Fairfield University's Open VISIONS Forum announces a noteworthy 2002-2003 season


Fairfield University's Open VISIONS Forum, an outreach program of University College, formerly the School of Continuing Education, announces its sixth season, featuring distinguished speakers from the worlds of art, culture and public affairs. They are: Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan; Dominick Dunne, best-selling author and journalist; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian; Ismail Merchant, filmmaker; Anna Deavere Smith, playwright, performer and actress; Marvin Kalb, veteran journalist and press and public policy expert; Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner and defender of human rights; and Terry Waite, British humanitarian and hostage negotiator. Waite will deliver the inaugural lecture of the Lilly Endowment for the Ignatian College.

Image: Benazir BhuttoBenazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister of an Islamic country, opens the series Monday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. After five years of self-imposed exile, during which she has lived alternately in London and Dubai, Oxford and Radcliffe-educated Bhutto has said she plans to return to Pakistan for the upcoming elections on October 10. Bhutto is credited with restoring some fundamental human rights during her two terms as prime minister. Just weeks ago Bhutto was reelected unopposed to head her Pakistan People's Party. However the ruling party of political rival Gen. Pervez Musharraf has promised to arrest Bhutto on corruption charges the moment she sets foot on Pakistani soil.

Bhutto will deliver the annual Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture, which was created in 1951 by Jewish immigrant Frank Jacoby to promote causes of humanity and brotherhood. The lecture is presented in affiliation with the university's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies.

Dominick Dunne, the best-selling novelist and Vanity Fair correspondent who has chronicled the criminal entanglements of the rich and famous, speaks Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Dunne was born in Hartford, Conn. to an affluent family. It was the murder of his young daughter, Dominique, that spearheaded Dunne's journalistic career in which he champions victims' rights and challenges the American justice system. As a television producer, he hosted star-studded parties in his Beverly Hills home, with a guest list that included Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Truman Capote and Audrey Hepburn, among others. Dunne has written several best-selling novels, including "People Like Us," "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles," and, most recently, "Justice: Crimes, Trials and Punishments," which recounts the conviction on manslaughter charges of his daughter's killer, who served only two and half years in prison. Dunne has covered the William Kennedy Smith, Menendez brothers and O.J. Simpson trials for Vanity Fair.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, author, NBC commentator and Pulitzer prize-winning historian, speaks Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Goodwin was an assistant to Lyndon B. Johnson during the final year of his presidency, and later helped compile his memoirs. In 1976, she published her first biography, "Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream." Her second book, "The Fitzgeralds & the Kennedys" was a New York Times bestseller, and in 1995, Goodwin's biography of Franklin and Eleanor roosevelt won a Pulitzer prize in history. Goodwin is now at work on a book about Lincoln and his cabinet and has written a memoir about her childhood as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. She has consulted on several PBS documentaries about the presidents, as well as on Ken Burns' documentary, "The History of Baseball."

Ismail Merchant, the Academy award-nominated movie producer, speaks Sunday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. born in Bombay, India, Merchant was educated at New york University. His first film, a theatrical short titled "The Creation of Woman," was nominated for an Academy award in 1961 and was entered in the Cannes film festival. That year, Merchant formed a partnership with James Ivory to produce, in India, English-language films for worldwide distribution. Since that time, Merchant Ivory productions has produced three dozen films, including "Room With a View," "Howard's End," and "Remains of the Day."

Marvin Kalb, former NBC chief correspondent, "Meet the Press" moderator and professor of press and public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, speaks Sunday, March 23 at 3 p.m. Kalb is executive director of the Washington, D.C. office of Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. He is also co-director of the Center's Vanishing Voter Project, founded in 2000 to study and promote the involvement of citizens in U.S. elections. The author of three books, including 1994's "The Nixon Medal," Kalb has received two Peabody Prizes, the DuPont Prize and several Overseas Press Club Awards.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel speaks Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. A former inmate of Nazi Germany's death camps, Wiesel lost his mother, father and younger sister to the Holocaust. A defender of human rights and peace worldwide, Wiesel has earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, the rank of Grand Officer in the French legion of Honor and the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, Wiesel has received honorary degrees from more than 90 institutions of higher learning. The Boston University professor has written more than 40 books, including "A Beggar in Jerusalem" and "The Testament." Wiesel delivers this year's Fleet Bank Lecture in Judaic Studies, a program of the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies.

Humanitarian and hostage negotiator Terry Waite brings the season to a close, Monday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. Waite gained international recognition in the 1980s when he successfully negotiated the release of British hostages in Iran and Libya. In 1987, as special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Waite was negotiating the release of Western hostages from Beirut when he was taken into captivity. He was held for 1,760 days, four years of which were in solitary confinement. Waite recounted the ordeal in his book, "Taken on Trust," and now lectures on the power of the human spirit. He has written two other books and continues his humanitarian efforts through Y-Care International, a disaster-relief funding organization, and Emmaus International, an organization for the homeless.

Open VISIONS Forum is an art, culture and public affairs lecture series designed to challenge "the life of the mind." Since its founding in 1997, the series has attracted a range of notable speakers, including actress and adoptive mother Mia Farrow, "Primary Colors" author Joe Klein, CNN Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield and PBS filmmaker Ken Burns. Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of visual and performing arts, is director and moderator of the series.

All lectures take place in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield University's state-of-the art theater complex. Ticket prices are $18 for each lecture, with discounts available for seniors and students. Tickets go on sale August 1.

For information on becoming a patron of Open VISIONS Forum, call the School of Continuing Education at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2688. For tickets, subscriptions and information, call the box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 10, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 23