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SUNY Potsdam is ‘Making the Future’


POTSDAM — With Earth’s population exceeding 7 billion and still growing, an understanding of human rights and social change are an essential to anticipating what the years to come will bring.That’s why this week’s 2013 SUNY Potsdam Academic Festival, which is centered around the theme of“Making the Future,” will concentrate on topics such as the empowerment of women, labor rights, antiracism activism, individual impact on sustainability, getting young people involved in politics and using translation as a human rights tool.

The free public festival will be held today through Saturday on campus.

Labor rights and female empowerment

The visiting speakers include Jane LaTour, a journalist and labor activist living in New York City. She has written for various union publications and managed the Women’s Project of the Association for Union Democracy. She is a two-time winner of the Mary Heaton Vorse Award, the top labor journalism award in New York City.

There will be a meet and greet with Ms. LaTour from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday in the Learning and Teaching Excellence Center of Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Ms. LaTour will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Jaqueline Goodman from to 2 to 3 p.m. that day in Kellas Hall Room 105. They will discuss Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”

Ms. LaTour will give a public talk about her book, “Sisters in the Brotherhood: Working Women Organizing for Equality,” an oral history-based study of women who, against considerable odds, broke the gender barrier to work in male-dominated blue collar New York City trades. Part of the Anne Righton Malone Lecture Series, the talk will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday in Kellas 105.

Ms. Townsend, the daughter of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy and niece of John F. Kennedy, will offer an address, titled“Women Taking Power Seriously,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

Algerian film series

Visiting Professor of Modern Languages Abdelkader Cheref will host a film series to illustrate the Algerian struggle for human rights.

“Days of Glory,” which deals with the inequitable treatment of colonial North African soldiers by the white French forces during World War II, will be screened from from 9 to 11:30 p.m. today in the Knowles Hall Conference Center. On Thursday, “The Battle of Algiers,” a classic film about the Algerian War of Independence, will be shown from 9 to 11:30 p.m., also in Knowles Hall. On Friday, the film series will conclude with “Rachida,” which examines the impact of the Algerian Civil War (1991-1999) and terrorism in one neighborhood. The film will screen from 7 to 10 p.m. in Kellas Hall Room 106.


There will be a panel discussion, “A Sustainable Future: Promises and Pitfalls of Individual Action,” from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday in Kellas 106. Speakers will include Rich Douglass, Robert Ewy and Bob Washo, with Heather Sullivan-Catlin moderating.

Dominic Frongillo, deputy supervisor for the town of Caroline, is one of the youngest elected officials in the state. He is also a five-time delegate to the United Nations on climate change. Mr. Frongillo will present “Be the Change You Seek: Running for Office,”from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday in Kellas 105.

Human rights

John Youngblood and Jennifer Mitchell, both associate professors in the Department of English and Communication, will speak about “Making our Futures Together: Racism and Antiracism Activism,” from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday in Kellas 104. This discussion will examine topics such as interpersonal interactions, microaggressions, stereotype threat, racial profiling, economic inequality, and how to be a white ally.

SUNY Potsdam Spanish students will lead a session on “Translation as a Human Rights Tool: Stories from the Other 9/11”from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday in Kellas 105. They will offer public readings of translations of stories based on events that took place in Chile in 1973, to shed light on the importance of understanding traumatic events across cultures and languages.

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