WFU Continues Year of Globalization and Diversity

The Year of Globalization and Diversity continues at Wake Forest University with numerous public events this spring semester, including an address by Nigerian Nobel Prize-winning author and political activist Wole Soyinka.

The Year of Globalization and Diversity is a series of cultural and academic events during the 1998-99 academic year focusing on the world’s development into a more global community.

Among the highlights will be a Founders’ Day Convocation address by Soyinka at 11 a.m. on Feb. 2 in Wait Chapel. Convocation-as with the majority of events during the year-is free and open to the public.

Soyinka is primarily a playwright, but also has written essays, poetry and novels. He has directed theater, as well. Through his work, Soyinka has spoken out against the Nigerian government on human rights issues. In the mid-1990s, he fled Nigeria and spent several years in self-imposed exile. He returned for the first time in 1998. Soyinka, whose honors include a 1986 Nobel Prize for literature, is currently the Woodruff Professor of the Arts at Emory University.

Soyinka’s appearance at Wake Forest is one of several events in February addressing the theme of war and peace. As with each month during the year, February is devoted to a particular theme designed to take a deeper look at issues related to globalization and diversity.

Themes for the spring semester are:

  • January
    Human Rights
  • February
    War and Peace
  • March
    Health and Aging
  • April

The Year of Globalization and Diversity will bring several prominent human rights advocates to Wake Forest, including Michael Posner, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and Michael Heflin, director of Amnesty International’s OUT FRONT program on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights.

On Jan. 21, Posner will present “Labor Rights are Human Rights: Addressing Sweatshop Practices in the Apparel Industry” at 11 a.m. in the Scales Fine Arts Center, Room 102.

Posner has led the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights since its inception in 1978. The organization seeks to protect and promote fundamental human rights and hold governments accountable to the International Bill of Human Rights. Posner, who has led human rights fact-finding missions to more than 25 countries, is a member of the White House task force examining sweatshop practices worldwide.

On Feb. 8, Heflin will discuss OUT FRONT’s efforts for gay and lesbian rights worldwide. Previously, Heflin was the deputy director of Amnesty International’s mid- west region. Heflin’s work has also focused on other rights issues, such as the connection between civil/political rights and economic rights.

Other human rights speakers during the semester include Luis Roniger on Jan. 26, Tibor Varady on Jan. 27 and David Scheffer on March 2.

Roniger, senior lecturer of sociology and anthropology from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, will discuss human rights violations in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Roniger is currently serving as a visiting professor with Wake Forest’s anthropology and sociology departments.

Varady, a law professor from Central European University in Budapest, will lecture on “Law and Ethnicity in the Former Yugoslavia.” Varady is a former attorney, member of the Serbian and Yugoslav Parliament, and Yugoslavian minister of justice. Scheffer, the ambassador at large for war crimes issues for the U.S. Department of State, will discuss the universal declaration of human rights.

February’s look at war and peace will include several events with Spanish war correspondent and playwright Alfonso Armada. On Feb. 23, Armada will discuss his work as a journalist in Bosnia, Sarajevo and Rwanda. The next day, Armada will give a dramatized reading of his play, “El alma de los objetos (The Souls of the Objects).”

A semester-long exhibit in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library relates to February’s theme of war and peace. Letters and drawings by children in Bosnia were loaned to the university by an organization that helps children cope with the fighting in their country through artistic expression. The exhibit, which includes the work of about 30 children, will begin in late January.

Highlighting March’s focus on health and aging are two events dealing with western and non-western medicine. On March 17, Dr. Roberta Lee of the University of Arizona will discuss her experiences with western and non-western healing practices. Lee has practiced medicine in the United States and worked with the U.S. Public Health Service in areas such as Colinia, Yap of the Federated States of Micronesia, and Koror, Palau. Demonstrations of acupuncture, yoga and other healing traditions are planned for the next day.

An Earth Day celebration is planned for April, a month devoted to the environment. The outdoor celebration will include several exhibition tents where people can learn about biological and cultural diversity, participate in an environmental poetry reading and learn about environmental efforts worldwide. A global warming discussion with Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research is another highlight in April.

Spring events will also include music performances, exhibits and a Latina Writer’s Conference.

The Year of Globalization and Diversity foreign film series will also continue during the spring semester beginning on Monday, Jan. 20, with “Strawberry and Chocolate.” Other films include “Welcome to Sarajevo,” Feb. 22; “Antonia’s Line,” March 29; and “Ta Dona Fire!” April 26. All the films are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. in Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium. A discussion will follow each film.

The Year of Globalization and Diversity is the third installment in a series of theme years developed as part of Wake Forest’s Undergraduate Plan, an initiative to enhance undergraduate education. Previously, the university celebrated the Year of Religion in American Life (1997-98) and the Year of the Arts (1996-97).

For more information about the Year of Globalization and Diversity, call 336-758-5788.

Categories: Events, Speakers, University Announcement