Pembroke Center Associates Events

Family Weekend Event - Hawks and Doves: What's Gender Got to Do with It?

Are people who engage in physical aggression more likely to support aggressive foreign policy positions?

Does gender play a role?


Friday, October 21, 2016
4:00 PM
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street, Providence

As the US presidential election approaches, Brown researchers are studying these and other questions about political and moral decision-making.

Rose McDermott, Professor of Political Science and David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of International Relations, will talk with Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg P'19, Director of the Pembroke Center and Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, about McDermott's research on how gender and other issues of difference may influence political and social behavior. This Family Weekend event is sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates.

Free and open to the public. Handicapped accessible.


Getting Reel: Brown Women in Documentary Film

Saturday, May 28, 2016
11:00 am
List Auditorium, 64 College Street

Brown alumnae continue to take the documentary film field by storm, capturing some of the most prestigious prizes. No issue – from race to gender roles to religion – is off-limits. Join these award winning alumnae panelists for a no holds barred conversation about how they inspire, provoke, and engage their audiences. Learn about the motivations that stir them and the roadblocks they face in the world of documentary film. 


Moderator: Betsy West ’73, P’17, Fred W. Friendly Professor of Professional Practice in Media and Society, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Introduction: Jean E. Howard Ph.D. ’70, Chair, Pembroke Center Associates Council

This commencement forum is sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates and the Women’s Leadership Council of Brown University.

An Evening with Award-Winning Playwright Sarah Ruhl ’97, MFA’01


Hosted by Victoria Westhead ’83, P’17, P’19, Pembroke Center Associates Council Vice-Chair 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
6:30 pm
Brooklyn Heights, NY

Sarah Ruhl's plays include In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2010; Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination); Late: A Cowboy Song, Three Sisters; and most recently, Stage Kiss and Dear Elizabeth. She is also the author of 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater, which was selected as one of the "100 Notable Books of 2014" by the New York Times.

Her plays have been produced on Broadway, all over the country, and internationally; and have been translated into Polish, Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean, German and Arabic. She was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006, and she recently received the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Feminist Press’ Forty under Forty award, and the Lilly Award. Ruhl studied with Paula Vogel at Brown and is on the faculty at Yale School of Drama.

Space is limited and preregistration is required. R.S.V.P. to Martha Hamblett by April 13, 2016 at 401-863-3433 or via email to

Photo courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Brown Women and Politics

Dr. Nancy L. Cohen '85

Cohen is an author, historian, and leading national expert on women and American politics. She is the author of four books, including the new Breakthrough: The Making of America's First Woman President and Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America.



Monday, April 18, 2016
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Graciously hosted by Natalie Fair '86, P'15
and Donna Weiss '89 in Los Angeles, CA

Space is limited. Please contact Lee Lancaster at
or (401) 863-6010 by Monday, April 11, if you are able to attend. 

Cosponsored with the Brown Women's Leadership Council.

Family Weekend

Anila Daulatzai, Lamphere Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality Studies,  is a socio-cultural anthropologist who studies the themes of war and humanitarianism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as widowhood and everyday life amidst serial wars.

Catherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, co-directs the Costs of War project that examines the far reaching price of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg P'19, Director of the Pembroke Center and Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, will moderate. She direct's the Pembroke Center's multiyear research initiative, Thinking War Differently: A Collaborative Critical Project.

Friday, October 16, 2015
4:00 PM
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street, Providence

This event is sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates.

Commencement Forum
Tenure She Wrote:
Women in the Academy


In 1974-75, when Louise Lamphere filed a class action lawsuit against Brown University for sexual discrimination, women comprised less than eight percent of Brown's faculty. This academic year, women make up thirty percent of Brown's faculty, and only twenty-seven percent of its tenured faculty. The ranks of women faculty in higher education have grown across the nation, but challenges remain, particularly for women of color. Join Louise Lamphere and Brown alumnae who are tenured faculty at other institutions for a discussion about how the roles of women faculty have changed, how gender inequality has nonetheless persisted, and what they see as the challenges and opportunities for women in the Academy today.

Saturday, May 23, 2015
11:00 AM

Pembroke Hall 305, 172 Meeting Street

Nancy L. Buc '65, '94 LLD will serve as moderator. Panelists will include:

Sangeeta N. Bhatia '90, M.D, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineer and Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Louise Lamphere, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Emerita, University of New Mexico; Brown University 2015 honorary degree recipient

Mary A. Renda '81, Ph.D., Professor of History, Mount Holyoke College 

Judith Sims-Knight '65, Ph.D., Chancellor Professor of Psychology, UMASS Dartmouth 

Regional Event
I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet
A discussion with the author, Leora Tanenbaum '91

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
6:30 pm

Hosted by Amy Finn Binder '77, P'02, P'09 and Ava Seave '77
New York, NY (midtown)

Young women today are encouraged to express themselves sexually. Yet when they do, they are derided as "sluts," caught in a double bind of mixed sexual messages. How can they be sexy without being slutty? And how did they get in this bind to begin with?

Leora Tanenbaum '91—author of the groundbreaking work Slut! and the writer who coined the term slut-bashing—talks about her new book, and offers fresh insights into the digital and face-to-face worlds contemporary young women inhabit. She shares her new research on slut-shaming, involving the experiences of a wide range of teenage girls and young women from a variety of backgrounds, as well as parents, educators, and academics. Tanenbaum analyzes the coping mechanisms young women currently use and suggests a new direction to eradicate slut-shaming for good. 

Space is limited and pre-registration is required.  To register, please email or call 401-863-3433.  Location details will be provided upon registration.

Family Weekend Event
A Pivotal Moment for Women Worldwide

Pop star Beyoncé declares that girls "Run The World" and appears onstage with "Feminist" blazing in 40-foot-lights—but attacks on women's empowerment continue. Nancy Northup'81, P'16, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, will discuss this moment of historic opportunities—and formidable challenges—women are facing today as the U.S. Supreme Court nears its next landmark case on women’s rights and the United Nations establishes its next global development agenda.

Please join the Pembroke Center Associates as we welcome Nancy Northup’81, P’16, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who will share her perspective from the front lines of this moment about what the future may hold.

Friday, October 24, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street, Providence 

Free and open to the public / Handicapped accessible

For more information, please contact: 

Covering the Bases: Brown Women in Sports

Saturday, May 24, 2014, 11:00 a.m.
List Auditorium, 64 College Street, Providence

Sports matter. Playing sports can improve health, earn college scholarships, and launch professional careers. What is being done to create a level playing field for student and professional athletes? What are the challenges and opportunities for women athletes competing at the student, amateur, and professional levels? Join Brown alumnae in a conversation about their personal and professional experiences as leaders, researchers, and competitors in sports.

  • Sharon Cohen ’89, founder and executive director, Figure Skating in Harlem; former competitive figure skater 
  •  Laura Johnson ’90, lecturer in Studies of Women, Gender, & Sexuality and “Gender and Sports;” member, Faculty of Education, Harvard University
  • Sara Low ’83, fly-fishing guide and author
  • Moderator: Jasmine Waddell ’99, trustee, Corporation of Brown University; member, Pembroke Center Associates Council; resident dean of freshmen, Harvard College

Sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates
in association with the Women’s Leadership Council of Brown University.

First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School
A discussion with the author,  Alison Stewart '88

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
6:30 p.m.

Hosted by Jean Howard ’70
Upper West Side
New York, NY  

Stewart spoke about her book, First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School. In the first half of the twentieth century, Washington D.C’s Dunbar High was an academically elite public school, despite being racially segregated by law and existing at the mercy of racist congressmen who held the school’s purse strings. The school’s well-educated teachers developed generations of high-achieving African Americans, groundbreakers that included the first black member of a presidential cabinet, the first black graduate of the US Naval Academy and the legal mastermind behind school desegregation. Join us as Alison Stewart shares the past, present, and future of this historic institution.

From Patients to Consumers: The Latest Developments in Health Care and What They Mean for You
Thursday, March 6, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by Ulle Holt ’66
Wellesley Hills, MA

We all consume health care, but most of us don’t consider ourselves to be consumers when it comes to our medical care. Now comes the Affordable Care Act, an explosion in mhealth (mobile health) applications, insurance policies that shift costs to us, and contracts that put hospitals on a budget. In this changing landscape, we become consumers in a system that we may not know how to navigate. WBUR health reporter Martha Bebinger ’93 shared what she’s learned in her extensive research and reporting on health care in Massachusetts and beyond.

Family Weekend Event

Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt

A conversation with Sherine Hamdy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Kutayba Alghanim Professor of Social Sciences, and Debbie Weinstein'93, Assistant Director of the Pembroke Center

Friday, October 18, 2013, 4:00 pm
Pembroke Hall, Room 305
172 Meeting Street, Providence

Egypt has been undergoing major social and political transformations for several decades – including the privatization of health care, advances in science, the growing gap between rich and poor, and an Islamic revival. At the same time, the country continues to grapple with the morality, medical practice, and religious implications of organ transplantation, which Egypt first experimented with starting in the mid-1970s. Professor Hamdy, who studies cross-cultural approaches to medicine, health, and the body, spoke with Debbie Weinstein ’93, Assistant Director of the Pembroke Center, about how Islamic ethical reasoning and bioethics inform the practice of medicine and affect patients in need of new tissues and organs. They questioned the presumed divide between religion and science, and between ethics and politics, and explore the implications for contemporary Islamic thought.

Watch the video.

Commencement Forum
A Sense of Humor: Brown Women in Comedy

Watch the video online

Saturday, May 25, 2013
11:00 a.m.
List Auditorium, 64 College Street, Providence

From screenwriting to stand-up, women have been closing the gender gap in comedy. How did they break into the business? How did their personal experiences shape their comedic voices? What's fair game and what's off limits in their humor?  Brown alumnae discussed how they are making a living by making people laugh.

Lauren Corrao ’83, P’16, Consultant, Comcast Entertainment Studios; former President, Ellen DeGeneres' Production Company; and former President, Original Programming & Development, Comedy Central (moderator)


Marin Hinkle ’88, Stage, Television, and Film Actor



Tara Schuster ’08, Writer, Performer, and Producer at Comedy Central


Suzanne Whang SCM’86
, Television Host, Actor, Writer, and Stand-Up Comedian


Sponosored by the Pembroke Center Associates in association with the Women's Leadership Council.

Brown Women in Foreign Policy

Thursday, April 4, 2013
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Washington, D.C.

A discussion, moderated by Melanie Y. Nakagawa '02 of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with:

Heather F. Hurlburt'89
Executive Director, National Security Network

Mariah S. Sixkiller'99
Senior Policy Advisor, Congressman Steny Hoyer

Meghan E. Stewart'00
Vice President, Senior Counsel, Public International Law & Policy Group

Hosted by  by Melanie Y. Nakagawa '02, in collaboration with
Nancy L. Buc '65
and Shelley N. Fidler '68, P'09

Sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Council and the
Pembroke Center Associates of Brown University

Brown Women and the Field of Technology

Thursday, March 21, 2013
6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
San Francisco

A panel discussion moderated by Jessica Lessin, News Editor and Senior Technology Reporter, Wall Street Journal, with:

Brynna Donn ’91
Director Corporate Applications, Portals and Collaboration, Yahoo!

Jill A. Huchital ’89
Head of Engineering, InVisioneer

Nancy E. Pfund P’14
Managing Partner, DBL Investors

Hosted at the home of Mary Vascellaro '74, P'07
San Francisco

Sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Council and the
Pembroke Center Associates of Brown University


See the full calendar of events for the Sarah Doyle Women's Center's 2013 Women's History Month. 

 MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
6:00–8:00 p.m.

Martinos Auditorium
The Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
154 Angell Street, Providence

Marika Shioiri-Clark ’05
Inaugural Year Global Resident, and Principal, SOSHL Studio

Barbara Smith
Author, Activist, and Independent Scholar

Betsy West ’73
Executive Producer, MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Sara Wolitzky ’04
Co-Producer, MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Nancy L. Buc ’65, LLD’94 hon. 

Hosted by Brown’s Women’s Leadership Council in association with
The Pembroke Center Associates, The Sarah Doyle Women’s Center,
The Brown Alumni Association, and Brown Club of Rhode Island

More information on MAKERS

Youth and Privacy in the Age of Social Media

A conversation with danah boyd '00

Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research
Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Thursday, December 13, 2012
6:30 p.m.
Brooklyn Heights, New York

Hosted by Victoria Westhead ’83
Co-hosts: Nicole Israel ’00, and Leslie Newman ’75, P ’08, P ’12

Youth and Privacy in the Age of Social Media

 There is a widespread myth that young people don’t care about privacy. Despite high levels of engagement with social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, they do value and protect their privacy. Social media expert danah boyd ’00, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University discussed how young people understand privacy today and explained their innovative strategies to achieve privacy in the networked publics formed through social media.

Family Weekend Program - An Alternative to Nature v. Nurture: Biology in a Social World

A conversation with Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies

Watch the video of the program.

Friday, October 19, 2012, 4:00 pm
Pembroke Hall 305
172 Meeting Street, Providence, RI

The media is awash with reports of genes for this or that complex human trait: obesity, alcoholism, homosexuality, gender differences in math and science. A great divide exists between people who accept biological explanations of human difference and those who reject biology in favor of social explanations. Debbie Weinstein, Assistant Director of the Pembroke Center spoke with Professor Fausto-Sterling about her research on human development and a new way to think about how biological difference can be produced over time in response to different environmental and social experiences.

Commencement Forum

Last year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Four remarkable Brown women who broke ground in new careers for women shared their personal stories and professional milestones. Panelists explored how the role of women in the workplace has changed and how gender inequality has persisted.


  • Sharon B. Drager, M.D. ’67, vascular surgeon
  • Andrea I. Razzaghi ’82, Assistant Director, Planetary Science Division at NASA
  • The Honorable O. Rogeriee Thompson ’73, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit


  • Leah W. Sprague ’66, Retired Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court

Women's Leadership Conference

An Evening with Gloria Steinem

Film Festival and Symposium: Chinese Women's Documentaries in the Market Era

Family Weekend Program: The Therapeutic Fix

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From the apologies of disgraced public figures, to the confessions made on reality television, to the visions of fulfillment in self-help literature, therapeutic culture is pervasive in the United States. Conservatives claim therapeutic culture undermines individual responsibility while liberals argue it distracts attention from larger social and economic inequalities. Is there a therapeutic fix for what ails contemporary society?

  • Lynne Joyrich AM’84 PhD’90, Associate Professor of Modern Culture and Media
  • Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies
  • Debbie Weinstein’93, Assistant Director of the Pembroke Center

Commencement Forum with Award-Winning Playwrights Lynn Nottage '86 and Adam Bock AM'89

Brown alumnae/i continue to take the theater world by storm, capturing some of theater's most prestigious prizes. No issue – from race to gender roles to religion – is off-limits. How do they do it? Lynn Nottage'86, recipient of the 2007 MacArthur Genius Grant and 2009 Pulitzer Prize, whose plays include Ruined, Intimate Apparel, and Crumbs from the Table of Joy and OBIE winner Adam Bock AM’89, author of the plays The Receptionist, The Thugs, and A Small Fire among others, engaged in a no holds barred conversation about how they write to inspire, provoke, and engage theater audiences around the world.

Moderated by Eng-Beng Lim, Assistant Professor of Theatre arts and Performance Studies.

A Mirror on International Development and Humanitarianism: A Conversation with Brown Faculty and Alumnae/i

As natural and unnatural disasters erupt around the globe, the pressure on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide long and short-term international assistance grows. Why have development and relief programs failed to eradicate poverty and inequality, despite decades of targeted efforts and billions of dollars in aid? We will examine the particular challenges of international development and humanitarianism, including cases where donor pressures undercut highly successful local NGOs, transnational labor migration and human trafficking confront conventional country-focused assistance, and human rights based approaches seek to displace charity by focusing on rights and responsibilities. A century ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that the Supreme Court was a “mirror on America.” This event will take a mirror to the practices of international development and relief efforts and consider the reflection.

Kay B. Warren, the Charles C. Tillinghast Jr. ’32 Professor of International Studies and Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Pembroke Center, David Waskow '88, Program Director for Oxfam America, and moderator Jasmine Waddell’99, Visiting Lecturer of Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, discussed the impact of international development and humanitarian relief programs on the poor.

Co-hosted by Nancy L. Buc ’65, LLD’94, hon, Shelley N. Fidler ’68, P’09, and Claudia Schechter ’66. Co-sponsored by the Women's Leadership Council.

Journalism Today: What's in the News

It used to be just paper and ink and the six o'clock news on the three big broadcast networks. Now it's dot-coms and blogs and cable channels, Twitter and Facebook and webcasts and... who knows what's next? In the year when the entire archives of the Pembroke Record went digital, the Pembroke Center Associates and four Brown women journalists on the front lines of the news media discussed the challenges journalists and their organizations face in adapting to an ever-evolving media environment. 

Celebrating the Pembroke Record Digital Archives
This discussion was sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates in celebration of the digitization of the Pembroke Record, the student newspaper of Pembroke College in Brown University published from 1922 to 1970. We invite you to visit the Pembroke Record digital archives.

Human Trafficking: Criminal Prosecutions and Prevention in Transnational Perspective

Friday, October 29, 2010
6:00 PM
Phoenix, Arizona

Pembroke Center Director Kay Warren spoke to the Brown Club of Phoenix as part of the Brown Alumni Association's "Food for Thought: Dinner with Brown Faculty" program.

2010 Commencement Forum:
From Policy to Practice: What Health Care Reform Means for You

Despite the fierce political debate we witnessed this year as President Obama and Congress worked to overhaul national health care policy, health care remains a very personal issue. To help us move beyond politically charged rhetoric and the avalanche of competing statistics put to partisan use, David Bowen ’86, PhD, former staff director for health of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Cecile Richards’80, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, with a nationwide network of more than 840 health centers, discussed what the new health care reform law can — and cannot — do to increase the quality of care, expand access to health care services, and improve population health. Moderated by Terrie Wetle, PhD, associate dean of medicine for public health and public policy, and professor of community health.

Forum sponsored by:

Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women
Pembroke Center Associates
Brown Medical Alumni Association

Media Innovation/Media Destruction:
The Confusing (at least up 'til now) Lessons of the Digital Age

Panelists explored how the rise of the Internet and digital media products has created greater access to information, news, and entertainment while at the same time undermining the very organizations that have dominated these businesses in the last 50 years. On the flip side of this phenomenon, they discussed what new businesses and careers are emerging from this transition, which incumbent businesses might survive the current chaos, and what the new world of "Pro-Am" (professional/amateur) media might look like in the very near future.

The numbers in consumer-created media are staggering: as of January 2010, U.S. consumers can get their information fix from more than 150,000,000 blogs or 7.8 billion tweets, not to mention the millions of reviews on Yelp and tens of millions of youTube videos. Manufacturers and corporations are also doing "b.y.o.m" -- bring your own media -- by going directly to their consumers without the benefit of the experts; for example Kraft has an electronic magazine that has a readership of tens of millions monthly and Amazon sells millions of book titles that generate millions of book reviews that its buyers depend on.

Co-sponsored by the Brown University Club in New York

Why Hip Hop Matters

Tricia Rose
Africana Studies

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers

In her recent book, The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop — And Why It Matters, Professor Rose voices a call for revitalization of the progressive, creative heart of hip hop, which has increasingly become defined by one thin slice of a varied, complex genre. While "conscious rappers" such as Talib Kweli and The Roots may receive enormous critical acclaim, it's the rappers who employ what Rose calls the "gansta-pimp-ho trinity"- such as T.I. and 50 Cent-who sell the most records and dominate the recording industry, TV, film, and radio. As a result, the most visible and widely-consumed hip hop sets forth a troubled vision of ghetto street life that defines young, at-risk black men and women to each other and also to a large white audience (seventy percent of hip hop consumers are white). After exploring how hip hop has become the primary means by which we talk about race and culture in the United States, Rose offered six guiding principles for progressive hip hop creativity, consumption, and community, ending the "blame hip hop vs. explain hip hop" wars and promoting critical conversations that inspire transformational music as well as social justice for all.

Co-sponsored by the Brown Club of Boston, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Asian/Asian American Alumni Association, the Brown University Latino Alumni Council, the Inman Page Black Alumni Council, and the Multicultural Alumni Council of the Brown Alumni Association. This event was possible in part thanks to the generosity of Donald L. Saunders '57.

Leadership for Change through Education Award

Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 8:00 p.m.

Read the Brown University Press Release

Wendy Kopp

Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Teach For America

Introduction by Hannah N. Copperman’08
Teacher, Ballou Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 
Teach for America Corps Member


Hillary Salmons

Executive Director
Providence After School Alliance

Introduction by Daniel Lawlor ’08
Site Coordinator, Gilbert Stuart Middle School, Providence, R.I. 
Providence After School Alliance

About the Award

At the core of the Pembroke Center’s mission is its belief in the necessity and power of education. The award honors women in any field who, both nationally and at the grass-roots level, succeed in changing lives by helping others to see the world differently and offering new ways of thinking about seemingly unsolvable problems. A donation of $5,000 is made to an organization selected by each recipient.

Past recipients:

Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund
Sister Mary Reilly, Founder of Dorcas Place and Sophia Academy
Margot Stern Strom, Founder and Executive Director, Facing History and Ourselves
H. Terri Adelman, Executive Director, Volunteers in Providence Schools

Commencement Forum 2009

View the video.

In recent months, the U.S. economy has been buffeted by the housing slump, a credit crisis, rising unemployment, gyrating energy prices, and a dramatic rise in the federal deficit. The Obama Administration and economic leaders have been implementing new policies to address the crisis and stabilize consumer confidence. Where is it all heading? Are we entering an era of more regulation and government intervention? What policy options remain in the toolbox? Annette L. Nazareth’78, Partner, Davis, Polk & Wardwell and a former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Randall S. Kroszner’84, Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board; and, Jill Schlesinger’87, Editor-at-Large of CBS discussed the state of the U.S. economy and the prospects for recovery.

An Evening with Kirstin Downey, Author of The Woman Behind the New Deal

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Kirstin Downey discussed her new book and presented a slide show of Frances Perkins’s life including never-before-published pictures. Perkins served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor and is considered a primary architect of the New Deal. Downey did a short reading from her book and talked about Perkins’s fascinating life and Perkins’ interest in Rhode Island. Also at the event was Barbara Burt, executive director of the Frances Perkins Center, a new effort to create a center to perpetuate Frances Perkins's life work, and to turn her family homestead, still in its 1930’s condition, into a museum and research center. This event was sponsored by the Sarah Doyle Women's Center and the Pembroke Center Associates.

Reproductive Rights as Human Rights: What Can the U.S. Learn from Global Developments?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Boston, MA

Thirty-six years after Roe v. Wade, the political debate in the U.S. over reproductive health and rights issues remains intractable and stale. While Americans debate the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education, the right of pharmacists’ to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, and legal restrictions on abortion, what has been going on in the rest of the world? Nancy Northup '81, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, shared groundbreaking developments from around the globe in recognizing reproductive rights in binding international and regional human rights treaties, as well as recent efforts by human rights lawyers to obtain authoritative interpretations in individual cases.

This event was co-sponsored by the Brown Club of Boston, which launched a series of women-focused events called Brown Women of Boston (BWB). Become a member of the Brown Club of Boston and learn more about these events and more in and around Boston.

About Nancy Northup '81

Nancy Northup is the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global human rights organization that uses constitutional and international law to secure women's reproductive freedom. The Center has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. committees, and regional human rights bodies, and has built the legal capacity of women's rights advocates in over 45 countries.

Ms. Northup joined the Center in 2003 with a rich mix of experience as a constitutional litigator, federal prosecutor, and women’s rights advocate, and a reputation for intelligence, passion, and creativity. Before coming to the Center, Ms. Northup was the founding director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. From 1989 to 1996, she served as a prosecutor and Deputy Chief of Appeals in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Northup graduated from Brown University and Columbia Law School, where she was a Kent Scholar and Managing Editor of the Columbia Law Review. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alvin B. Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. Ms. Northup holds adjunct appointments at NYU Law School and Columbia Law School where she has taught courses in constitutional and human rights law.

A frequent public speaker, Ms. Northup is quoted widely in the national press and has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, FOX News, PBS, MSNBC and NPR.

Women in Politics: An Analysis of the 2008 Presidential Election

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Chicago, IL

Professor Lawless discussed the outcome of the 2008 election, the role gender played, and women's continued under-representation as candidates in American politics, despite high-profile female candidates like Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. Professor Lawless spoke about her research into political ambition and the manner in which gender affects the decision to run for office. She is co-author (with Richard Fox) of the recent book, It Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (Cambridge University Press, 2005), based on the data from the Citizen Political Ambition Survey, a national survey she conducted of almost 3,800 potential candidates. Her research found that women, even in the highest tiers of professional accomplishment, are substantially less likely than men to seek elected office, be recruited to run for office, or express a willingness to run for office in the future. Lawless also spoke from her own experience as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island's second congressional district in 2006.

About Jennifer Lawless

Jennifer L. Lawless received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. She isan assistant professor of political science at Brown University, with a courtesy appointment at the Taubman Center for Public Policy. Her teaching and research focus on gender politics, electoral politics, and public opinion. She is the co-author of It Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (Cambridge University Press, 2005); and has also published numerous articles in academic journals, such as The American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and Women and Politics. Dr. Lawless has become a nationally recognized expert and speaker on the subject of women candidates. In 2006, she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island's second congressional district.

Commencement Forum 2008

According to the United Nations, over 12 million people worldwide are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation every year. In the United States, an estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually, and an estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year. Despite the grim statistics, much progress is being made to prevent human trafficking, serve the needs of those who have been trafficked, and prosecute traffickers and their customers. Warren and Chon discussed what is meant by the term “human trafficking” and how non-governmental organizations, academics, and the public are addressing this vast and complicated problem.

Conversation with Profl. Jennifer Lawless: Women in Politics

Commencement Forum 2007

Nothing has ever disrupted “traditional” media, information and entertainment businesses as much as the digital explosion. Video content can beproduced, distributed and accessed quickly and inexpensively. In the U.S. alone, people make almost 7 billion internet searches per month. YouTube attracts 2 million and attracts 16.8 million visitors a day. An average of 9 million people are logged into music file sharing services, at any given time, illegally swapping or sharing an estimated 20 billion songs.

This forum explored how technology, user-generated content, and other forces are changing the media as we know it. Do major media companies need to completely reinvent themselves and their business models to succeed in this environment? How are our notions of content creation and ownership changing? And in an increasingly cluttered media environment, with many voices of authority and many challengers, who controls the message – and who hears it?