Stephen Ritz

Harvesting Hope and Cultivating Minds: Stories from the South Bronx

Wednesday, January 6
Underwritten by: Howard Miller Company

Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation will not be recorded or archived.

Stephen Ritz, a South Bronx educator, was just named a 2015 Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize.  He believes that students shouldn't have to leave their community to live, learn, and earn in a better one.  A strong advocate for Project Based Learning, he is currently working on embedding the concepts of sustainability, food, energy and environmental justice into K-12 programming and beyond.  Stephen has consistently moved student attendance from 40-93 percent daily, partnered towards 2,200 youth jobs in the Bronx, grown over 30,000 pounds of vegetables and captured the United States EPA Award for transforming mindsets and landscapes in NYC.

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Marsden, Mouw, Plantinga & Wolterstorff

Marsden, Mouw, Plantinga & Wolterstorff

The Renaissance of Christian Thought

Thursday, January 7
Underwritten by: Howard Miller Company and Miller Johnson

Renowned thought leaders George Marsden, Richard Mouw, Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff come together for a panel discussion, each sharing a 10-minute talk on what has captured their heart during their careers.  Each one served as a professor at Calvin College for over two decades in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s before moving on to the halls of Notre Dame, Yale and Fuller Seminary.  Each has over forty years of experience teaching in the academy and have authored scores of books.  Calvin students today continue to read their writings in classes.  In this presentation they will come together once again at Calvin to share with us their deep love of knowledge.

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Laurie Garrett

Health and the Changing World

Friday, January 8
Underwritten by: Holland Home and Ringnalda Insurance Agency

Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation will not be recorded or archived.

A Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Laurie Garrett is one of America’s most trusted speakers on global public health, infectious disease, and, recently, the Ebola crisis. The only person to win the three P’s of journalism – the Pulitzer, the Polk, and the Peabody – she explains the science behind new health threats, and navigates the politics that help, and hinder, how we prepare and how we respond to them.

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Eboo Patel

Interfaith Leadership: Engaging Religious and Philosophical Diversity in the 21st Century

Monday, January 11
Underwritten by: John & Mary Loeks and the Christian Reformed Church in North America

The founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit building the interfaith youth movement, Patel has a doctorate in sociology of religion from Oxford University and is a regular panelist for the Washington Post/Newsweek magazine On Faith blog. His core belief is that religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He’s inspired to build this bridge by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship. He has spoken about this vision at places like the TED conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, as well as college and university campuses across the country. He has written two books about interfaith cooperation, Acts of Faith and Sacred Ground

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Haley Williams

Bethany Haley Williams

The Color of Grace: Healing and Hope for Child Survivors of War

Tuesday, January 12
Underwritten by: The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation

Bethany Haley Williams is the founder and executive director of Exile International, an organization that exists to restore Africa’s former child soldiers and children orphaned by war. With a PhD in counseling psychology and a master’s in clinical social work, she is a leader in the specialized field of war-affected children rehabilitation with worldwide organizations such as the United Nations and the Global Trauma Recovery Institute. With more than twenty years of experience in the field, Bethany maintains a small counseling and coaching practice in Nashville, TN. She and her husband, Matthew, reside in Nashville, Tennessee, and lead the work of Exile International together. 

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David Brooks

The Road to Character

Wednesday, January 13
Underwritten by: The Center for Excellence in Preaching and Meijer, Inc.

Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation will not be recorded or archived.

One of America’s most prominent political commentators, David Brooks writes a bi-weekly OpEd column for the New York Times.  He is a regular analyst on PBS NewsHour and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.  David has a gift for bringing audiences face to face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and quiet passion.  David’s current book, The Road to Character, explores the road to a deeper inner life and explains why selflessness leads to greater success.  His previous books include The Social Animal, On Paradise Drive, and Bobos in Paradise.

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Jill Dougherty

Russia: Past, Present and Future

Thursday, January 14
Underwritten by: GMB Architects + Engineers and The Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation

An expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union, Jill Dougherty spent 30 years at CNN where most recently she served as Foreign Affairs Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C., covering the State Department and providing analysis on international issues. Previously she served as U.S. Affairs Editor for CNN International; Managing Editor of CNN International Asia/Pacific, based in Hong Kong; CNN's Moscow Bureau Chief and Correspondent, and CNN’s White House Correspondent. During her tenure she covered the presidencies of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, and Vladimir Putin. Since leaving CNN in 2013 she has plunged full-time into Russian affairs – writing, speaking, blogging, teaching and traveling to Russia.  She conducts her research on Russia and Putin as a fellow at Harvard University and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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Ron Suskind

Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism

Friday, January 15
Underwritten by: Jeff & Shirley Hoogstra

Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation will not be recorded or archived.

A Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, best-selling author, teacher, and essayist, Ron Suskind has spent his career chronicling our social and political landscape. Suskind is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Confidence Men, The Way of the World, The One Percent Doctrine, The Price of Loyalty, and A Hope in the Unseen. From 1993 to 2000 he was the senior national affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize. His newest book, Life, Animated, chronicles his son Owen's struggle with autism and the way in which the family used Owen's affinity for Disney to connect with him. He lives in Cambridge, MA, where he is Senior Fellow at Harvard's Center for Ethics.

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Leroy Barber

Race, Stories and Justice: A Call for Diversity in Christian Missions

Monday, January 18
Underwritten by: Holland Litho Printing Services

Leroy Barber has dedicated more than 25 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism, and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.” He is the Co-Founder and Director of the Voices Project and College Pastor at Kilns College. Rev. Barber is on the boards of The Simple Way, Missio Alliance, The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), and the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). He is author of New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community and Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World. He was a contributor to Tending to Eden and the groundbreaking book UnChristian. His third book was just released this spring, Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White:Who’s More Precious in God’s Sight? A call for diversity in Christian missions and ministry.

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William Close and the Earth Harp Collective

William Close and the Earth Harp Collective

William Close and the Earth Harp Collective

Tuesday, January 19

Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation will not be recorded or archived.

Close is a New York native and alumni of the Art Institute of Chicago. While at the Institute, Close, an avid musician, started concocting, then building, his own instruments – including the Earth Harp. The body of the Earth Harp rests on the stage, while the strings travel over the audience, attaching to the back of the venue, turning every space into an instrument. The Earth Harp’s bowed tones & overlapping ripple effect makes it sound as if it were being played in some vaulted cathedral, giving the music a sanctified quality.  Close’s Earth Harp earned him a finalist slot on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.  He has brought his Earth Harp to iconic venues like Rome’s Coliseum, Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Lincoln Center, Seattle’s Space Needle, Shanghai’s Grand Theater, Qatar’s Dhow Harbour, as well as major U.S. festivals.

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Jere L. Krakow

National Parks: America's Greatest Treasure

Wednesday, January 20
Underwritten by: The Mellema Program in Western American Studies and the Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning

Jere Krakow recently completed a public service career with the National Park Service and previously was a college professor in American history.  Krakow served as superintendent of nine National Historic Trails, including the Oregon, Santa Fe, Pony Express, and Trail of Tears National Historic Trails. He has a long-standing goal of connecting the historic sites of the nation with students and   citizens alike. Krakow is a fellowship recipient from the National Endowment for the Humanities and holder of awards from several historic trail friend groups.  He is a member of the Western History Association and a consultant on the administration of historic trails, commemorative events, and the activities associated with them. Currently serving as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, Krakow’s presentation will help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

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Gabriel and Jeanette Salguero

How Latino Churches are Changing America

Thursday, January 21

The Salgueros are co-lead pastors of the multiethnic Lamb’s Church in NYC which worships in three languages – English, Spanish, and Mandarin. They have ministered extensively in Europe, Latin America, and Africa. The Rev. Gabriel Salguero is also president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) and is a powerful voice on issues that affect Latino communities in the United States. Focusing on poverty, immigration, and education, Gabriel’s leadership of the NaLEC offers an important voice for growing diversity and changing demographics in our country. He has been named one of the most prominent Latino evangelical leaders by the Huffington Post, the Center for American Progress, El Diario, and Jorge Ramos’ Al Punto. In addition to her leadership at Lamb’s Church, the Rev. Jeanette Salguero provides leadership with Urban Strategies’ efforts to promote national health and wellness initiatives that empower Hispanic communities. She is recognized for her work on multiethnic outreach and Hispanic women’s leadership empowerment.

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Kurt VerBeek

Reframing Justice: Models from Honduras

Friday, January 22
Underwritten by: Barnes & Thornburg, LLP

Dr. Kurt Alan VerBeek directs Calvin College's Justice Studies semester in Honduras. He has lived and worked on development and justice issues in Central America for more than 25 years. Kurt has conducted research on the role of faith in development, the effects of short-term missions, and the impact of the maquila industry on Honduras.  He is also a co-founder and board member of the Association for a More Just Society (AJS), a Christian justice organization with a specific focus on Honduras.  By standing up for victims of violence, labor and land-rights abuse and government corruption in Honduras, organizations around the world, including Transparency International and the United Nations, are increasingly recognizing AJS as a pioneer in achieving justice for the poor.  AJS has faithfully worked in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa and in the last eight years has witnessed a drop of over 75% in the neighborhood's crime rate. In addition to fighting against soaring crime in Honduran neighborhoods, AJS works towards peace and public security reforms on a national level. Recently, these efforts have included the signing of an agreement between AJS and the president of Honduras that makes AJS an official monitor of the president's anti-corruption plan.

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Eric O’Neill

Cyber Security in a Shrinking World

Monday, January 25
Underwritten by: Bruce & Mary Okkema and Van Wyk Risk Solutions

Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation will not be recorded or archived.

Eric O’Neill is a security expert that will share with us current cyber threats facing industry, government and private individuals, from threats to national infrastructure, to corporate espionage and cyber terrorism, to identity theft and online fraud.  Eric has worked as an FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence operative, a national security attorney and as a corporate security consultant. He is the founder of The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security services firm. In 2001, during his time in the FBI, Eric played a key role in capturing the notorious spy, Robert Phillip Hanssen, the story of which is captured in the movie Breach. Eric graduated from Auburn University and went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School. 

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Mitri Raheb

A Tough Calling: The Joys and Struggles of Pastoring in Palestine

Tuesday, January 26
Underwritten by: I.C.N. Foundation

President of Diyar Consortium and of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem and president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb also serves as the senior pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine. The most widely published Palestinian theologian to date, Dr. Raheb is the author of 16 books including: I am a Palestinian Christian and Faith in the Face of Empire. His books and numerous articles have been translated into eleven languages.  Recipient of many prestigious awards, his work has received wide media attention from major international media outlets and networks including CNN, ABC, CBS, 60 Minutes, BBC, ARD, ZDF, DW, BR, Premiere, Raiuno, Stern, The Economist, Newsweek, and Vanity Fair.

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