By Matthew Waldrep
In its seventeenth year, the GRCC Diversity Lecture Series aims to continue spreading global awareness and promoting critical thinking to students and community members alike says program Director Christina Arnold.
Arnold, who has been with the Series since its start, says it has grown phenomenally over the years. She recalls when the series began, student attendance would dwindle between fifteen to twenty students. Now, being held at Fountain Street Church, the lectures draw not only a staggering amount of GRCC students, but students from neighboring schools and community members alike.
Arnold passionately supports furthering the education and global awareness of GRCC students and Grand Rapids citizens with the Series. She has watched as student interest and involvement has increased dramatically in recent years, a testament to the series’ success.
On Monday, the program launched this year’s series with an annual fundraiser hosted by Christina Arnold, Bob Bailey, Joyce Fossel, Larry Murphy, and Mary Alice Williams.
Following the fundraising event was the first installment of the Series featuring Nickolas D. Kristof. Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author, columnist, and journalist, and has traveled to more than 140 countries. He is the co-author of the national bestselling book “Half the Sky.”
“Half the Sky” chronicles the accounts of women living in lesser-developed countries faced with forced prostitution, sex-trafficking, honor killings, and other elements of gender-based oppression. Kristof, along with wife and co-author, Sheryl WuDunn, traveled to the regions of South-East and Central Asia and Africa to capture riveting stories of oppressed females for the book.
Kristof’s goal with “Half the Sky” is to spread awareness of the tragedies facing women in poorer countries, and what we as people can do to help end the ongoing oppression.
The next lecture will be held on October 26 featuring Jeannette Walls, the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, “The Glass Castle.” More upcoming speakers include Maziar Bahari, Jeff Johnson, and Naomi Wolf.
For more information regarding the GRCC Diversity Lecture Series, please call (616) 234-3390.