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2011-12 INFOCUS to Address Poverty and Inequality—Jonathan Kozol Chosen as Fall Convocation Speaker

With nearly 40 percent of the world’s population living on less than $2.00 a day, and the gap between the richest and poorest within societies and between nations growing, poverty and inequality are among the major challenges of the 21st century.

Members of the Moravian College community will examine these important issues from a variety of perspectives through the 2011-12 INFOCUS program, Poverty and Inequality. The theme is one of four to be addressed in a repeating four-year cycle (the others are Sustainability, Health Care, and War and Peace). Deb Evans, director of constituent relations, will continue to lead the INFOCUS committee.

Beginning this year, the program also will include Centers for Investigation led by faculty advocates. Although the concept is still in development, Dean Gordon Weil envisions the Centers as groups of faculty and staff that will discuss ways to integrate the topic into classes and campus events. Each Center will have two faculty leaders.  Sonia Aziz, assistant professor of economics and environmental studies, and John Reynolds, professor of political science, will lead the Center for Investigation of Poverty and Inequality. 

“Sonia brings us a great deal of expertise on issues related to poverty in the Global South (particularly Bangladesh), and John has been deeply connected to organizations in the Lehigh Valley that address issues of poverty,” noted Dean Weil. Trained as an economist, Dean Weil will teach a related new First Year Seminar in Fall 2011. “Poverty in a Global Context” will address the meanings, measures and dimensions of poverty abroad and in the U.S., as well as the process of globalization and its impact on poverty, inequality, and the environment. 

Save the Date: Fall Convocation September 15

Social justice advocate and author Jonathan Kozol has been selected as the Cohen keynote speaker for the opening Fall Convocation to be held September 15, 10 a.m. to noon. Kozol has devoted nearly half a century to the increasingly complex and urgent issues facing public education and to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within public schools to every child, regardless of racial origin or economic level. He is considered the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America. The Chicago Sun-Times called him “today's most eloquent spokesman for America's disenfranchised.”

Kozol’s book Death at an Early Age, a description of his first year as a teacher, is regarded as a classic by educators and has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States and Europe. His 1995 bestseller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, which described his visits to the South Bronx of New York, was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and praised by scholars such as Robert Coles and Henry Louis Gates. The book received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King. Other works by Kozol include The Shame of the Nation, a 2005 exposé of conditions he found in nearly 60 public schools in 11 states, and Letters to a Young Teacher, his most recent book.