News And Events

Great Conversations

The Memphis Branch of the English-Speaking Union participated on April 18, 2013, in the Great Conversations, sponsored by the University of Memphis College of Arts & Sciences.  We could select from 15 topics, each led by a faculty member or a distinguished alumnus of the University.  The meeting was held at the Memphis Botanic Garden.  There was a hospitality reception so that the members and other attendees could meet and interact with the conversation leaders.  Then, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and each table began the great conversation on the topic of choice by the members and other attendees at the table.

The subjects were varied giving our members an excellent choice of an impressive array of topics.  The subjects and conversation leaders were as follow:

  1. "Reinventing the Modern University: Challenges in the Coming Decade", led by Dr. M. David Rudd. Provost, University of Memphis.
  2. "The American Political Party…Friend or Foe to Democracy", led by Dr. Eric Groenendyk, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Memphis.
  3. "Deluge to Drought: A Historical Perspective of Recent Extreme Weather", led by Dr. Dorian Burnette, Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences, University of Memphis.
  4. 'The Myth of Absolute Safety: When Governments or Corporations Put Our Health at Risk", led by Dr. Kristen Iverson, Associate Professor, English, University of Memphis.
  5.  "One Mouth, Two Ears, Ten Fingers: Telling, Hearing and Writing a Story", led by Ms. Courtney Miller Santo, Instructor, English, University of Memphis.
  6. "Territorial Disputes and Instability in East Asia", led by Dr. Catherine Phipps, Assistant Professor, East Asian History, University of Memphis.
  7. "Tennessee: A History of Innovation in Education", led by Dr. Alistair Windsor, Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences & Co-Director of Tigers Teach, University of Memphis.
  8. "Gun Violence in Memphis: Can Anything be Done?", led by Dr. Richard Janikowski, Associate Professor, Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Memphis.
  9. "Tactical Urbanism in Memphis: New Approaches to Urban Revitalization in Memphis Neighborhoods", led by Leah Dawkins, Community Redevelopment Liaison, University of Memphis and Dr. Stan Hyland, Professor & Head, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Memphis.
  10. "The French Presence in the Mid-South", led by Dr. Will Thompson, Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Professor, French, University of Memphis.
  11. "Science and the Bible", led by Dr. Joan Schmelz, Professor, Physics, University of Memphis.
  12. "Preserving Our Privacy—Does It Matter?", led by Dr. Sajjan Shiva, Chair and Professor, Computer  Sciences, University of Memphis.
  13. "Launching the Green Machine Mobile Food Market: The University of Memphis' Role in Promoting Urban Food Security", led by Dr. Kenneth M. Reardon, Professor, City & Regional Planning, University of Memphis.
  14. "Stressed Out: What It Does to Us and How It Impacts Health-Care Policy", led by Dr. Kathryn Hicks, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Memphis.
  15. "Five Worthwhile Cancer Screenings", led by Dr. Reed Baskin, Alumnus, Oncologist.

The Great Conversations offer an excellent example that a close relationship with a local University can provide opportunities to fulfill the missions of the English-Speaking Union to effect change through the spoken word and to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for members.  Membership in the Memphis Branch of the English-Speaking provides many opportunities, such as the Great Conversations, to participate in intellectually stimulating experiences along with social interactions with people interested in the missions of the English-Speaking Union.  The Great Conversations offer our members and others in the community both an educational and cultural opportunity with an impressive array of topics.  It will be an annual event for the Memphis Branch.

Do not miss the program on June 8th featuring Beatrice Chauvin, a principal speaker at the Delta Seminar, which will be both informative and interesting.


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