’04-’05 Convo Series confirmed

Beth McHenry

The roster for the 2004-2005 Convocation Series was confirmed Wednesday with the exception of the tentative Honors Convocation speaker. Convocation presenters will be President Jill Beck, Arianna Huffington, Congressman John Lewis, and Dr. Joia Mukherjee.As usual, the year will begin with the Matriculation Convocation by Lawrence’s president. Thursday, September 23 will mark Jill Beck’s first convocation as president of Lawrence. Beck takes office on July 1, 2004.

Political activist, nationally syndicated columnist, and best-selling author Arianna Huffington will be speaking on Thursday, October 7. Originally from Greece, Huffington moved to England at age 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. In 2003, Huffington ran for governor as an Independent in California’s recall election.

Huffington’s international bestsellers include biographies “Picasso: Creator and Destroyer” and “Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend.” Huffington’s latest books are New York Times bestseller “Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America,” published in 2003, and “Fanatics and Fools: The Game Plan for Winning Back America,” published in April of 2004.

Huffington also provided political coverage for Comedy Central with Al Franken for the Campaign ’96 Republican and Democratic conventions, as well as on election night. She has also made guest appearances on several other shows, including “Larry King Live,” “Oprah,” “Nightline,” “Crossfire,” “Hardball,” “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” and “The O’Reilly Factor.”

U.S. Congressman and human rights activist John Lewis will speak on Tuesday, February 8, 2005. Born the son of sharecroppers in 1940, Lewis attended segregated schools in Pike County, Alabama. Lewis holds a B.A. in religion and philosophy from Fisk University is also a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lewis is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities nationwide as well as multiple awards including the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for lifetime achievement, and the National Education Association’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award.

For more than 40 years, Lewis has passionately supported progressive social movements and human rights struggles in the United States. As a student, John Lewis began his commitment to civil rights by organizing sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. John Lewis continued to participate in countless civil rights movements including freedom rides, community action programs and voter registration during the “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” and the fateful march in Selma, Alabama that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

At the age of 23, Lewis was one of the planners and a keynote speaker of the historic “March of Washington” in August 1963. Lewis also served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963-1966 and by 1963 was recognized as one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement. Other Big Six leaders included Whitney Young, Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins.

Elected to Congress in November 1986, Lewis currently represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.

Dr. Joia S. Mukherjee, instructor of social medicine and infectious disease at Harvard Medical School, will speak on Tuesday, March 8. Mukherjee trained in infectious disease, internal medicine and pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital and has a master’s in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Mukherjee has worked in multiple areas of health care and human rights, including work with a measles outbreak of 1989 in the Hmong community of Minneapolis, outreach for patients with tuberculosis and leprosy in Kenya, and maternal child health programs in rural Uganda. Mukherjee also designed and implemented an HIV prevention program in Uganda that is currently in its sixth year.

Since 1999, Mukherjee has served as the Medical Director for Partners in Health, a program which implements and supports community-based health care programs focusing on HIV and TB in Haiti, Peru, and Russia. She is also a consultant for the World Health Organization in the treatment of multi-drug resistant TB and the use of antiretroviral therapy in poor countries. Mukherjee also serves on the board of the Health AIDS Action Campaign of Physicians for Human Rights.

The final potential speaker slated for the May 26 Honors Convocation cannot guarantee his attendance until plans for transportation are secured. Lawrence will be able to confirm his appearance by late this week.