Forums

Saturday, May 26, beginning at 9 a.m.

Led by faculty, alumni and distinguished guests, these academic and topical colloquia are an integral part of Commencement and Reunion Weekend — creating an ongoing educational link to the University. All family members and guests are welcome to attend and forums do not require a ticket.

speaker

Giuseppe Penone, visual artist, 2018 recipient of a Brown honorary degree

location

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St.

The fluidity of sculpture is the understanding of reality through the perception, the suggestion and the emotion of the material revealing its forms and expressivity. Giuseppe Penone is one of the foremost figures of Arte Povera, a 1960s Italian avant-garde movement whose proponents employed common materials, such as stones or newspapers, to protest the commercialization of art. Through his personal conception of sculpture, he developed in time a very personal language articulated in artworks that position the human being in a equal relationship with nature and environment, which he will address in the talk. His 2006 sculpture “Idee di Pietra” (Ideas of Stone) is on view on the College Green through 2021; it is installed among the elms that create a perimeter around the Green.

The Ruth B. Sauber Distinguished Medical Alumni Lecture
speaker

Jonathan D. Kurtis ’89, ’95 Ph.D., ’96 M.D.

location

Smith-Buonanno Hall 106, 95 Cushing St.

A child dies from malaria every 60 seconds. Learn how Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, department chair and Stanley M. Aronson Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School, is developing a vaccine that, if successful, will save countless lives and serve as a landmark achievement in the history of medicine and science.

Maurice and Yetta Glicksman Forum
speaker

Ayanna Howard ’93 Ph.D., Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

location

Metcalf Research Laboratory, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer St.

As robots become more fully interactive with humans during the performance of our day-to-day activities, the role of trust and bias must be examined more carefully. Trust conveys the concept that when interacting with robots, humans tend to exhibit similar behaviors as when interacting with other humans, and thus may misunderstand the risks associated with deferring their decisions to a robot. Bias further impacts this potential risk in that these robotic systems are learning by mimicking our own thinking processes, inheriting our own implicit human biases. In this forum, we will discuss this phenomenon through the lens of robots that interact with people in scenarios that are realizable in the near term.

speaker

Tricia Rose, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies

location

Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Room 130, 85 Waterman St.

This presentation shares ideas from Professor Rose’s ongoing research project, which aims to make accessible to the public what structural racism is and how it works in society. The project examines the connections between policies and practices in housing, education and other key spheres of society to reveal the intersectional and compounding effects of systemic discrimination as a significant force in American society today. In addition to sharing the outline of the project, Rose will also share her experiences with student co-researchers and creative contributors to the project. Reception to be held immediately following at the center at 96 Waterman St.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America

speaker

Eric B. Loucks, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology, behavioral and social sciences and medicine; director, Mindfulness Center

location

List Art Building, Auditorium, 64 College St.

Mindfulness research is rapidly expanding, and mindfulness has become a $1 billion industry in the United States alone. There is great need for methodologically rigorous research to help determine whether reported impacts of mindfulness on health are fad or fact, as well as the provision of evidence-based services to match the greatly increasing demand. This talk covers the state of the evidence for mindfulness interventions on highly burdensome mental and physical health outcomes, such as depression and cardiovascular disease risk; provides attendees with a first-person experience of an evidence-based mindfulness practice; and describes some of the key new initiatives taking place at the Mindfulness Center, which collaborates with researchers and mindfulness intervention providers.

Sponsored by the School of Public Health

panelists
  • Glenn Loury, professor of economics and Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences
  • Adaner Usmani, postdoctoral fellow in international and public affairs
moderator

Edward Steinfeld, Howard R. Swearer Director of the Thomas J. Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

location

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer St.

The Watson Institute’s Adaner Usmani and Professor Glenn Loury discuss how the nation got to this point and where we go from here. Loury, author of the American Book Award winner “One by One, From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America” and “Race, Incarceration and American Values,” was named a distinguished fellow by the American Economic Association in 2016. Usmani looks at incarceration with an eye on the racial politics of its origins and reproduction.

Sponsored by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

panelists
  • Tom Perez ’83, chairman of the Democratic National Committee
  • Suzi LeVine ’93, United States ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
  • Tahesha Way ’93, New Jersey secretary of state
moderator

Tad Devine ’78, chief strategist for the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, senior adviser in Al Gore’s 2000 and John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaigns

location

MacMillan Hall, Room 117, 167 Thayer St.

Since the United States’ inception, the ideas of “America” and “democracy” have been interwoven in a complex relationship. Currently, that relationship may be more complicated than ever. As doubts swirl in the media over the conduct of key American political figures and the validity of the electoral process — the cornerstone of American democracy — democracy itself seems at risk. 

This forum features a panel of Brown alumni whose careers have been deeply involved in American politics. Join an intriguing discussion on what it means to be a citizen in today’s American democracy, the impact of social media and other technologies on democracies and why education and participation are more important than ever to the democratic process.

Sponsored by the Brown Alumni Association

panelists
  • David Rutstein M.D. ’83, former deputy surgeon general leading the U.S. Public Health Service response to the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake
  • Maria Kasparian ’05, executive director of Edesia
  • Hans Sheng Chia ’14, analytics manager for GiveDirectly, currently working on its Puerto Rico response
moderator

Adam Levine, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School and director of the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative

location

MacMillan Hall, Room 115, 167 Thayer St.

Crises around the world continue to leave millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance. As the need for aid continues to grow with each passing year, so has the overall size of the humanitarian workforce and the diversity of actors involved in emergency response efforts. In order to remain relevant and meet these growing needs, global humanitarianism must learn to both improvise and innovate in reaction to the rising challenges of the 21st century.

Learn from a panel of Brown alumni who are working to address the critical needs of populations affected by disasters and crises and find out how they hope to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations around the world.

Sponsored by the Brown Alumni Association and Humanitarian Innovation Initiative

speaker

John N. Friedman, associate professor of economics and international and public affairs

location

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St.

Children’s opportunities to climb the income ladder vary substantially depending upon where they grow up. But the question remains: What can we do about it? Associate Professor Friedman will discuss how we can use big data to take this next step, using both higher education and place-based policies as examples. He will demonstrate how big data offers new opportunities for scholars to diagnose problems and develop policies specific to each setting — in effect, precision medicine for social science.

panelists
  • Johanna Fernandez ’93, assistant professor of history, Baruch College (CUNY), author, curator and filmmaker
  • Nancy Northup ’81, P’16, attorney, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights and 2018 recipient of a Brown honorary degree
  • Rinku Sen ’88, activist, author, organizer and trainer
  • ​Jayna Zweiman ’01, activist, artist and co-founder of Pussy Hat Project
moderator

Bonnie Honig, Pembroke Center interim director, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science

location

List Auditorium, 64 College St.

Across the world, innovative women are campaigning for change on fundamental human rights issues like gender and racial equality and government accountability. Hear the stories of four visionary Brown alumnae who are taking on systemic injustices with creativity, courage and their passion for social change.

Sponsored by the Pembroke Center and the Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship

speaker

Silvia E. Giorguli ’04 Ph.D., president, El Colegio de México; 2018 Horace Mann Medalist

location

Metcalf Research Laboratory, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer St.

The mobilization of persons between Mexico and the U.S. started more than 100 years ago. Through more than a century, it created strong links between both countries that crossed economic, cultural, social and political dimensions. Even with the same data, the narrative of migration changes depending on where you are standing: the country of origin or the country of destination. In this talk, Giorguli will present a Mexican narrative of international migration that pulls together the history and the contemporary facts along with her own personal experiences as someone who studied, raised a family and was a migrant in the United States.

Sponsored by the Graduate School

speaker

J. Michael Kosterlitz, Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics, physicist, 2016 Nobel Prize winner, 2018 recipient of a Brown honorary degree

location

Salomon Center for Teaching, De Ciccio Family Auditorium, Room 101

Professor Kosterlitz will share his journey through physics via Cambridge, Oxford, Turin and Birmingham, finishing up at Brown. He will describe his very crooked path through life, including physics, and his other life, as a mountaineer. He will also discuss the basics of his prize-winning work.

panelists

Theo Gray ’18 EM in cybersecurity, cybersecurity consultant, PwC
Meryl Moss ’15 EM of healthcare leadership, chief operating officer, Coastal Medical
Amanda Pollak ’18 EMBA, partner, producer and director, Insignia Films
Shannyn Timrott ’18 EM in science and technology leadership, director, product design and user experience, Castlight Health

moderator

Sandra Smith, program director, executive master in science and technology leadership

location

Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001

Across industries, women are driving change through innovative approaches to today’s significant — and often disruptive — business challenges. Do female leaders bring a different perspective? Is this diversity at the top important? If yes, why? Join us for this lively discussion on leadership and innovation with female executives.

Sponsored by the School of Professional Studies

speakerS

Jess Hill, 2018 Heimark Artist in Residence
Geri Augusto, Gerard Visiting Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and Africana Studies; Watson Faculty Fellow; faculty associate, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

MODERATOR

Anni Pullagura, Ph.D. candidate in American Studies

location

Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Room 130, 85 Waterman St.

Please join us for a discussion on the role of imagination and research in creating and visually communicating the legacies of racial slavery, the middle passage and the African American experience. After the forum, please visit the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice to see Jess Hill’s exhibition, “Herstory,” currently on display, as well as a “Symbolic Slave Garden” and “Plants of Bondage/Liberation Flora” assemblage, which are curated by Geri Augusto.

Hill recently received a BFA in printmaking with a minor in art history at the University of West Georgia. She is a recipient of the 2017 Emerging Artist Residency at Atlanta Printmakers Studio. Her work focuses on how we view others through the prism of race and gender/sex. It explores and celebrates differences and engages with themes including class, religion and cultural patterns. Her long-term goal is to dismantle the barriers that keep human beings believing that we are separate from one another.

Augusto is currently part of the Brazil Initiative of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and serves on the working group for Brown’s new Native American and Indigenous Studies program. 

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

The Charles O. Cooke, M.D., Distinguished Visiting Lectureship
speaker

Michael P. Zahalsky ’95, ’98 MMSc., ’99 M.D.

location

Smith-Buonanno Hall 106, 95 Cushing St.

The CBS show “Survivor” has been called the greatest social experiment ever. Former contestant Dr. Michael Zahalsky, better known as “Dr. Mike,” has had the unique experience of providing surgical care during the recent Parkland, Florida, massacre and medical assistance during 9/11 while doing his residency in New York City. Zahalsky is a urologist who specializes in sexual dysfunction and male infertility. He will discuss his medical career, taking risks in medicine, social responsibility and leading with your heart in a world that doesn’t realize it needs leaders.

panelists and performers
  • Julie Adams Strandberg, distinguished senior lecturer and founding director of dance, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; co-founder, American Dance Legacy Initiative; co-founder, Artists and Scientists as Partners
  • Carolyn Adams, co-founder, American Dance Legacy Initiative
  • Rachel Balaban ’80, adjunct lecturer, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; co-founder, Artists and Scientists as Partners; regional coordinator, Dance for PD (Parkinson’s disease)
  • Laura Bennett ’92, managing director and Dancing Legacy Ensemble director, American Dance Legacy Initiative
  • Stephen Ursprung ’10, operations director and Dancing Legacy Ensemble member, American Dance Legacy Initiative
  • Deanna Camputaro, lead teacher, Arts, Communication and Teaching Academy at Central Falls High School
  • Lauren Hale Biniaris ’02, alumni relations coordinator and Dancing Legacy Ensemble member, American Dance Legacy Initiative
  • Brown undergraduates, members of Dancing Legacy Ensemble and members of DAPpers (Dance for All People)
location

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St.

Dance at Brown integrates dance with the other arts, the physical, biological and social sciences, education and the humanities. Through performance, videos and discussion, American Dance Legacy Initiative (ADLI) and Artists and Scientists as Partners (ASaP) will demonstrate how they are bridging the practice/theory divide through groundbreaking research at the nexus of art and science and by building bridges across cultures, generations, disciplines and abilities.

panelists
  • David Borton, assistant professor of engineering
  • John Donoghue, Henry Merritt Wriston Professor of Neuroscience
  • Leigh Hochberg, professor of engineering
  • Steven Rasmussen, chair and Mary E. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
  • Tara Thiagarajan, founder and chief scientist, Sapien Labs
moderator

Arto Nurmikko, L. Herbert Ballou University Professor of Engineering, professor of physics

location

Metcalf Research Laboratory, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer St.

Neurotechnology is one of the fastest growing disciplines in the biomedical engineering and neuroscience communities, and the brain-computer interface (BCI) is a critical area of research for transformative science. This technology is also moving out of the laboratory and into clinical applications at a rapid pace. The panelists have been chosen to provide perspective on all areas of neurotechnology, from fundamental science to clinical applications and exciting startup opportunities.

Sponsored by the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science, School of Engineering and School of Professional Studies

speakers
  • Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, educator, historian and museum director, 2018 recipient of a Brown honorary degree
  • Anthony Bogues, Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory, director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, professor of Africana studies
location

Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Room 130, 85 Waterman St.

For nearly a decade, Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III worked to help conceive, build and launch the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. A leading scholar in American and African American history and the founding director of NMAAHC, Dr. Bunch, in conversation with Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice’s inaugural director, Professor Anthony Bogues, will discuss the experience of building a national museum that examines American history through an African American lens.

speaker

Trudie Styler, actress, activist and UNICEF U.K. ambassador

location

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St.

In 1989, Trudie Styler co-founded the Rainforest Fund with her husband, Sting. Alongside a creative career both behind and in front of the camera, Styler has continued a life’s work in protecting the environment, supporting human rights and speaking up for those whose voices have gone unheard. Styler is a 2018 recipient of a Brown honorary degree in recognition of her work. In this talk she will explore connections between her artistic passions and her activism and reflect on the importance of protecting the earth and its peoples.

The Frank and Joan Rothman Lecture
speaker

Stefan Gravenstein, M.D., MPH, professor of medicine and health services policy and practice, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown School of Public Health and Providence Veterans Hospital

location

MacMillan Hall, Room 117

We all age differently, but those who age with the least amount of disability share some telling characteristics. A common theme of these differences is the relationship of organ dysfunction and size, in immune responses and diet, and markers of inflammation. This conversation, inspired by a 2001 visit with Ma Pampo, who lived to the age of 128, will connect ideas from mangoes, fast food and vaccine response to brain and kidney function, risks for heart attacks in the context of inflammation, infection and aging.

panelists
  • Jane Beckett ’68, principal, Jane Beckett & Associates
  • Robert Cohen Jr. ’68, commissioner, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Kathryn F. Cohen ’13, council organizer, North Shore (Massachusetts) Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Ken Galdston ’68, director/lead organizer, InterValley Project
moderators
  • Jim Dickson ’68, co-chair, National Council on Independent Living voting rights committee
  • Rinku Sen ’88, senior strategist, Race Forward
location

John Hay Library, Lownes Room, 20 Prospect St.

How have you been engaged in public life? Have you served in public office or worked on a campaign? Worked for policy change? Held leadership positions in community institutions like faith communities, unions, economic development groups or elsewhere? Perhaps the stakes of your engagement have changed over time; perhaps you’ve felt the influence of technology on organizing public action. Join a lively conversation with fellow Brown alumni who are experienced community organizers about the gratifications and challenges of this work, and share your story about Brown’s influence on your role in public life.

Sponsored by the Brown University Library and Brown Alumni Association

panelists
  • Sean Moran ’88, head of sales and partner solutions, Viacom
  • James Forman Jr. ’88, professor of law, Yale University, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Locking Up Our Own”
  • Holly Green Gordon ’93, chief impact officer, Participant Media
moderator

Brickson Diamond ’93, CEO of Big Answers, LLC

location

Metcalf Research Building, 190 Thayer St.

Members of the media play an enormous role in shaping and influencing society. With their power to draw and hold our attention, actors, producers, writers and other figures can inspire and accelerate social change at a global scale through the channels of the media they command.

Hear from a panel of Brown alumni who wield influence in today’s climate of media-driven change. Join a lively discussion about how their work within media institutions has intersected with social justice movements. Book signing of “Locking Up Our Own” to follow.

Sponsored by the Brown Alumni Association

speaker

Sting, singer-songwriter, author and activist, 2018 recipient of a Brown honorary degree

location

Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center, 233 Hope St.

Musician, composer, author and activist Sting, along with his wife, Trudie Styler, founded the Rainforest Fund in 1989 to protect the world’s rainforests and the indigenous people there. From new wave/punk to jazz, rock, reggae and even classical lute albums, Sting has become one of the world’s most prolific and versatile musicians, but the constant throughout his career has been his hunger to challenge himself and to evolve. One of Sting’s most recent creative projects was “The Last Ship,” a musical homage to his hometown of Wallsend in the northeast of England. Sting will talk and sing about growing up in the shadow of the shipyards, and how that upbringing and the people he knew there have given him imaginative access to a whole new cast of characters whose stories he wanted to tell. 
Doors open at 3:30 p.m.  Seating is limited and offered on a first-come, first-seated basis. No entrance after 4:30 p.m.