The President and Provost's
2012-13 Diversity Lecture & Cultural Arts Series
This program, now in its thirteenth year, offers the campus and Columbus community opportunities to benefit from some of the most eminent scholars, artists, and professionals who discuss and exemplify excellence through diversity. The series extends from September 2012 through May 2013.
“Remembering Somalia: A Writer Speaks”
Thursday, September 13
Saxbe Auditorium, Drinko Hall
55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
The first African to win the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (in 1998), Nuruddin Farah has been described by some of the world’s foremost writers not just as “one of the finest contemporary African novelists” (Salman Rushdie) but “one of the world’s great writers” (Ishmael Reed). Though fluent in five languages, Farah chooses to write in English, partly because his native Somali language acquired a standardized orthography only in 1972.
Farah was born in 1945 in Baidoa, in what is now Somalia, and grew up in Kallafo, in the Somali-speaking Ogaden region of Ethiopia. The ethnically and linguistically mixed area of his childhood contributed to his early fascination with literature. He spoke Somali at home but at school learned Amharic, Arabic and English, and later Italian. Farah worked in the Ministry of Education in Somalia as a clerk/typist before leaving for India to study philosophy and literature at Punjab University, Chandigarh. He returned to Mogadishu to teach after taking his first degree, then left Somalia for Britain, where he studied theater. In his peripatetic restlessness, he has taken up residence in a succession of African countries, and has taught at universities in Africa, Europe and America.
His novella Why Die So Soon? appeared in 1965 and brought him to public attention in Somalia. His first full novel, From a Crooked Rib (reissued in June 2006 by Penguin), was published in 1970; it has since achieved worldwide cult status, admired for its empathetic portrait of a Somali woman struggling with the restraints of traditional Somali society. He is noted for his portrayals of strong women in patriarchal societies. Farah published his second novel, A Naked Needle, in England in 1976, after running afoul of Somalia’s dictatorial regime, which would not issue a license for him to stage his play and also discontinued the publication of his only novel in Somali.
Farah’s next three novels, Sweet and Sour Milk (1979), Sardines (1981), and Close Sesame (1985) comprise the trilogy known collectively as “Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship.” Upon the publication of Sweet and Sour Milk, which won the English-speaking Union Literary Award, Farah became persona non grata in Somalia. In exile, Farah began what has become a lifelong literary project: “To keep my country alive by writing about it.”
In addition to his plays, a couple of which have been produced in England and Nigeria, and Yesterday, Tomorrow (2000), his non-fiction book about Somali refugees in Africa and Europe, Farah’s other works include Knots (2007), Links (2004), and the “Blood in the Sun” trilogy, which consists of Maps (1986), Gifts (1992) and Secrets (1998).
In the summer of 1996, Farah visited Somalia for the first time in more than twenty years. In recent years he has made frequent visits to Mogadishu for research purposes and to broker dialogue between the various armed groups vying for power in Somalia. Farah lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
Friday, October 26
1871 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43210
For over fifty years, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) has devoted his life to public service. Having held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations, Powell's deep commitment to democratic values and freedom has been felt throughout the world.
The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was born in Harlem in April 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. He was educated in the New York City public schools and after graduating from Morris High School attended the City College of New York where he earned a B.S. in Geology. It was not until he joined the Army ROTC program at CCNY that he discovered his calling and launched his military career. He received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of Four-Star General.
From 1987 - 1989 Powell served as President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor. He served from 1989 - 1993 as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and for President Bill Clinton, and was not only the youngest officer and first ROTC graduate to ever serve in the position but also was the first African American to do so. During his time as Chairman, he oversaw 28 crises to include the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Under President George W. Bush, Powell was appointed the 65th Secretary of State and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As Secretary of State, he led the State Department in major efforts to address and solve regional and civil conflicts-in the Middle East, Sudan, Congo and Liberia, in the Balkans, Cyprus, Haiti, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. In all areas, he used the power of diplomacy to build trust, forge alliances and then help transform these unstable regions into areas where societies and cultures have the potential to prosper. He also worked at the forefront of American efforts to advance economic and social development worldwide.
Among the many U.S. Military awards and decorations Powell has received are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civil awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President's Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, he has also received awards from over two-dozen countries to include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Powell is the Founder of the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service at his alma mater, the City College of New York. The Center is student-focused with a mission to develop a new generation of publicly engaged leaders. He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the America's Promise Alliance, dedicated to forging a strong and effective partnership alliance committed to seeing that children have the fundamental resources they need to succeed.
Currently Powell is a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and is on the board of Bloom Energy. He is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Leeds Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in the education, training, information and business services industries. He is also Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowships, a cross-cultural program for emerging international leaders. He has previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University, the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund, and the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Powell is a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is on the Executive Leadership Cabinet of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and is the Honorary Chairman of the education center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He also serves on the board of the Smithsonian Institute's African American Museum of History and Culture.
His autobiography, My American Journey, was a best seller and has been published in more than a dozen different languages. His second book, It Worked For Me, reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career and will be published in May 2012.
Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. They live in McLean, Virginia and have three children and four grandchildren.
© Nina Subin
Tuesday, March 19th
Performance Hall - Ohio Union
(1739 North High Street)
FREE & OPEN TO ALL (Book signing to follow lecture)
Junot Diaz is an American novelist born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. The novel has quickly become standard reading in university courses on the contemporary novel, Latino literature, and gender studies. One of the first novels written in “Spanglish” to enjoy widespread popular and critical acclaim, it has won countless awards and has quickly taken its place among significant American novels.
Diaz holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and the M.F.A. from Cornell University. He is at present the Rudge and Nance Allen Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and fiction editor at the Boston Review. In addition, he has taken his place among public intellectuals as a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. In 2010, he was appointed the first-ever Latino author to sit on the 20-member board of jurors for the Pulitzer Prize.
He has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He is the co-founder of Voices of Our Nation Workshop.
Co-sponsored by: OSU Department of English, Project Narrative, The Diversity & Identity Studies Collective (DISCO), The Latino & Latin-American Space for Enrichment & Research (LASER), and The Multicultural Center (MCC)
For more information contact:
Colby A. Taylor, Program Manager
Office of Diversity and Inclusion