A New York Times reporter, a Washington Post editor, a president's brother and an influential policy wonk will be among the speakers at this year's Odyssey Media Forum, a popular lecture series open to the university community and the general public.
For five Wednesday evenings in October, they will draw from personal experience to address conflicts in different regions of the world as they address this year's theme, The New World Disorder: Clashing Cultures, Politics and the Search for Answers.
"[The forum] is a look at the troubled spots of the world with different speakers," said series coordinator Ghita Levine, a communications consultant who teaches graduate courses in media studies for the Hopkins Washington Center.
William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and E.J. Dionne, a nationally syndicated Washington Post columnist, will square off on opening night, Oct. 2, with "The U.S. as a World Leader: Are We Up to the Task?" Once assistant to Vice President Dan Quayle, Kristol is an influential political analyst and regularly appears on major political talk shows. Dionne is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and the author of the book Why Americans Hate Politics.
On Oct. 9, Qayum Karzai, a Baltimore restaurateur and founder of Afghans for Civil Society, and two Baltimore Sun correspondents will discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan. Qayum helped his brother Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, reconstruct the country with the June elections. William Englund covered Afghanistan for the Sun and Kathy Lally, his wife, filed stories from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
The New York Times' Joel Brinkley will address "Israel: Crisis Without End?" on Oct. 16. From 1988 to 1991, he served as Jerusalem bureau chief and returned to the region this spring to report on the ongoing conflict. Brinkley was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.
Washington Post foreign editor David E. Hoffman will address the transformation of the former Soviet Union into modern Russia. His lecture, "Russia: The Stories Behind the Creation of the New State," will take place on Oct. 23. Hoffman will draw on his experiences as foreign correspondent in the region to detail the growth of Russian capitalism and describe the six men of wealth who ruled the country.
The final session, on Oct. 30, commemorates the centennial of the American Anthropological Association with anthropologist Tania Fjorte traveling from her home in Beersheba, Israel, to report on "Conflict in Jenin: A Firsthand Account." She has studied women in Jenin and will discuss "the production of media" as viewed by both Israelis and Palestinians and by the journalists themselves.
The Media Forum was founded nine years ago by Levine, who at the time was the director of communications in the university's Office of News and Information.
"I thought it would be good to get to know the media on a different level than reading them or watching them on television," she said. "It was also a way to give something back to the Baltimore community, since this is a way that people who drive by [the Homewood campus] can participate in the mental stimulation that exists on campus."
The lecture series is part of Odyssey, which is run by the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education and is this year offering 65 noncredit courses. Levine said the series receives no funding for attracting speakers. "I do it strictly by persuasion," she said.
Past speakers have included the presidents of both CBS and CNN. Levine hopes that this year's high-profile speakers will see increased attendance by undergraduates, for whom the series is free with Hopkins identification.
"It's a little jewel on campus," she said of the forum. "I think people ought to take advantage of it."
Lectures begin at 8 p.m. and run through 9:30 p.m. An informal reception commemorating the centennial of the American Anthropological Association will conclude the lecture series after the Oct. 30 event.
All events take place in Schafler Auditorium of the Bloomberg Center, Homewood campus. Cost for the public is $98 for the entire series; faculty and staff, reduced with tuition remission; students with ID, free. Tickets for single sessions are available at the door.
For more information, call the Odyssey Program at 410-516-4842 or -7709.