2002 Symposium Keynote Address
“How To Get A Job Like Mine”
7:00 p.m., Thursday, April 18, 2002
Kurt Vonnegut is firmly established as one of the leading figures in 20th-century American literature, with seventeen novels, several plays, and scores of short stories to his credit. Vonnegut's works have been translated into several languages and reviewed and analyzed by critics and scholars worldwide. His work has also been adapted for or influenced numerous television, theatre, and movie productions, and has inspired musicians, including the Grateful Dead, Ambrosia, and groups in Canada and the Netherlands.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Vonnegut spent three years pursuing a degree in chemistry from Cornell University before joining the Army and being sent to Europe in 1944. He was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, and survived the Dresden bombings as a POW, an experience that was the basis for his bestselling novel, Slaughterhouse-Five.
Upon his return to the U.S., Vonnegut received the Purple Heart. After attending the University of Chicago, he obtained a job as a reporter for the Chicago City News Bureau. Vonnegut later worked as a publicist for General Electric, taught English at a private school, and opened the second Saab dealership in North America. In 1971, he received an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
His creative writing career began in the late 1940s, with short stories published in several large-circulation magazines, including Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post. Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and became a Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club selection in 1953. His later novels include The Sirens of Titan (1959), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), Breakfast of Champions (1973), and Hocus Pocus (1990).
Vonnegut has held prestigious teaching appointments at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Harvard University, and the City University of New York (where he served as Distinguished Professor of English Prose). He is the past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (to research Slaughterhouse-Five) and a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant. Vonnegut was elected vice president of P.E.N. American Center, and vice president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2000, he was appointed State Author of New York. He resides in New York City.
2011 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address
“The Story of Stuff”
7:00 p.m., Thursday, April 14, 2011
Annie Leonard is author of The Story of Stuff, the book, published by Free Press of Simon and Schuster on March 9, 2010.
Annie has spent nearly two decades investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues. She has traveled to 40 countries, visiting literally hundreds of factories where our stuff is made and dumps where our stuff is dumped. Witnessing firsthand the horrendous impacts of both over- and under- consumption around the world, Annie is fiercely dedicated to reclaiming and transforming our industrial and economic systems so they serve, rather than undermine, ecological sustainability and social equity.
Annie is currently the Director of The Story of Stuff Project. Prior to this, most recently, Annie coordinated the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, a funder collaborative seeking to address the hidden environmental and social impacts of current systems of making, using and throwing away all the stuff of daily life.
She has also worked with GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives), Health Care Without Harm, Essential Action and Greenpeace International.
Annie is currently on the boards of International Forum for Globalization and GAIA and has previously served on the Boards of the Grassroots Recycling Network, the Environmental Health Fund, Global Greengrants India and Greenpeace India. She did her undergraduate studies at Barnard College, Columbia University and graduate work in City and Regional Planning at Cornell, both in New York. She is currently based in the Bay Area, California.
About the Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address Endowment.
1999 Symposium Keynote Address
“Geological Immensity and Human Insignificance: The Proper Scale of Our Ecological
11:00 a.m., Thursday, April 15, 1999
Wade Davis is an ethnobotanist and photographer whose research has spanned cultures and environments around the globe. Working for the Harvard Botanical Museum, Davis lived with tribal groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work in Haiti, investigating folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, inspired him to write two books, Passage of Darkness and The Serpent and the Rainbow . The latter was an international bestseller which later became a major motion picture. Davis has also produced books and television documentaries on his travels and research in Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Native American tribes in Canada and the United States.
Davis' other books include Nomads of the Dawn , Shadows in the Sun , and Penan: Voice for the Borneo Rain Forest , which is being adapted by Warner Bros. for feature film release. He has published more than 50 scientific articles and has written for such publications as Newsweek , Premiere , Outside , Omni and Harper's . Davis' documentaries for television include the Discovery Channel's 13-part series, "Earthguide."
In addition to continuing his ethnobotanical research, Davis lectures widely. He has addressed the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society and the Royal Ontario and British Columbia Museums, along with many other national scientific organizations and more than 50 universities.
Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology, and received a doctorate in ethnobotany from Harvard University.
2010 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address
“Between Two Worlds: An Evening With Mira Nair”
7:00 p.m., Thursday, April 22, 2010
Mira Nair is the rare, prolific filmmaker who fluidly moves between Hollywood and independent cinema. After several years of making documentary films, Mira Nair made a stunning entry on to the world stage with her first feature, SALAAM BOMBAY! (1988), now hailed as a classic. The film received more than 25 international awards, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Film, BAFTA, and the Camera D’Or (for best first feature) and Prix du Publique (for most popular entry) at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988.
In the following decade, Nair directed four features: MISSISSIPPI MASALA (1991), THE PEREZ FAMILY (1995), KAMA SUTRA: A TALE of LOVE (1996), and MY OWN COUNTRY (1998). In 2001, Nair's MONSOON WEDDING won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, becoming one of the highest grossing foreign films of all time. In 2002, Nair directed HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS for HBO which gave the channel its highest original film ratings ever, winning a Golden Globe for star Uma Thurman, and 3 Emmy Awards for Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara and design. In 2004, Nair directed Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp in Focus Features' stunning adaptation of Thackeray's VANITY FAIR. A year later, Nair's adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's bestselling novel THE NAMESAKE became another critical and commercial success for the director. Her latest film, Amelia, starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere, has sparked a fresh wave of interest in one of America's first (and most enduring) celebrities and proto-feminists, Amelia Earhart.
A long time activist, Nair divides her energies between filmmaking and her two successful non-profit organisations. In 1988 she used the profits of SALAAM BOMBAY! to create the Salaam Baalak Trust which has directly impacted government policy on streetchildren in India. 20 years later, the trust’s 25 centers provide a safe and nurturing environment for 5000 street children annually. In 2005 Nair founded Maisha, a filmmakers' training program based in East Africa. In its 5 years of operation, Maisha has trained hundreds of students from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania in screenwriting, directing, producing, acting, sound design, editing, and cinematography.
Equally committed to the short film form, Nair has directed six films, all of which are included on the Criterion Collection's forthcoming compilation of her work. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Mira joined a group of eleven renowned filmmakers; her film is a retelling of a true story of a mother’s search for her son who did not return home on that fateful day. In 2007 Nair's New York based production company, Mirabai Films, produced AIDS JAAGO, a series of 4 short films made by India's cutting-edge directors and stars. The series, designed to help de-stigmatize AIDS in India, has been seen by over 2 million viewers worldwide. Nair's own short film for the series, called MIGRATION, deals with AIDS as the class leveler in society by following its transmission through interweaving stories linking rural and urban India. Nair also directed a segment of the feature film '8' as one of eight directors each creating a short film to address a different Millienium Development Goal. Her film,"How Can It Be" deals with gender equality. "Kosher Vegetarian", Mira's segment of the feature film NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, stars Natalie Portman and Irrfan Khan.
After the release of AMELIA, Ms. Nair has returned to the theatre from where she started, directing a spectacular musical on Broadway based on her beloved film, MONSOON WEDDING. Her forthcoming feature will be an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's bestselling novel, THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST, to be filmed in New York, Pakistan and Chile in 2010.
Mira Nair was born in India and educated at both Delhi University and Harvard. She currently lives in New York City and Kampala, Uganda with her husband and son.
About the Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address Endowment.