Thought provoking lectures: building community, broadening minds

Each year, Carleton opens its doors and welcomes the public to open their minds at a multitude of thought provoking lectures.

The various speaker series at Carleton attract a number of high profile individuals who share their knowledge in a public lecture. Most recently, the University welcomed such inspiring minds as novelist and historian Ronald Wright, Microsoft CEO Frank Clegg, and world renowned author Michael Ondaatje.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Mike Smith, says linking these reputable names to Carleton is highly valuable.

“Sponsoring public lectures by significant figures with great ideas or minds, raises the profile of the institution,” says Smith.

In addition, it is the role and responsibility of any university to provide a forum where members of the community can deliberate ideas of life and society in general, says Smith. “We expand this opportunity to bring notable people onto campus to provide this stimulus,” he says.

Another key reason such lectures are of value, is they provide a way to connect the University with the broader community. History Professor Bruce Elliott explains this is the mandate of Carleton’s Shannon Lecture series, “Bringing in the work of academic and international scholars in a way that will be informative and interesting to the public.” Elliott stresses the importance of international scholars, who can add a comparative perspective to current affairs.

Smith notes the lecturers are chosen mainly by recommendations from faculty members. The speakers are generally “international leaders who can challenge others and the way we think about society.”

As Director of Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs, Eileen Saunders notes, the question and answer session following each lecture is another draw for the attendees, giving them access to individuals they would normally not have the opportunity to meet.

Saunders agrees with Smith in the value of academic lectures from notable individuals, especially for students. “It’s a world outside the classroom—students connect what they learn in class and what is happening in the real world.”

From – http://www.now.carleton.ca/2004-12/600.htm

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