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Mary Tefft White Cultural Center

In Fall 2004, Mary Tefft (Happy) White provided Roger Williams University with a generous gift to launch the annual program, Mary Tefft White Lecture Series.  The following lectures are free and open to the public.

September 29                   John Hazen White, Jr.  (4:30 p.m.)

October 7                             Jim Shepard, author and professor of creative writing and film
                                                at Williams College In collaboration with the Rogers Free Library, Bristol
                                                (7:00 PM at Rogers Free Library)

Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, and four story collections. His third collection, Like You’d Understand, Anyway, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, DoubleTake, the New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Playboy, and he was a columnist on film for the magazine The Believer.  Four of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize.  He teaches at Williams College.


October 20                          Erin X. Smithers, Freelance Photographer  Jazz Photography, Blogging and the Family
                                                Moderated by Robert Eisinger, Dean of the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences

Erin X. Smithers is a freelance photographer and blogger. Born and raised in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Erin’s first introduction to jazz was from both her father and John Coltrane’s song Alabama, along with stories about the Civil Rights Movement in America. These opened the door and started a lifelong love of jazz for her, along with helping to form her strong beliefs in non-violence. From her father, Erin learned to be of service to others and to the world, and to empower herself with endless curiosity and learning.


November 17                     Semahagn Gashu Abebe, Visiting Ethiopian scholar  (4:30 p.m.)
                                               From the Ethiopian Classroom to Exile in America: a rescued scholar in Connecticut.

Dr. Semahagn Gashu Abebe, a rescued scholar from Ethiopia, currently is a visiting fellow at University of Connecticut. Prior to leaving Ethiopia, Dr. Abebe worked for several years as a university lecturer, a public prosecutor and an attorney. His primary focus is in human rights law, conflict studies, governance and development in Africa, federalism, traditional institutions and the law and African studies. Dr. Abebe received his PhD from the University of Goettingen in Germany. He also holds two LLMs from universities in the Netherlands and Germany, and has published extensively in European, African, and American academic journals on international economic law, constitutional theory, and traditional institutions and human rights in Africa.