posted September 17, 2008

Critical Issues Symposium to Address Global Health

The issue of global health will be the focus of this year's Critical Issues Symposium at Hope College, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

The public is invited. Admission is free to all events except for the "Braddigan" concert Wednesday evening.

The college's annual Critical Issues Symposium provides an intensive look at a single topic. This year's symposium is examining "Global Health:  From Catastrophe to Cure" and will feature two keynote addresses, two blocks of concurrent focus sessions, and departmental-sponsored sessions.

The symposium will open on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel with a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett. A medical writer and a biologist, Garrett holds the distinction of being the only writer to have won the three most coveted awards in journalism:  the Polk (twice), the Peabody and the Pulitzer.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, Dr. Peter Okaalet will give the morning keynote address at 9 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. Okaalet holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from MakerereUniversity in Kampala, Uganda, and two graduate degrees in theology from the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. Named a "Global Health Hero" by "Time" magazine's Global Health Summit in 2005, Okaalet has been recognized for leading the way for faith communities to join in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

The morning concurrent focus sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 1, will begin at 10:30 a.m. Sessions will include Garrett and a faculty panel featuring Harvey Blankespoor, Annie Dandavati, Dereje Desta, Barb Osburn, Amanda Barton and Jeff Brown. Other speakers include Jalaa' Abdelwahab, and Tim Geary.

The afternoon concurrent focus sessions begin at 1 p.m. Sessions will include a Hope College alumni panel featuring Nicole Buono, Laura Ellis, Tarah Fron, and Will Nettleton. Other speakers will include the musical artist, Braddigan; Solomon Nwaka; and Okaalet.

The symposium will then move to a series of departmental-sponsored sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 2:15 p.m. which will allow speakers to focus on a more specific area.

The symposium will end with a performance by "Braddigan" on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theatre. The band features the leader, Braddigan, who was part of "Dispatch." Braddigan continues to tie his music to social justice issues and all ticket revenue from the concert will be used to help support two HopeCollege initiatives overseas, including continuing work on providing safe drinking water through the college's on-going service project in the village of Nkuv, Cameroon, and building staff housing at a hospital clinic, also in Africa. Tickets for Braddigan are $10 for the general public and $5 for students 18 and under, and are available in the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Additional details concerning the two blocks of sessions and departmental session, including locations, will be available in the printed program distributed during the symposium, and may also be found through the college's Web site at www.hope.edu/cis.

The college's Critical Issues Symposium, first held in 1980, was established to stimulate serious thinking about current issues, and to provide a forum in which the Holland community, students and faculty may all engage in discussion with experts. The college cancels classes for a day to provide an opportunity for the event.

Past topics have included "Genocide," "The Middle East," "World Hunger," "The Family," "Energy," "Civil Rights," "The Quest for Justice: Christian Voices," "Lifeboat Earth: Decisions for Tomorrow," "The Columbus Legacy, 1492-1992," "Race and Social Change in America," "What Future Is in our Genes: Freedom from Disease, Good Investment, Manufactured Humans?," "Sport and American Life," "Feminism and Faith: Implications for Life," "Gold Rush and Ghost Towns: Living with the Internet," "Earth Matters: Daily Decisions, Environmental Echoes," "Putting Science in Its Place: Discovery and Responsibility," "Race and Opportunity: Echoes of Brown v. Board of Education," and "Immigration: Shaping and Reshaping America."

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., at College Avenue and 12th Street.  The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St.

Tickets for the Braddigan concert are on sale weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DeVos Fieldhouse ticket office, which can be called at (616) 395-7890.  The fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.  Any remaining tickets for the concert will be sold at the door on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 1.