an “intersection where the personal, the global, the political, and domestic all collide in a shower of sparks. There is brutality, depravity, but there is great beauty as well - the kind that endures and has lasting power.”



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