Upcoming College Speakers Include Nobel Peace Laureate, Popular Religion Scholar

Church of the Brethren-related colleges are hosting some well-known speakers for upcoming events, including well known religion scholar Diana Butler Bass who will speak at Bridgewater (Va.) College, and Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee who will speak at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

Photo by courtesy of Bridgewater College
Diana Butler Bass, to speak at Bridgewater College spring 2013

Bass to speak at Bridgewater

Diana Butler Bass, author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture, will speak on Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College. The program is sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

A Chabraja Fellow with the SeaburyNEXT project at Seabury Western Theological Seminary, Bass regularly consults with religious organizations, leads conferences for religious leaders, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues. She is a blogger at “The Huffington Post” and Patheos and regularly comments on religion, politics, and culture in the media including “USA Today,” “Time,” “Newsweek,” and other publications as well as television and radio. She is author of eight books, including “Christianity After Religion: The End of Church” and “Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.” “Publishers Weekly” named her book “Christianity for the Rest of
Us” as one of the best religion books of 2006. From 2002-06 she served as project director of a national Lilly Endowment funded study of mainline Protestant vitality

Also coming up at Bridgewater College is a presentation by kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart. Abducted from her Utah bedroom on June 5, 2002, at the age of 14, Smart was imprisoned and sexually abused by her captors for nine months before being rescued by the police. She will tell her story on Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall. Because of her experience, she has become an advocate for legislative change related to child abduction and recovery programs, and speaks on behalf of kidnapping survivors and child victims of violence and sexual abuse. The program at Bridgewater is sponsored by the W. Harold Row Endowed Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

Gbowee speaks at Elizabethtown on April 17

Photo by courtesy of Elizabethtown College
Leymah Gbowee, to speak at Elizabethtown College spring 2013

The Ware Lecture on Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College will feature Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace laureate 2011, on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center, sponsored by the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking. Attendees must reserve tickets by calling 717-361-4757.

Gbowee is the author of “Mighty Be Our Powers,” an account of her experiences during the Liberian civil war. The book details the Gbowee family’s many losses during the conflict including loved ones and childhood dreams, and the unique struggles that brought her to where she is today such as her experience of domestic violence as a young mother. In 2003, Gbowee helped organized the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, an alliance of Christian and Muslim women that rallied together in protest and helped lead the nation back to peace. Gbowee is now founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, co-founder and executive director of Women Peace Security Network Africa, and a founding member of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West African Network for Peacebuilding. She also is the Newsweek-Daily Beast’s African columnist.

The movie “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” was based on Gbowee’s book of the same name, and details the remarkable story. Elizabethtown College also will screen the movie on April 3, at 7 p.m. in Musser Auditorium in the Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. A panel discussion and question and answer session will follow.

Also at Elizabethtown College, the Young Center holds its annual banquet at 6 p.m. on April 11, in the Susquehanna Room of Elizabethtown College’s Myer Hall. Banquet speaker is Donald B. Kraybill, senior fellow at the Young Center, author or editor of numerous journal articles and books, and cultural expert witness at the three-week trial of 16 Amish defendants in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, last fall. Kraybill will speak on “The Whisker War: Why the Beard Cutters Were Charged with Federal Hate Crimes.” The lecture is free and can be attended independently of the banquet. The banquet, open to all who are interested, costs $18 and requires reservations. A reception precedes the banquet at 5:30 p.m. Call 717-361-1470 before the March 28 deadline.

Discussion Day at Manchester University examines human rights

Feb. 27 is the date of a campus-wide examination of human rights at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., called “Discussion Day.” Featured are best-selling author Dave Zirin who will present a keynote lecture on human rights and sports, along with 28 workshops and 5 documentaries.

At 10 a.m. in Cordier Auditorium Zirin, who is sports editor for “The Nation” and one of the “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World” as named by “Utne Reader,” will speak on the topic “Not Just a Game: Human Rights and American Sports” and examine the intersection of power, politics, and organized sports.

More than two dozen concurrent sessions will be led that afternoon by Manchester faculty, students, and community members on topics ranging from mass incarceration, child hunger, lead poisoning, marriage equality, and criminal justice reform, to human trafficking, the Holocaust, academic freedom, health care, and immigration.

In the evening, five films will be screened: “Bitter Seeds” about genetically-modified crops, “Two Spirits” about traditional gender boundaries, “Which Way Home” about immigration issues, “Lives Worth Living” about the disability rights movement, and “Half the Sky” about oppression of women. The public is invited to all events. The full news release with links to events is at www.manchester.edu/News/DiscussionDay2013.htm .

— This report is taken from college press releases written by Mary Kay Heatwole, Amy J. Mountain, and Jeri S. Kornegay.