The spring semester brings a number of engaging and diverse speakers to Claremont McKenna students through the programming of the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum; the lineup has already kicked off with luminaries like Jonathan Franzen and Sandra Fluke, and in the next few months the Athenaeum will host a number of notable personalities. M.M.C. Athenaeum Woolley Fellow David Leathers ’15 highlights in particular the diversity of the speaker schedule, explaining that, with its “great authors, big political and military figures, and even a bioethics series, there really is something for everyone.” Woolley Fellow Meredith Reisfield ’13 concurs, noting that “once again, the Athenaeum is bringing speakers to campus who are driving forces in their field.” Below are some features from the spring lineup; the full schedule can be found here.
Renowned bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, author of the recent Global Justice and Bioethics (2012) and Healthcare, Guaranteed (2008)—will be visiting the Athenaeum on Monday, March 11. Dr. Emanuel is the Diane S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania. In his work as a prominent bioethicist, Emanuel has voiced his opposition to the legalization of euthanasia, expressed his support for a health care voucher system, and criticized over-utilization in the American health care system. His outspokenness on controversial issues had him dubbed “Doctor Death” years ago by conservative pundits opposed to the Affordable Care Act.
In addition to conducting groundbreaking research on health care, Dr. Emanuel serves as an op-ed contributor to The New York Times and an occasional contributor to The Atlantic on topics ranging from jam recipes to a Yom Kippur celebration in a Paris hotel to a moonshine tasting in Istanbul. Fun fact: Dr. Emanuel also serves as the brother to Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and to Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel—the inspiration for the character of Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage.
Wednesday, March 27, will bring retired United States Army General Stanley McChrystal to the Athenaeum. General McChrystal served most recently as Commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, after his post as Director of the Joint Staff from August 2008 to June 2009. A West Point graduate, McChrystal spent his career in U.S. military service, notably calling for a troop surge in Afghanistan in 2009, an unprecedented move by a general to encourage President Obama to raise troop levels in the fight against the Taliban.
Controversy arose around McChrystal with the publication of a July 2010 Rolling Stone profile of the general. The article featured candid remarks by McChrystal’s staff that highlighted unflattering comments towards the Obama Administration and Vice President Joe Biden in particular; Biden had spoken against McChrystal’s proposed troop surge. McChrystal issued a written apology to the White House prior to the release of the article. He tendered his resignation during a meeting with President Obama just two days before the issue’s release. Since his retirement, the four-star general joined Yale as a Jackson Institute for Global Affairs fellow and published My Share of the Task: A Memoir in 2012. More recently, McChrystal has controversially called for the reinstatement of the United States draft.
Pico Iyer, a famed essayist and novelist—heralded as one of the world’s greatest travel writers—will be visiting the Athenaeum on Tuesday, April 16. The British-born writer has authored eight nonfiction works and two novels and publishes frequently in Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times, among others; his nonfiction articles tend to center around global affairs (he began writing for Time in 1982), literature, and travel.
Iyer’s 2008 The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama tracks his journeys with the Tibetan leader on multiple trips around the world over a period of 34 years. The recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship, Ayer wrote his most recent work—2012’s The Man Within My Head—about the connection he feels with the late British writer Graham Greene.
On Thursday, April 25, documentary filmmaker Cara Garapedian will visit the Athenaeum. Garapedian’s first documentary, 2002’s Children of the Secret State, highlighted the lives of homeless North Korean orphans. Her subsequent direction and production efforts have focused on other human rights issues, including genocides of the past century, the Chechnyan conflict, and West African coups, among others.
A Los Angeles native, Garapedian completed both her undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees at the London School of Economics and is the only American to serve as a news correspondent for BBC World. She also serves as Executive Director of the Pomegranate Foundation and is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.