Newsweek’s international editor and author Nicholas Wapshott discusses how Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to persuade the American people to abandon an isolationist spirit and enter World War II — dictating American foreign policy for decades to follow. His latest book, The Sphinx – Franklin Roosevelt, The Isolationists, and The Road To World War II, takes its “Sphinx” title from the nickname Roosevelt earned for his cunning rapport with the press.
A College of Staten Island panel, “Ebola and the Global Collapse of Public Infrastructure,” discusses how the spread of the physical virus throughout parts of Western Africa has been joined by an epidemic of racist hysteria and ignorance by the media and many elected officials in the United States. The panel examines the infrastructure of both the Western African nations and the United States, seeking potential solutions to these virulent, unfounded fears.
As the number of major retailers hit by cybercriminals continues to grow, thousands of fresh credit- and debit-card numbers have turned up on so-called carding sites, where hacked credit-card data is sold. Tom Holt, associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice, provides insight into the underworld of stolen financial information revealing a vast and intricate network.
With tensions bringing law enforcement officers and their civilian critics to an apparent standoff, both sides are now looking for ways to find a balance between safety and civil liberties. Civil rights activist Connie Rice sits down with New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton at John Jay College to discuss current issues dealing with police and their enforcement of the law by looking at what does work and what can be improved.
A discussion of African-American comedians and comedy includes an exploration of the pitfalls of writing biographies of living figures as author Mark Whittaker addresses why his recent book, Cosby: His Life and Times, omits the accusations of sexual aggression now mounting against Bill Cosby. The event, “Cosby, Pryor and the Biography of African-American Comedy,” was moderated by Gary Giddins, executive director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the Graduate Center. The panel included Whittaker and two other authors of books about African-American comedians, Scott Saul and Mel Watkins, who examine the evolution and polarities in African-American humor in the work of Cosby and Richard Pryor.
When it comes to writing fiction it often helps to listen to the words, “I deleted the first three hundred pages I wrote — the voice was wrong,” said author Roxana Robinson, referring to her latest novel, Sparta, which examines the Iraq’s war psychological wounds on a young man. Robinson, a visiting faculty member in the Department of English at Hunter College, spoke at the Creative Writing MFA Distinguished Writers Fall Lecture Series. The prolific author of five novels, three story collections and a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, Robinson says that while her subject may change the motive remains the same. “For me, it’s always emotion that drives the narrative.”
In his keynote address at the event “New World Disorder: Challenges for the UN in the 21st Century” at Baruch College, Kofi Annan reminded the audience that the way to build peace between countries was through respect for others. “When will we learn that identity is not monolithic or exclusive, but multiple and overlapping?” asks the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, who was the joint recipient, along with the UN, of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Bedford Stuyvesant, for decades the hub of African-American life in Brooklyn, is undergoing a housing crisis at an explosive pace as longtime black renters get priced out and aging homeowners sell their stately town houses to developers. At an event, “Bed-Stuy in Crisis,” Brooklyn College journalism professor Ron Howell gathered a panel of local business owners, community organizers and lifelong residents to discuss what, if anything, can be done to save this black urban community.
For Andrew Delbanco, the value of a college experience starts in the classroom. “It’s the best rehearsal space we have for democracy … where you learn the difference between an opinion and an argument.” In a lecture at City College “Do America’s Colleges Have a Future?” in the Sternberg Family Lecture Series, Delbanco, an alumnus of the college’s School of Engineering and a professor of humanities at Columbia University, discusses the importance of institutions like CCNY that continue to help new generations of young people discover their potential. “No place in America embodies that principle better than City College.”
Calling the Common Core State Standards Initiative the “most promising education reform of our time,” Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, urged educators at a symposium to see that the new standards are successfully implemented in the classroom. “Our job in urban education is not to reflect or affirm the nation’s inequities, said Casserly, speaking at the Common Core Standards at CUNY, at a forum hosted by CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs to share practices of CCSS. “Our job is to overcome those barriers and to teach our children to the highest standards.”