Speaker Series


Thursday, April 6 at 7:00 PM ~ Mr. Rais Bhuiyan, Founder and President of World Without Hate

Thursday, April 6 at 7:00 PM    Register Now!
Mr. Rais Bhuiyan, Founder and President of World Without Hate
"A World Without Hate: Compassion, Forgiveness, and Healing in a Post 9/11 World"


Join Mr. Rais Bhuiyan, Founder and President of World Without Hate and a post 9/11 hate crime victim, as we explore what it means to be compassionate in society today.  What does forgiveness actually look like, and how can we begin to heal as individuals, communities, and a nation?  Mr. Bhuiyan's story is featured in the new book The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas.

Rais Bhuiyan is a peace activist and an IT professional. After graduating from Sylhet Cadet College, a military School in Bangladesh, he joined the Bangladesh Air Force and was commissioned as a pilot officer following two and a half years of vigorous training. He received a BS in Aeronautics from the National University in Dhaka and completed numerous information technology courses in New York and Dallas where he continued his education, taking courses in computer system engineering, programming, and database administration. In 2001, he was shot in the face by Mark Stroman, a white supremacist seeking vengeance for the 9/11 tragedy.  Bhuiyan responded to this by forgiving his attacker and attempting unsuccessfully to prevent his execution.  Bhuiyan currently holds a position with Sabre Holdings, a global technology company, in Southlake, Texas.  His time is divided between managing a team of system engineers and data centers in Europe and touring the globe giving talks about the regenerative power of forgiveness.




Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 PM ~ Dr. John E. Finn, Professor of Government at Wesleyan University

Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 PM
Dr. John E. Finn, Professor of Government at Wesleyan University
"A Citizen's Guide to the First Amendment"

Join Dr. John E. Finn as we explore the historical origins, philosophical foundations, and case law of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  As the text of the Constitution states, freedom of expression includes the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, as well as the right to religion.  The First Amendment also protects, we shall see, the implied right of association.

Dr. John E. Finn is Professor of Government at Wesleyan University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from Nasson College, his J.D. from Georgetown University, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University. Professor Finn is an internationally recognized expert on constitutional law and political violence. His public lectures include testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, as well as lectures in Bolivia, Canada, Chile, England, France, Italy, and Spain. Professor Finn is the recipient of four distinguished teaching awards at Wesleyan University, as well as an award for distinguished teaching by a graduate student at Princeton University. He is published widely in the fields of constitutional theory and interpretation. He is the author of the highly regarded Constitutions in Crisis: Political Violence and the Rule of Law and coauthor of American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes, described as the Cadillac of constitutional law casebooks.




PRevious Speakers  2015-2016

Dr. Ralph Nurnberger, Ph.D., Principal at Gray Global Advisors

Dr. Ralph Nurnberger, Ph.D., Principal at Gray Global Advisors
"Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Feasible in the Near Future?"
The Williams School
Sponsored by Chelsea Groton Bank

Dr. Ralph Nurnberger, Ph.D. is a widely acclaimed speaker who brings humor, current political insights and historical background to his presentations.

In addition to speaking nationally, Dr. Nurnberger has appeared on radio and television programs as an analyst on political and international issues, and spoken internationally including in Germany; Canada; Poland; Austria, Hungary, France, Greece and the United Kingdom. He has also spoken frequently at the Smithsonian Institution on topics related to the Middle East and historical subjects.

Dr. Nurnberger is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, beginning in 1975. He was named Professor of the Year by the Graduate School of Liberal Studies in 2003 and received another award in 2005 for over 20 years of excellence in teaching. His most recent course at Georgetown was a graduate seminar on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

He has also advised numerous Congressional, Senatorial and Presidential campaigns on foreign policy issues, especially those related to the Middle East.

His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and numerous scholarly journals and magazines.

In addition to his academic career, Ralph Nurnberger has served on Capitol Hill, in the Executive Branch and has also spent thirty years in the field of government relations.

His experience on Capitol Hill includes serving as Foreign Policy Assistant to former Kansas Senator James B. Pearson (R-KS) and then as a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In the Executive Branch, he served as Special Assistant to the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) and later as Director of Congressional Relations for the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) within the Department of Commerce.

He served for over eight years as a Legislative Liaison for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which widely regarded as the finest foreign policy-oriented government relations organization in Washington DC. In this capacity, he had direct contact with dozens of Senators and Members of Congress on issues related to the Middle East.

Dr. Nurnberger was the first director of “Builders for Peace”, an organization established in 1993, with the encouragement of then-Vice President Al Gore, to encourage private sector investment. In this capacity, he dealt with international leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, as well as American and international business and political leaders.

He also spent two years as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he directed the Congressional relations program, ran a number of conferences, and co-authored and edited books dealing with Congressional leadership and the role of Congress in foreign policy.

He is a Partner in a Washington, D.C. government relations firm, Nurnberger & Associates, which was founded in 1994. He is affiliated with the firm Gray Global Advisors, which was founded by former House Majority Whip Bill Gray (D-PA).

Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1975
M.A., Columbia University, 1968
B.A., Queens College, 1967 (Phi Beta Kappa; Captain, Varsity Tennis Team)

Dr. Katherine Bergeron, Ph.D., President of Connecticut College

Dr. Katherine Bergeron, Ph.D., President of Connecticut College
"A New Liberal Arts for the 21st Century"
The Williams School

Katherine Bergeron is the 11th president of Connecticut College. A passionate advocate for the liberal arts, Bergeron is leading Connecticut College through a period of positive momentum and change. The College’s endowment now stands at the highest level in the institution’s history. The Charles E. Shain Library has undergone a $10 million renovation to support new forms of collaborative teaching, learning, and research. Forbes named Connecticut College a top school for entrepreneurship. And the Princeton Review ranked Connecticut College among the top 20 in North America for career preparation — the only liberal arts college in New England to achieve this recognition.

From the first year of her presidency, Bergeron has supported the development of the curriculum at Connecticut College through a bold new venture in integrative education. The resulting vision, called Connections, requires all students to make deeper linkages between the work they do in courses, in jobs, and in their lives both on campus and in the world, in order to prepare them for leadership in an era of change: liberal arts for the connected world.

Before coming to Connecticut College, Bergeron was dean of the college at Brown University. She has held academic appointments at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tufts University, University of California at Berkeley, and Brown. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, Bergeron earned master’s and doctoral degrees in music history from Cornell University, and is the author and editor of numerous scholarly articles and books, including two prize-winning monographs on French music and culture.

Bergeron enjoys singing and has performed on campus with students and with her husband Butch Rovan, a composer and multimedia artist who chairs the music department at Brown.

She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of "Liberal Education," the flagship journal of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, as well as on the board of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and on the executive committee of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges.

Mrs. Katie Koestner, Executive Director, Campus Outreach Services

Mrs. Katie Koestner, Executive Director, Campus Outreach Services
"A Cyber World of Trouble"
The Williams School

Katie Koestner is a national expert on student safety, sexual misconduct and technology issues. At age 18, she was the first person in history to speak out nationally and publically about being the victim of date tape. She subsequently appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine that year. She is the subject of an HBO movie and has lectured at over 3000 schools, universities, military bases, and corporations throughout the world. Katie has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, CNN, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Later Today, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight and dozens of other national television programs.

Her audiences have included the incoming classes at MIT, Brown University, West Point, the US Naval Academy, Amherst College, Williams College, the top 200 officers of the Department of Defense, and the American Association of School Administrators. In 2010, the US Ambassador to India invited Katie to keynote and lead a 19 day campaign in India to raise awareness about Violence Against Women. In 2011, Ms. Koestner’s Foundation, Take Back The Night, was chosen by the TV Show, The Good Wife, as their charity of choice for their Celebrity Golf Tournament.

The Girl Scouts of America selected Katie, Katie Couric and a handful of others as honored women to present for their 100th Anniversary Celebration. She has assisted the US Department of Education in developing and providing programs to women in high risk communities. Her testimony on Capitol Hill was instrumental in the passage of federal student safety legislation. In 2007, Coe College awarded her an honorary doctorate for her extensive work on student safety and public service.

In 2011, Katie launched the first ever online learning program, ThinkLuv and ThinkDrink, that permute 726 different ways to match the demographics and learning style of each student taking the course. In 2012, Katie initiated the 10 Points of Light to Take Back The Night national awareness campaign, holding sessions at such schools as Harvard, Claremont Colleges, and the University of Washington. In 2013 and 2014, Katie organized over 20 Policy Institutes from coast to coast to educate school leaders on cyber and sexual misconduct best practices for policy and prevention. In 2015, Katie presented to all the Men’s Basketball Coaches at the Final Four and with the US Secretary of the Air Force to an audience of over 4000 Air Force Officers and Personnel. Katie’s energy and enthusiasm spur audiences from age 8 to 80 to positive action around the globe.

Campus Outreach Services

Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD ’89, Associate Professor of Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience at The University of Southern California

Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD ’89, Associate Professor of Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience at The University of Southern California
“Rest is Not Idleness in the Brain: Insights for Education from Neuroscientific Research on Social Emotion and Self”

Social emotions like admiration and compassion shape how we think and act, who we become, and how we experience our own lives. Studies of these emotions’ neurobiological underpinnings also reveal important insights about the nature of deep learning and how social experience shapes intellectual development. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD '89 will present her research on the neurobiology and psychology of emotional feelings, including their deep visceral roots in the feeling and regulation of the body and consciousness, their propensity to heighten one’s own subjective sense of self-awareness and purpose, and their connections to memory, cultural learning and the development of interests and expertise. Her studies underscore the fundamental interdependence of emotion and cognition, and the necessity of understanding students’ humanity to optimally support their academic excellence.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang studies the psychological and neurobiological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture and their implications for learning, development and schools. She is an Associate Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. A graduate of The Williams School and a former junior high school science teacher, she earned her doctorate at Harvard University in 2005 and completed her postdoctoral training with Antonio Damasio at the Brain and Creativity Institute in 2008. Since then she has received numerous awards for her research and for her impact on education and society, among them an Honor Coin from the U.S. Army, a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles, a Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences editorial board, and early career achievement awards from the American Educational Research Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Mind, Brain and Education Society, and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation (FABBS). Her work is/has been funded by an NSF CAREER award and by grants from DARPA, the NIH, the Templeton Foundation, the Institute for New Economic Thinking and other sources. Her forthcoming book, Emotions, Learning and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience, will be available in November, 2015 from W.W. Norton.

May 4, 2016: NY Times article To Help Students Learn, Engage the Emotions

Thank you to Power Posse Productions for their technical support of this evening's Speaker Series.

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