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Distributed April 14, 2004
Contact Mary Jo Curtis

Pandemic: Facing AIDS
Brown to host AIDS exhibition, documentary and three-day symposium

Now through June 2004, Brown will host a multifaceted project titled Pandemic: Facing AIDS. Brown is the first U.S. university to host the international exhibition, Pandemic: Imaging AIDS, which will be on display at Brown’s Watson Institute through June 12. The University will also present Provoking Hope: A Brown University HIV/AIDS Symposium April 23-25, 2004, in Starr Auditorium in MacMillan Hall. All events in this project are free and open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In recent decades the pandemic of AIDS has cut a wide swath of devastation across the globe, demonstrating neither cultural preference nor political bias, yet the call to action has been relatively narrow.


Imaging AIDS
Breakfast waits while a patient sleeps on a wooden bench. Because of the high HIV prevalence in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, this rural hospital is often inundated with sick people and suffers from a shortage of beds.

Joao Silva: Hlabisa, South Africa, 2001. Courtesy of the artist and The New York Times

Now, in conjunction with the multifaceted, international Pandemic: Facing AIDS project, Brown University is offering a series of events to illustrate the struggles of people living with HIV/AIDS and how the global community is grappling with this overwhelming adversary. Through June 12, 2004, the University will exhibit Pandemic: Imaging AIDS, a 20-year retrospective look at the impact of AIDS through the work of 58 award-winning international photographers and artists from 50 countries. The exhibit will be displayed in the Watson Institute for International Studies, 111 Thayer St., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The exhibit serves as a backdrop for complementary educational programming that will be offered April 23-25, 2004, in Provoking Hope: A Brown University HIV/AIDS Symposium, a three-day program focusing on highly provocative issues at the core of the pandemic. Some of the most distinguished front-line participants in the battle against this devastating virus will explore the socioeconomic consequences of HIV/AIDS, particularly on the developing world; the driving and restraining factors of increasingly novel and collaborative strategies for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS; the impact that gender inequality, marginalization and stigmatization have on access to prevention and quality care; and the cutting-edge research and scientific breakthroughs – some already applied with success and others languishing in a pipeline that is, at times, stagnant and congested by conflicting agendas.

“Over the next few decades, the wake of the destruction of this epidemic will have an unprecedented impact on global public health,” says Kenneth Mayer, M.D., director of Brown’s AIDS Program. “With more than 5 million predicted new infections and 3 million deaths due to AIDS in the next year, the issues of access to treatment and the development of culturally relevant prevention interventions are urgent; they will be discussed intensely over the Pandemic weekend.”

Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary general of the United Nations, will launch the symposium on Friday, April 23, at 2 p.m., when he discusses how the global community can help even the most severely affected nations and populations. Ira Magaziner, a 1969 Brown graduate and the current chairman and leading strategist of the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, will give the keynote address on Saturday, April 24, at 1 p.m. He will discuss the ways in which the foundation is helping developing countries to mobilize political will, set up systematic changes to improve their healthcare infrastructure and provide a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and treatment.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy and producer/director Rory Kennedy, a 1991 Brown graduate, will introduce her 45-minute film, Pandemic: Facing AIDS, a documentary that follows the lives of five people living with AIDS in different areas of the world. All symposium events will be held in Starr Auditorium, MacMillan Hall, 167 Thayer St.

The exhibition, Pandemic: Imaging AIDS, offers powerful images that document the lives and harsh realities of people living with AIDS. Among the photographers featured are Genin Andrada, Nancy Burson, John Dugdale, Nan Goldin, Gran Fury, Sunil Gupta, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gideon Mendel, Gilles Peress, Paolo Pellegrin, Richard Sawdon Smith, Joao Silva and David Wojnarowicz. The exhibit was organized by Moxie Firecracker Films and Umbrage Editions, under the direction of Rory Kennedy and photojournalist Nan Richardson. 

The Pandemic project is presented by Brown Medical School, the Student Coalition on AIDS, David Winton Bell Gallery, Watson Institute for International Studies, University Advancement, and Physicians for Human Rights’ Health Action AIDS Project. Support for Pandemic: Imaging AIDS and Provoking Hope has been provided by the Charles O. Cooke, M.D., Distinguished Visiting Lecture Fund, the Creative Arts Council, the Offices of the President, Provost, and Dean of the College, the Undergraduate Finance Board, the Lecture Board, the Brown Alumni Association, and by Physicians for Human Rights, Merck and Solvay Pharmaceuticals.

All project events are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of Pandemic speakers and events, visit For more information on the project and its events, call (401) 863-6100, or visit


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