Colloquium: “How do Moral Beacons Foster Community?”

Hanesbrands Theater in Winston-Salem, NC 

Tuesday April 17th and Wednesday 18th, 2018

Do moral beacons enable people to work across differences that exist across different communities (as moral beacons such as Martin Luther King Jr. did), or does the current climate mean that our silo-ed communities are doomed to have their own moral beacons? Can “moral beacons” foster positive societal change? Does a lack of moral beacons in contemporary society indicate deeper problems in our community? We believe that the time is ripe for a discussion of the role “moral beacons” have in fostering community and dialogue across different communities, as well as their place in contemporary society.

Registration for Tuesday April 17 - Click here to Register
 

5:30 – 6pm Refreshments provided by Providence Restaurant and Catering
6pm – 6:10 Opening Remarks
6:10 – 6:50 Larry Walker, Professor of Psychology at University of British Columbia, Moral Psychology Research Knowledge Expert
7:00 – 7:40 Deo Niyizonkiza, protagonist of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s bestselling book Strength in What Remains
7:40 – 8:00 Reception, books for sale by Bookmarks
*A shuttle is available for students, leaving Benson at 5:00PM and will return to campus following the program.*

 

Registration for Wednesday April 18 - Click here to Register
 

5:30 – 6pm Refreshments provided by Providence Restaurant and Catering
6:00 – 6:05 Opening Remarks
6:05 – 7:00 Larissa MacFarquhar, the author of “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help”
7:15 – 8:00 Panel Discussion with all speakers
8:00 – 8:30 Book Signing, books for sale by Bookmarks
*A shuttle is available for students, leaving Benson at 5:00PM and will return to campus following the program.*

 
Sponsored by:

 

 

 

Speakers:

Deogratias Niyizonkiza – The protagonist of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s bestselling book Strength in What Remains, Deogratias (“Deo”) was a medical student in Burundi during the ethnic civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis. When the violence broke out, he was working in a hospital that was demolished by rebel soldiers. He was the only survivor. Traveling alone, he managed to escape Burundi and arrived in America with $200, knowing no one, speaking not a word of English. The story follows Deo through the extraordinary events that led him to attend Columbia University within two years of his arrival in the US. He attended medical school in the US and has gone on to establish Village Health Works, which serves the southern half of Burundi, including thousands of recently repatriated refugees from Tanzania. VHW operates the nation’s premier health center, agricultural development programs, educational services, women’s income-generating activities, and a number of other community development programs. Deo is the recipient of numerous awards, including an honorary degree from Williams College, the 2011 International Medal Award of St. John’s University, and the 2010 Women Refugee Commission’s Voices of Courage Award. In 2013, he received the prestigious Eisenhower Medallion Award in recognition of his “exceptional contribution to world peace and understanding.” In 2014, he was honored by the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero of Compassion. Deo’s story is simultaneously the quintessential American immigrant tale and a powerful account of redemption though education and the compassion of everyday people. http://www.villagehealthworks.org/our-storyhome/

Larissa MacFarquhar has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. Her Profile subjects have included John Ashbery, Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Mantel, Derek Parfit, David Chang, and Aaron Swartz, among many others. She is the author of “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help” (Penguin Press, 2015). Before joining the magazine, she was a senior editor at Lingua Franca and an advisory editor at The Paris Review, and wrote for Artforum, The Nation, The New Republic, the Times Book Review, Slate, and other publications. She has received two Front Page Awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, and her writing has appeared in The Best American Political Writing (2007 and 2009) and The Best American Food Writing (2008). She is an Emerson fellow at New America.

Dr. Larry Walker, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia. Dr. Walker’s program of research focuses on the psychology of moral development, particularly in terms of moral reasoning, personality, motivation, and identity. This research is aimed at developing a more full-bodied account of moral functioning that may help explain the psychological dynamics in exemplary moral action; thus we examine both individuals’ conceptions of moral excellence as well as the psychological functioning of a range of actual moral exemplars. Dr. Walker also serves as Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.