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Arts & Ideas Committee

Dr. Lisa Eck

Brian Bishop
Dr. Sarah Cole
Jennifer Donabed
Millie Gonzalez
Jonathan Lee
Dan Magazu
Roxana Marrero
Dr. Carlos Martinez
Bonnie Mitchell
Robin Robinson
Luis Rodriguez
Ben Trapanick
Dr. Linda Vaden-Goad
Dr. Samuel Witt

Want to register for any of the events below? Register here.

FALL 2014

Traveling Songs: Sufi Music Performed by Chaar Yaar
Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m., McCarthy Center Forum

A contagious musical experience that showcases the soulful beauty of Sufi songs and the percussive power of Indian instruments. Sufism – viewed by some as the mystical face of Islam, celebrates the poetry of both body and spirit by stressing universal themes of love, justice and harmony among peoples. Chaar Yaar has performed extensively in India, and throughout Europe.  This is their U.S. debut. 

Maurice Fitzpatrick "Athchuairt ar Translations (Translations Revisited)”
– Wednesday, September 17th Film Screening at 4:30 p.m. DPAC

Filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick's new Irish-language film Athcuairt ar Translations / Translations Revisited follows the revival of Brian Friel’s play Translations, which premiered in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1980, starring Stephen Rea and Liam Neeson.  After the screening, Fitzpatrick will speak about how the theatre company used drama to overcome divisions in Northern Ireland during the height of violence in that region.

Michael Patrick MacDonald “Boston's Desegregation, 1974: Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class”
Tuesday, October 7, 4:30 p.m., Heineman Ecumenical Center

Michael Patrick MacDonald wrote the memoirs “All Souls: A Family Story from Southie,” which won the American Book Award in 2000, and “Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion.”  After growing up in South Boston's Old Colony housing project, MacDonald became a leading anti-violence activist, helping launch many initiatives including gun-buyback programs. He continues to work for social change nationally, collaborating with young people and survivors of violence. In this 40th anniversary year of court-ordered busing in Boston, MacDonald will discuss what we can learn from the successes and failures of that period.

Julie Otsuka “When the Emperor was Divine”
Thursday, October 9, 4:30 p.m. DPAC

When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka is about a family that is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Based on the lives of Otsuka’s grandparents and uncle, the story details life in the camps and thoughtfully portrays the effects of the break-up of the family when they are sent to different camp sites.  Ms. Otsuka will be here to discuss the story and the experiences of her family both during and after being released from the camps.

Chris Abani - Stories of Struggle, Stories of Hope: Art, Politics and Human Rights
Tuesday, October 21, 7 p.m., McCarthy Center Forum

What is the role of art and literature in defending human rights and democracy? Chris Abani examines this loaded question in a talk that draws on his acclaimed body of work, as well as his own political activism, in his native Nigeria. Mixing the personal and the political, he reminds us of our common humanity.

Sila: a Cross-Species Drama about Climate Change
Monday, November 3, 6:30 p.m., McCarthy Center Forum

The Arctic is melting and everyone wants a piece of it!  In the race to shape the future of the region, a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder, and a polar bear all see their values challenged as their lives become intricately intertwined. The drama of the planet brought down to a human and animal scale, Sila helps audiences convert their grief into action.

A Reading by Pulitzer Prize Winner Paul Harding
Tuesday, November 4, 4:30 p.m., Heineman Center

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding, author of Tinkers (2010) and Enon (2013), has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers, among other awards. The Pulitzer committee called Tinkers “a powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality."  Harding's novels will be for sale at the reading.

Matt Taibbi – The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
Thursday, November 20, 4:30 p.m., DPAC

Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends—growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration—come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. In this talk, Taibbi takes audiences on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice—the worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor.


Douglas Starr, “Police Interrogation Tactics and the Elicitation of False Confessions”
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 Time 4:30 p.m., Dwight Hall Performing Arts Center

Douglas Starr is Co-Director of the graduate Program in Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University.  The author of numerous books and articles, Starr will speak on the topic of police interrogation tactics and the elicitation of false confessions that have only now been brought to light due to DNA testing. In his talk, Starr will walk the audience through the police interrogation process, and will weave clips from actual interviews into his address.

A Wound too Deep to Heal? Conversations on the Armenian Genocide at 100
Monday, March 30, 2015. 5 to 7 p.m., Alumni Room

The year 2015 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the massacres and forced deportations that claimed the lives of more than one million Armenians.  The political and academic contention over the interpretation of this genocide continues to divide the communities of Armenians and Turks, despite efforts at dialogue and reconciliation. The speakers will deliberate on their own endeavors and hopes for a constructive conversation to heal the historical wounds.

Panel:Pamela Steiner, Ed.D.,
Fellow, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health

Gonca Sönmez-Poole
Filmmaker/Founder of TAWA (Turkish-Armenian Women's Alliance)

Harry Parsekian
President, Friends of Hrant Dink

Paula Parnigian
President, World View Services

The 29th Day: Ensuring a Livable Planet for Future Generations
Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 4:30 p.m., Alumni Room

A fact: those who are least responsible for causing climate change will be the most likely to suffer. This raises profound ethical questions, in the name of justice for all.  Professor Patrick Parenteau, from The Vermont Law School, has been involved in drafting, litigating, and implementing environmental law and policy for four decades. This presentation will explore solutions to the climate crisis by looking at specific public and private sector initiatives needed to de-carbonize our economy. 

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Phone: 508-620-1220