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Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia Banner Spring 2014

Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia

About Our Speakers...


In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled on a later date unless otherwise noted.

Bill Press Photo Tuesday, February 11 - 7:00PM

Syndicated columnist, political talk show host, and best-selling author, Bill Press will address the present stagnation and chaos of Washington DC , especially the United States Congress. He will explore the possibility of a middle ground between Republicans and Democrats on the hill and analyze whether President Obama is too bold or too timid.

Bill Press is host of The Bill Press Show, a nationally syndicated radio show airing weekdays across the country. He attends the daily White House press briefing where he tweets live and writes a syndicated newspaper column distributed weekly by Tribune Media Services. For over two decades, Press has stood in the line of fire, debating heated national issues. He has authored several books, including his latest: The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions, and Personal Attacks on the President - And Who Is Behind Them. He has also worked as a political commentator for CNN and MSNBC and co-hosted Crossfire with Tucker Carlson.
Paul Monteiro Photo Wednesday, February 26 - 7:00PM

Paul Monteiro, Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, will describe his interfaith outreach efforts and the dialogue between faith communities and the forming of public policy in the Obama administration.

On stage with Monteiro will be a distinguished panel of interfaith leaders: Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders and former Chair of the Board of Chaplains at George Washington University; ImanYahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain at Georgetown University and Founder and President of Clergy Beyond Borders; Reverend Wilson Gunn, General Presbyter, National Capital Presbytery; and Reverend Dr. Stephanie J. Nagley, Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The distinguished panel and Paul Monteiro will discuss their faith traditions and the potential for religion to enhance the possibilities of peace and the elimination of poverty and inequality.
Lisa Crooms Photo Wednesday, March 26 - 7:00PM

Director of the Constitutional Law Center, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law, Lisa Crooms will explore human rights, both national and international, and she will comment on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - the One Book Germantown selection for spring 2014.

Dean Crooms is an expert on Constitutional, Gender, and International Human Rights Law. She is a Fulbright Scholar, having researched the relationship between gender, violence, and law in the construction of Jamaican post-independence national identity. One of her most significant articles is entitled The Future of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, in which she argues for the expansion of the Commission to include Human Rights. Dean Crooms also participated in a distinguished panel testifying be-fore the Congressional Black Caucus on Race in America.
Sheila Kay Adams Photo Wednesday, April 2 - 7:00PM

Sheila Kay Adams, one of nine individuals to receive the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, will demonstrate her signature drop-thumb style claw-hammer skills on the five-string banjo, her Appalachian storytelling, and ballad singing for an unforgettable evening of North Carolina folk traditions.

A seventh-generation ballad singer, storyteller, and musician, Sheila Kay Adams was born and raised in Madison County, North Carolina, an area renowned for its unbroken tradition of unaccompanied singing dating back to the early Scots and English settlers of the mid-17th century. She made musical appearances in the 1992 film Last of the Mohicans and was technical advisor and singing coach for the movie Songcatcher. She is also the acclaimed author of two books: Come Go Home With Me, a collection of short stories drawn from life in Madison County, and My Old True Love, a novel of love and family in the Civil-War era of Madison County.
NOOR Photo  Monday, April 14 - 7:00PM
NOOR - Screening of Drama: Written by Akbar Ahmed and Directed by Manjula Kumar, Followed by Distinguished Panel: Director, Actors, and Frank Islam

Noor is a two-act play about the abduction of a young woman named Noor and her three brothers who represent currents inside modern Muslim communities: a Sufi, a secular government bureaucrat, and an angry fundamentalist. Noor was written by Dr. Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and First Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Acad-emy. He has taught at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities and has been called “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam.”

Author of over a dozen award-winning books, he recently completed The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.

Following the screening of Noor, Manjula Kumar, director of Noor and Program Director at the Smithsonian Institution, will lead a panel discussion of this significant drama.
Charles Williams Photo Wednesday, April 30 - 7:00PM
CHARLES WILLIAMS, Accompanied by Betty Bullock, formerly of the Washington Opera : Opera, The American Song Book, and Poetry of Langston Hughes

Renowned international singer, Charles Williams will sing two selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; he performed the role of Sportin’ Life at the Metropolitan Opera. In addition, he will sing some favorites from the American Song Book and recite the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Charles Williams made his opera debut at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has acted and sung in theatres and opera houses in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich, and Vienna. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, The Barns at Wolf Trap, The Smithsonian, and the Kennedy Center. He toured Europe as a cast member and vocal coach of The Temptation of St. Anthony, which was performed at the Paris Opera and at festivals in Melbourne and Warsaw. In March, Charles will end a two-year world tour performing in the ground-breaking opera Einstein on the Beach composed by Philip Glass and directed by Robert Wilson.

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