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Great Names Speaker (s)

April 23, 2013   

Hamilton has had a number of pretty "great" Great Names speakers in the past, including Al Gore, Aretha Franklin, Condoleezza Rice, and Jon Stewart. Condoleezza Rice spoke my freshman year, and I still remember the jam-packed Field House being and general buzz on campus leading up to the event. This year is a bit different than past years. Instead of getting one Great Name, we are getting two fairly Great Names - Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Dr. Bernard Kouchner.

Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, former judge and human rights activist currently living in England. I actually wrote a paper on her in Chinese last semester - we had to pick a Nobel Laureate to write about, and I found her story extremely interesting. From what I can remember (I wrote that paper months ago...apparently I don't retain information well) she disagrees with many actions of the current Iranian regime, especially after they forced her to give up her position as a judge for religious reasons. She is also very outspoken against U.S. involvement in Iran and the Middle East, so I feel like this should make for an interesting speech. 

I am not as familiar with Dr. Bernard Koucher, but I should start reading up on him because I will be sitting at a dinner table with him tonight! My International Political Economy class, along with a few other classes, has the opportunity to meet him and eat dinner with him before the speech. I signed up but am now feeling the pressure to come up with some intelligent questions to ask him. I get a little nervous at the thought of holding a conversation with Nobel Laureates...especially since our professor "strongly suggested" that we think up some questions for Dr. Koucher and run them by our professorr in class today. He is probably just making sure that we all don't sound like idiots - which is good thinking, on his part! 

So that is what my Wednesday is shaping up to be! In addition, I have to interview one of the teachers in the Chinese department immediately following class for a paper on whether China can become a democracy AND finish up an outline on a research paper about income inequality and its relationship to corruption in Bangladeshi NGOs. Whew.  If I had to describe college in only one word, I know exactly what adjective I would use. Busy. Very, very busy. But a blast, as well!