Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences Slates Symposium on 'Awakening to Action'

8/30/11 ASHLAND, OH -- The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences will present its biennial multi-part Symposium Against Global Indifference with this year's series titled "Awakening to Action." All events for the symposium are free and open to the public.

"The College of Arts and Sciences inaugurated the 'Symposium Against Indifference' in 2003 as a biennial series of events and lectures," said Dawn Weber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The symposium is dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement."

In an interview with The Collegian school newspaper, Assistant Professor of Religion Dr. Craig Hovey said that the events comprising the symposium will explore issues that may seem remote due to their occurrence in other countries. "We've looked for events that try to put a human face on these kinds of distant realities," Hovey said.

This year's symposium schedule includes:

*         Kelsey Timmerman on Sept. 22 with a 7 p.m. event titled "Where Am I Wearing?" in Hugo Young Theatre. While staring at a pile of clothes, Kelsey Timmerman noticed the tag of his favorite T-shirt: Made in Honduras. And his global quest to answer the question, Where Am I Wearing began. Bouncing between the worlds of impoverished workers in Cambodia, Bangladesh and beyond and his own Western lifestyle, Timmerman puts a human face on the issue of globalization while encouraging us all to be better glocals (global and local citizens). This event is co-sponsored by the Honors Program.

*         An art exhibition in the Coburn Gallery featuring photographer Robert Gerhardt on Sept. 22 to Oct. 16. The exhibition is titled "Life on the Border: The Karen People of Burma." Rob Gerhardt is a New York City based reportage photographer. He spent four weeks in February and March of 2006 in and around the town of Mae Sot, Thailand, in order to document the Karen People for his project "Life on the Border: The Karen People of Burma." His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the United States, as well as in many collections. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Art and Multicultural Programming Committee.

*         A panel titled "Globalization: Who Benefits? Who Suffers?" featuring local experts Brad Whitehead, David Civitollo and Jim Doutt in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. This panel will explore the possible benefits and negative effects of globalization, especially its impact on local communities, while also offering a variety of perspectives on globalization as new technologies, international trade and global markets have become more entwined and interdependent.

*         Bridget Moix, legislative secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, with her presentation titled "Peace is Possible: Shifting from War Making to War Prevention" Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education building. Moix leads the Peaceful Prevention of Deadly Conflict program, focusing on building U.S. diplomatic and development capacities to better prevent war and supporting international peace building through the United Nations. In this presentation, co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, Moix will share approaches to help prevent and mitigate violence in specific countries.

*         Dr. Katherine Attanasi with her presentation on "South African Pentecostalism and the Gendered Politics of HIV Prevention," to be held Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics building. Dr. Attanasi's fieldwork in two communities in South Africa reveals an alarming trend of action for women whose husbands are unfaithful yet their church says not to use condoms and not to get a divorce. By contextualizing Bible, culture, and media, this talk (co-sponsored by the Department of Religion) reassesses church teachings in order to expand women's choices and freedom.

*         A screening of the film "The Age of Stupid," Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. "The Age of Stupid" stars Pete Postlethwaite as a man living in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage and asking: why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance? A panel discussion will follow the screening.

*         A screening of the film "Of Gods and Men," Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. Co-sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages and with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC), "Of Gods and Men" is a true story of faith and doubt. When faced with threats of violence from terrorists and the military, eight French Trappist monks living in an impoverished Algerian village must decide whether to seek safety or risk their lives and stay with the locals who have come to trust and rely on them.

*         A presentation on the efforts to fight sex trading titled "Remember Nhu," on Feb. 7, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. UNICEF estimates that one million children enter the sex trade every year and that 30 million children have suffered from the sex trade over the past 30 years. Remember Nhu began as the attempt of one individual from Akron, Ohio, to change this. Today, this Christian nonprofit organization has established safe houses in Thailand, Cambodia, and another unnamed country, with plans to expand into India, the Philippines and South Africa. This presentation is co-sponsored by the Multicultural Programming Committee and, if cancelled due to snow, will instead take place on Feb. 9.

*         A presentation titled "Helping Haiti from Home: How Local Efforts can Support International Disaster Relief," Feb. 21, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics building. Co-sponsored by the Department of Social Work and Multicultural Programming Committee, the presentation will be given by Bertin Meance, a Haitian who studied English at Ashland and worked with a foundation to re-build homes and a school in a small town in Haiti devastated by the 2010 earthquake. He shows how contributions from America and other countries can help local people re-build their homes and lives without going through bureaucratic processes to get aid.

*         A presentation on "What Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples Can Teach Us About Globalization" with presenter Tom Hall March 20, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. Hall argues that the history of survival of Native Americans and of Indigenous Peoples has continuing relevance for all human futures and that such a history can suggest pointers to future survival. Rather than simply imitating the actions of the past, contemporary struggles can draw inspiration and hope for their own contexts.

*         A screening of the feature documentary "The Reporter," April 10, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. "The Reporter" focuses on Nicholas D. Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prizewinning columnist for the New York Times, who almost single-handedly put the crisis in Darfur on the international radar. In the summer of 2007, Kristof traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to shine his light into the darkest pockets of conflict, in hopes of making the rest of the world take notice. The film injects the viewer into Kristof's riveting journey. A panel discussion will follow the screening.

*         A presentation titled "The Warrior Ape: God, Biology and the Hope for Global Peace," April 11, 2012, at 7 p.m. in Myers Convocation Center. Humans have fought wars since our earliest days as a species, but presenter Thomas Hayden believes the biological roots of war don't condemn us to an equally violent future. By understanding the evolution of both warfare and religion, Hayden contends that we can help craft a future where war is less frequent, and less brutal when it does occur. This presentation is cosponsored by the Department of Biology/Toxicology.

The symposium themes from previous years included the Holocaust, human nature, terrorism, the promises and perils of technology, and inquiry into what makes a hero.

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