Johns Hopkins University
Finding Our Voice: The Role of America's Youth
Entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte will lead off the annual Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at The Johns Hopkins University. The speech will take place in the Shriver Hall Auditorium on the university's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.
Belafonte, a popular Jamaican-American musician and an advocate for humanitarian causes, is the first of seven speakers in this year's symposium, "Finding Our Voice: The Role of America's Youth," which will explore issues of importance to youth in America. The symposium also features a debate between the College Democrats and Republicans and a performance by hip hop artist Immortal Technique.
"We wanted to have more participation from college and high school students," said programming chair Steven Farber, "so we picked topics that appeal to that age group."
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 campus renowned speakers with a variety of perspectives on issues of national importance. The symposium has drawn a roster of luminaries that includes Nelson Mandela, Aaron Copland, Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Angelou, Spike Lee, Charlton Heston, Carl Bernstein, George McGovern, Eugene McCarthy, Russell Simmons, Bob Woodward, Patricia Ireland, Wesley Clark, Isaac Asimov, Antonin Scalia and Jerry Springer.
The symposium is entirely managed by undergraduates. This year's co-chairs are juniors Steven Farber, an economics major from Amherst, Mass.; Arash Massoudi, an international relations major from Tallahassee, Fla.; and Leslie Schoeck, an English and German major from Hagerstown, Md. The chairs receive some funding from Student Council and raise the balance from university departments, corporations and foundations.
They are also responsible for everything else, a daunting array of tasks that include booking auditoriums; arranging for hotels, dinners, and receptions for the guests; securing the sound system; and publicizing the series.
Belafonte begins this year's series. 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.
Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. A reception in the Clipper Room will follow the lecture.
The coming weeks will bring other prominent guests from various fields to the Homewood campus. The following lectures are at 8 p.m. in Shriver Hall unless noted. High resolution digital photos several speakers are available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Sept. 28. "A Greener Tomorrow: Environmental Issues and the Youth," presented by Ralph Nader, public interest activist and former candidate for U.S. president.
Thursday, Oct. 12. "A Partnership of Faith: Spirituality and the Youth," presented by the Rev. James Forbes at the Interfaith Center.
Friday, Oct. 13. "America's Youth: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times," presented by Seinfield co-star Jason Alexander.
Wednesday, Oct. 18. "Living in the Age of Transformation," presented by Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Thursday, Oct. 26. "Remember Me: The Living Legacy of Tupac Shakur," presented by activist and poet Afeni Shakur.
Thursday, Nov. 2. "Surviving a Disaster and Providing for Children of Lesser Fortune," presented by supermodel Petra Nemcova.
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.
For more information, the general public and the media may contact the MSE Symposium publicity chair Arash Massoudi at 850-445-1948. The media may also contact Amy Lunday in the Office of News and Information, 443-287-9960. The MSE Symposium Web site is www.jhu.edu/mse.
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