Changing Times: Who Are We?
An Introspective Look at American Identity in the 21st Century
The student-run Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium marks its 35th year at The Johns Hopkins University with lectures, a debate, book signings, exhibits and a film series addressing the theme "Changing Times: Who Are We? An Introspective Look at American Identity in the 21st Century."
Established in 1967 to honor the university's eighth president, the annual MSE Symposium is a student-organized lecture series, free and open to the public, that brings to campus experts with a variety of perspectives on issues of national importance. This year, the symposium aims to examine the various forces that impact American identity.
Throughout the 20th century, the United States was shaped by numerous political, social and economic upheavals, this year's organizers say. In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, America must once again adapt to a new identity. Symposium co-chairs Meera Popat and Dennis Boothe, both juniors, and their staff have invited 10 speakers to Shriver Hall to explore the array of concerns facing the nation at the dawn of the 21st century.
The symposium begins on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. in Shriver Hall Auditorium with "The Melting Pot: Cultural Assimilation in Modern America," a lecture by conservative columnist Linda Chavez. A former director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and White House director of public liaison, Chavez is the president of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Equal Opportunity, a non-profit public policy research organization focused on policies affecting racial preferences, immigration, assimilation, and multi-cultural education. Chavez is also the author of Out of the Barrio: Towards a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation and a forthcoming memoir, An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal. Chavez's lecture is co-sponsored by the Young America's Foundation and the JHU College Republicans. Doors open at 7 p.m. A reception in the Mattin Center's Ross Jones Building will follow the lecture.
The coming weeks will bring several other prominent guests from various fields to the Homewood campus, including actor and activist Edward James Olmos; Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records; Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence; and Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball." 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 symposium will also present six films as part of the MSE Film Series. Films are meant to supplement the lectures by providing various viewpoints in anticipation of upcoming lectures. To mark the 35th anniversary of the symposium, an exhibit titled "MSE Symposium Throughout the Times" is on display on the first and second floors of the Ross Jones Building in the Mattin Center. The exhibit runs through Oct. 10.
As in the past, the MSE Symposium is expected to draw thousands of people. The student chairs select the topics, secure the speakers, raise the funds and publicize the series. Some funding is provided by the Student Council, but the students are responsible for raising the balance from corporations and foundations. For more information, call 410-516-7683, or visit http://www.jhu.edu/mse.
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