Whether you agree or disagree with the speaker's point
of view, you're sure to leave with plenty to talk and think
about when you attend the annual Milton S.
Entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte will lead off
this year's star-powered series at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept.
19, at Homewood's Shriver Hall auditorium.
Nicknamed the "King of Calypso," Belafonte popularized
the Caribbean musical style and produced Calypso, one of
the first albums to sell over 1 million copies. Belafonte
is also known for civil rights and humanitarian work and,
more recently, for his criticism of the policies of the
Bush administration. In 2003, he received the Ideals Award
at Johns Hopkins' annual celebration of Martin Luther King
Jr., a close friend; he also was the keynote speaker for
that event in 1985.
Held every fall since 1967 on the Johns Hopkins
Homewood campus, the series — which honors one of the
university's longtime presidents — presents an issue
of national importance and celebrates a free exchange of
ideas. The event is run entirely by undergraduates, who
develop the theme, secure speakers, raise funds and handle
The symposium has a history of attracting some of the
world's most prominent leaders, politicians, artists and
scholars. Among those who have appeared are Maya Angelou,
Carl Bernstein, Michael Bloomberg, Rubin "Hurricane"
Carter, Noam Chomsky, Tom Clancy, Wesley Clark, Ann
Coulter, Alan Dershowitz, Gerald R. Ford, Jesse Jackson, Ed
Koch, Nelson Mandela, Chris Matthews, Eugene McCarthy,
Michael Moore, Oliver North, Antonin Scalia, Russell
Simmons, Ben Stein and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
The symposium this year boasts an eight-speaker roster
of prominent social activists that also includes politicos,
a hip-hop artist and a fashion model. The event also
features a debate between the College Democrats and the
Its theme is Finding Our Voice: The Role of
America's Youth. Arash Massoudi, an international
relations major and co-chair of the symposium, said that
the event's committee felt that the nation is currently at
a crossroads, as it was a few generations ago.
"The youth of the 1960s came together somewhat to make
some changes and form a message. So, we are asking, Why
aren't we an activist generation when there is so much
conflict going on and so much polarization among
Americans?" Massoudi said.
The event's other co-chairs are juniors Steven Farber,
an economics major, and Leslie Schoeck, an English and
German major. The chairs receive some funding from Student
Council and raise the balance from university departments,
corporations and foundations.
Events are to take place in Shriver Hall unless
otherwise noted. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., and the
event will begin at 8 p.m. Seating is free and open to the
public; however, as the events typically draw capacity
crowds, the only way to guarantee a seat is to have one
reserved by making a donation to the symposium. For
details, go to www.jhu.edu/mse/reserve.html.
As of press time, the schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Sept. 28. "A Greener Tomorrow:
Environmental Issues and the Youth," presented by Ralph
Nader, activist attorney and three-time presidential
candidate dedicated to protecting consumer rights, the
environment and humanitarian issues.
Rev. James Forbes
Thursday, Oct. 12. "A Partnership of Faith:
Spirituality and the Youth," presented by the Rev. James
Forbes at the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community
Service Center. Forbes is the first African-American to
serve (since 1989) as senior minister of New York's
Riverside Church, one of the largest multicultural
congregations in the country.
Friday, Oct. 13. "America's Youth: The Best of
Times, the Worst of Times," presented by Seinfield co-star
Wednesday, Oct. 18. "Living in the Age of
Transformation," presented by Newt Gingrich, longtime
Republican politician and speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives during the Bill Clinton administration.
Thursday, Oct. 26. "Remember Me: The Living
Legacy of Tupac Shakur," presented by poet and former Black
Panther Afeni Shakur, mother of the late rapper, whose
memory she supports through the Tupac Amaru Shakur
Foundation, which provides art programs for young
Thursday, Nov. 2. "Surviving a Disaster and
Providing for Children of Lesser Fortune," presented by
Petra Nemcova, a Czechoslovakian-born fashion model (and
Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl), who
became known to the general public when she was seriously
injured and her fiance killed by the tsunami that struck
the resort where they were staying in Thailand.
Thursday, Nov. 9. "Bringing Truth in the Form
of Hip-Hop," performed by hip-hop artist Immortal Technique
at the Great Hall in Levering.
Each lecture lasts approximately 45 minutes and is
followed by a question-and-answer period and a reception
where guests mingle with members of the audience.
The debate between College Republicans and the College
Democrats will be held at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30.
To check for any schedule changes or for more
information, go to