Weissman Fall Series to Focus on Migrations

This fall, the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts at Mount Holyoke will present Migrations, a series exploring the ways in which the earth and humankind are immersed in epic, substantial, and sometimes irreversible acts of migration. Associate professor of English Lois Brown, director of the center, noted that "this series will consider the dramatic and sobering factors that lead to exodus and forced migrations, and that also complicate for many the return to ancestral or newly claimed homelands." The series will feature public events, seminars, and leadership workshops that focus on the impact of ecological changes, political events, religious initiatives, and social upheaval.

The first event of the series will include a focus on compelling local history. On Thursday, September 28, the center, in coordination with the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and Center for the Environment, will present "Dis/Placement and Re/Membering: The Quabbin and Hetch Hetchy Canyon," an event keyed to the floodings of four western Massachusetts towns and of the Hetch Hetchy Canyon in California--in both cases to create public water supplies. The Quabbin Reservoir still provides water to Boston and other eastern Massachusetts towns.

The fall-semester series will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, activist physicians, attorneys, and writers whose work illuminates the ways in which nations and individuals are grappling with, resisting, and succumbing to forced and unnatural migrations. The series will focus first on migration in the context of environmental issues. In October, it will tackle the controversial issues of immigration, migrant labor, homeland security, and the U.S. and Mexican border issues. In November, the final event will focus on refugees, forced migrations, and the unrelenting plight of refugees in the Sudan.

This year also marks the inauguration of leadership breakfasts in which students are able to talk directly with guest speakers, professionals, and practitioners. Brown sees this new feature of the center's leadership curriculum and programming as a promising offering. She hopes that students will welcome the opportunity to strategize with experts and leaders about ways to realize their intellectual passions and professional interests. "These gatherings, which will take place on the morning following our Thursday lectures, will encourage students to define boldly and creatively what constitutes leadership in relation to the specific issues that our guests have addressed," Brown said. These leadership workshops will highlight specific career and professional opportunities and potential academic strategies that speak to the environmental, international, and domestic migration issues addressed in this fall 2006 series. The leadership breakfasts are free and open to all students.

Here are the three main events of the fall series:

Dis/Placement and Re/Membering: The Quabbin and Hetch Hetchy Canyon
Thursday, September 28, 7:30 pm
Gamble Auditorium, Art Building
Cosponsored by the Center for the Environment and the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Un/Welcome Guests: Labor, Law, and the Politics of Immigration
Thursday, October 26, 7:30 pm
Gamble Auditorium, Art Building

Refugees, Rights, and Returns: Sudan and Beyond
Thursday, November 16, 7:30 pm
Gamble Auditorium, Art Building

The three major public events are free and offered in an accessible location. The series is made possible in part by the Class of 1958 Endowment Fund, the Katherine Fitzgerald Lectureship Fund, the Helen Hutton Frost Grossman Endowment Fund, and the Weissman Center Challenge Fund.

Related Links:

Weissman Center for Leadership

MHC Art Museum