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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of August 5, 2020,
for an entirely remote fall 2020 semester.

Presidential Colloquium Series

The Presidential Colloquium regularly features influential thought leaders in a wide range of fields—from poets and writers to economists and policy experts—to share their expertise, offer insights, and inspire discourse on key social, political and global topics that call for our attention. In 2020-21, all colloquium events will be offered virtually. Smith College students, staff, faculty and alums are invited to pre-register to participate via Zoom; the general public is welcome to watch via Facebook. All lectures are free. 


2020–21 Events

Eric K Ward, a nationally recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence and preserving inclusive democracy.

Eric K. Ward

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
8 p.m. Eastern, online event 

Eric K. Ward is executive director of the Western States Center. A senior fellow with Southern Poverty Law Center and senior adviser with Race Forward, Ward is a nationally recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence and preserving inclusive democracy. In his long career, Ward founded the Community Alliance of Lane County, established 120 task forces in six states through Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, supported immigrant rights as national field director for the Center for New Community and served as program officer for Atlantic Philanthropies and the Ford Foundation.

Smith students, faculty, staff and alums can register to watch this event on zoom. Members of the general public may watch this event on Smith’s Facebook page.

Gail Collins, journalist
 
Bret Stephens, journalist

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens

The 2020 Election: A Conversation with New York Times Columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
7 p.m. Eastern, online event

Gail Collins joined The New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she was appointed editorial page editor—the first woman to hold that post at the Times. In 2007, she stepped down to finish a book, When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to the Present. She returned as a columnist in time to cover the 2008 presidential election. The author of five other books, including America’s Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines, Collins is currently at work on a history of older women in America. Since 2013, she has served on the Pulitzer Prize Board. Collins and her New York Times colleague Bret Stephens often engage in editorial conversations in the Times editorial pages.

Bret L. Stephens joined The New York Times as an op-ed columnist in 2017 after a long career with The Wall Street Journal, where he served most recently as deputy editorial page editor and, for 11 years, as a foreign affairs columnist. Before that, he was editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. He has reported from around the world and interviewed scores of world leaders. Stephens is the author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder, released in November 2014. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Stephens and his New York Times colleague Gail Collins often engage in editorial conversations in the Times editorial pages.

Smith students, faculty, staff and alums can register to watch this event on zoom. Members of the general public may watch this event on Smith’s Facebook page.

Gloria Steinem ’56
 
Julie Taymor, director, playwright and creative visionary

Gloria Steinem ’56 and Julie Taymor

“The Glorias”: Building Movements Through Storytelling

Thursday, September 17, 2020
8 p.m. Eastern, online event

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist and feminist organizer. She travels in the United States and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, nonviolent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples,and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. A 1956 graduate of Smith, she lives in New York City. 

Julie Taymor is a director, playwright and creative visionary. She is the force behind numerous stunning productions, including Broadway’s smash musical The Lion King. Long admired as an innovative director in the worlds of theater and opera, Taymor has employed her visionary talents to create several feature films, including Frida, Titus, The Tempest and Across the Universe. Her film The Glorias—based on Gloria Steinem’s autobiography, My Life on the Road—premiered at Sundance in January 2020 and is scheduled for release in fall 2020.

Smith students, faculty, staff and alums can register to watch this event on zoom. Members of the general public may watch this event on Smith’s Facebook page.

Bryan Stevenson portrait

Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy: The Movement for Justice
and Redemption

Thursday, March 11, 2021
7 p.m. Eastern, online event 

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. He is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. He has argued and won multiple cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Stevenson’s work has won him numerous awards including 35 honorary doctorates, the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize and the ABA Medal, the American Bar Association’s highest honor. He is the author of a memoir, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, which was adapted to a motion picture, starring Michael B. Jordan, in 2019.

Regina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy

The Future of the Planet: Climate Change and Environmental Protection

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Time to be determined, online event

Gina McCarthy is president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years. She served under President Barack Obama as the 13th administrator of the EPA from 2013 to 2017. Her tenure as EPA administrator heralded a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, expressly linking it with global public health. She led EPA initiatives that cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts.

Judy Heumann, internationally recognized leader in the Disability Rights Independent Living Movement
 
Tom Hehir, professor and director of the Office of Special Education Programs for the U.S. Department of Education during the first six years of the Clinton administration.

Judy Heumann and Tom Hehir

On the 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

Thursday, April 1, 2021
8 p.m. Eastern, online event

Judy Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the Disability Rights Independent Living Movement. Since the 1970s, her work with a wide range of activist organizations (including the Berkeley Center for Independent Living and the American Association of People with Disabilities), NGOs and governments has contributed greatly to the development of human rights legislation and policy benefiting disabled people. She has advocated for disability rights in the United States and abroad, serving in the Clinton and Obama administrations and as the World Bank’s first adviser on disability and development. Her book, Being Human: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, released just this year, details her story of fighting to belong in a world that “wasn’t built for us.”

Tom Hehir recently retired after nearly 20 years as the Silvana and Christopher Pascucci Professor of Practice in Learning Differences at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he taught courses on federal education policy and on educating students with disabilities. He has spent his entire career in the field of special education as a classroom teacher, local administrator in both Boston and Chicago, and as a university professor. He served as director of the Office of Special Education Programs for the U.S. Department of Education during the first six years of the Clinton Administration.


Previous 2019–20 Events

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah

“Identity and Identities”

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
5 p.m., Campus Center Carroll Room

Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at New York University, was educated at schools in Ghana and in England, and studied at Clare College, Cambridge University, in England, where he took both B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy. His Cambridge dissertation brought together issues in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, which led to two books: Assertion and Conditionals (1985, Cambridge University Press) and For Truth in Semantics (1986, Basil Blackwell). Since Cambridge, he has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke and Harvard universities and lectured for institutions around the world.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy in a directors chair

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy ’02, DFA ’18

On Arts and Activism: Women’s Rights in a Volatile World

Thursday, October 17, 2019
5 p.m., Campus Center Carroll Room

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is a journalist, filmmaker and activist. Her work has taken her around the world, where she has filmed and worked with refugees, women’s advocacy groups and human rights defenders. By bringing their voices to the outside world, she has often helped them bring about a critical change in their community. She is the recipient of two Academy Awards, six Emmy Awards and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian honor awarded by the government of Pakistan. In 2012, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. A member of the Smith class of 2002 and recipient of an honorary degree in 2018, she currently serves on the college’s board of trustees.

Cristina Rodriguez portrait

Cristina Rodríguez

Constitution Day Lecture: The President, Immigration Law and the Politics of Constitutional Structure

Thursday, September 19, 2019
5 p.m., Campus Center Carroll Room

Cristina Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her research interests include constitutional law and theory; immigration law and policy; administrative law and process; language rights and policy; and citizenship theory. In recent years, her work has focused on constitutional structures and institutional design. She has used immigration law and related areas as vehicles through which to explore how the allocation of power (through federalism and the separation of powers) shapes the management and resolution of legal and political conflict.