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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 8, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 2
Political Lecture Series Brings Well-known Speakers to JHU

Co-chairs Feroze Sidhwa, Payal Patel and Michael Mondo at Shriver Hall, where physician Patch Adams will open the undergrad-run MSE Symposium this week.

By Amy Cowles

The Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium is marking its 36th year at The Johns Hopkins University with lectures from well-known guests under the theme "The Great American Experiment: A Juxtaposition of Capitalism and Democracy."

Established in 1967 to honor the university's eighth president, the annual MSE Symposium is an undergraduate-run lecture series, free and open to the public, that brings to the Homewood campus renowned speakers with a variety of perspectives on issues of national importance. This year, the symposium aims to explore how the two pillars of American society--capitalism and democracy--interact, and how their interactions affect Americans.

"Whether or not capitalism and democracy combine to form a perfect society--or whether or not the United States is a capitalist democracy at all--are paramount to understanding the modern American condition," said Feroze Sidhwa, a co-chair of the program. "Without knowing how our cornerstone institutions of capitalism and democracy interact, we cannot possibly know what kind of country the United States is, or has the potential to become."

The event's three co-chairs--Payal Patel and Michael Mondo, both juniors, and Sidhwa, a senior--and their staff have invited eight speakers to Shriver Hall to explore this theme as widely as possible. The student co-chairs, all of whom were on the symposium staff last year, select the topics, secure the speakers, raise the funds and publicize the series.

"One of the most important elements to a political symposium such as ours is that we represent both sides of the issue at hand," Patel said. "We also found that by giving both angles to a single topic, we reach a much wider audience and that we stick to the core notion that the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium maintains a neutral stance."

The symposium begins at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, with a lecture by Patch Adams, a well-known physician and social activist who believes that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process. The real person behind the title character in the 1998 movie Patch Adams starring Robin Williams, Adams has devoted 30 years to changing America's health care system, which he describes as expensive and elitist. Adams advocates a health care model where doctors and patients relate to each other on the basis of mutual trust, and patients receive plenty of time from their doctors.

Adams is founder and director of the Gesundheit! Institute, a holistic medical community that has provided free medical care to thousands of patients since it began in 1971. He also is the author of Gesundheit!, a book that describes his work and ideas about the current health care system. Doors to Shriver Hall Auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m. for Adams' lecture; a reception follows in the Clipper Room.

The coming weeks will bring prominent guests from various other fields to the Homewood campus, including conservative political activist and writer Ann Coulter on Thursday, Sept. 25; John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC's 20/20, on Tuesday, Sept. 30; liberal activist, best-selling author and Oscar-winning director Michael Moore on Friday, Oct. 10; and Patricia Ireland, the longest-serving president of the National Organization for Women, on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Three additional speakers are still being confirmed.

"The symposium is meant to serve as a forum representing views of both the right and the left," Mondo said. "We worked hard to maintain a balance between them in our symposium, which we feel hosting someone who represents the far right like Ann Coulter and someone who represents the far left like Michael Moore achieves."

Each lecture lasts approximately 45 minutes and is followed by a question-and-answer period and a reception where speakers mingle with guests. As in the past, the MSE Symposium is expected to draw thousands of people.

The students also present the MSE Film Series, which supplements the lectures by providing various viewpoints on the specific topics. The series began on Sept. 5 with a double feature screening of John Q and Patch Adams.

The 2003 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium
'The Great American Experiment:
A Juxtaposition of Capitalism and Democracy'

All events, held on the Homewood campus, are free to the public. For more information about the lectures and films, contact the symposium office at 410-516-7683 or go to

Wednesday, Sept. 10
Speaker: Patch Adams

"At What Cost? Probing Health Care in America"
7:30-10 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium

Friday, Sept. 19
Film Series: JFK

8-11 p.m., Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy

Thursday, Sept. 25
Speaker: Ann Coulter

"The Sum of Capitalism and Democracy? What Constitutes an American"
8-10 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium

Friday, Sept. 26
Film Series: Bulworth

8-10 p.m., Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy

Tuesday, Sept. 30
Speaker: John Stossel

"Influence Over Information: Money in the Media"
8-10 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium

Thursday, Oct. 2
Debate: College Democrats vs. College Republicans

"Hashing Out the Differences"
7:30-9 p.m., AMR I Multipurpose Room

Friday, Oct. 3
Film Series: Roger & Me

8-10 p.m., Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy

Friday, Oct. 10
Speaker: Michael Moore

"Stupid White Men? The Current State of American Politics"
8-10 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium

Friday, Oct. 17
Film Series: Erin Brockovich

8-10 p.m., Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy

Wednesday, Oct. 22
Speaker: Patricia Ireland

"What's Sex Got to Do With It? The Gender Gap in America"
8-10 p.m., Shriver Hall Auditorium

Three additional speakers to be announced.


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