Kerry Kennedy, human rights activist and daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, will be on campus at Lees-McRae College September 19.
At 2 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium, Kennedy will discuss with students and the community life lessons learned from her father, how the lessons have guided her life as an international human rights activist and what we can do to make a difference.
From 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. the Lees-McRae College chapter of Amnesty International will sponsor an open panel discussion with Kerry Kennedy. She will explain her involvement in Amnesty International, and students and the community will have an opportunity to speak with her in a less formal setting.
At 7 p.m. the Lees-McRae College Division of Performing Arts will present a play based on Kennedy’s book Speak Truth to Power, which profiles courageous men and women who are activists in the global fight for human rights.
The play, directed by Dr. Janet Barton Speer and performed by Lees-McRae students and faculty, will be presented in Hayes Auditorium with closing remarks from Kerry Kennedy. All programs are open to the public.
The invitation to host Kerry Kennedy came from Lees-McRae’s Global Community Center which hosted Arun Gandhi in October 2006 and Tibetan Monks in October 2005.
“Lees-McRae College is thrilled to host Kerry Kennedy and provide our students and the community at large with the opportunity to hear her important message,” said President David W. Bushman. “With many different ways to engage in this conversation, we are certain that we can raise awareness and challenge assumptions in our role as educators.”
Kerry Kennedy started working in the field of human rights in 1981 when she investigated abuses committed by U.S. immigration officials against refugees from El Salvador. Since then, her life has been devoted to the fight for equal justice, to the promotion and protection of basic rights, and to the preservation of the rule of law. She is the author of Speak Truth To Power, a book of profiles of fifty human rights defenders around the world. She has led forty human rights delegations to twenty-seven countries.
Following the 2 p.m. program, there will be a book signing by Kerry Kennedy. The book Speak Truth to Power will be available for purchase in Hayes Auditorium the day of the program.
Concurrently, an exhibition titled “Claiming Our Voice: Avery County History from Past to Present” will be on display in Evans Auditorium. Inspired by Kerry Kennedy’s visit, this gallery will focus on social justice and human rights. The exhibit was procured by Justin Eads, Global Community Center Intern, and Melissa Ball, Assistant Professor of Humanities.
Presented as a timeline, the gallery will progress from early Native American history through modern times, establishing the movements and development of our area in terms of a complex and drastically changing global community. The gallery will also include photographs, interviews and articles that display local voices and shared opinions. The exhibit will be on display through September.
Other approaching events sponsored in part by the Global Community Center include the Staley Lecture Series beginning September 21 with Curt Ryan’s lecture “Christians in the Middle East”. Ryan will also present lectures September 24 and 28.
The Center will also sponsor an Interfaith Prayer for Peace September 23 and a program titled Darfur: Take Action Now on September 26, both located in Evans Auditorium.
All programs are sponsored by the Lees-McRae College Global Community Center, Office of Advancement, Division of Performing Arts, CATCH and Amnesty International, and the Staley Foundation, Avery Arts Council and the Joseph and Frieda Ross Foundation.
For more information on the programs at Lees-McRae, contact Meghan Wright, Communications Officer, at (828)898-8729, or the Global Community Center at (828) 898-8788.