This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo Credit: Sylvia Plachy, courtesy of Random House.

A Sampling of March Speakers

Kelly Edwards ’85, Vice President, Talent Development, NBC Universal, will lecture on March 5 at 1:00 p.m. in room 212 of Sanders Hall, chronicling her trek from studying at Vassar College to developing a wide range of television shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Living Single. Edwards has been with NBC Universal as the vice president of talent development since 2007, recruiting diverse creative executives, writers, and directors for the company. Previously, Edwards served as senior vice president for comedy development at UPN, where she developed a number of television series, includingGirlfriendsOne on OneTwo Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza PlaceThe Random YearsMalcolm in the MiddleDilbert; and The Parkers. Prior to her tenure at UPN, Edwards held several key positions in comedy development at the Fox Broadcasting Company, as manager, director, and executive director. She helped to create the television series Living SingleCluelessThe Wild Thornberrys, and Ned and Stacey. She was also responsible for identifying a number of actors and stand-up comedians for development deals, including Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, D.L. Hughley, and Dave Chappelle.

Adrienne Germain, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), will deliver a lecture entitled “A New Global Agenda for Girls’ and Women’s Health and Rights” on March 25. Germain has worked to reshape and revolutionize global policy on women’s health, human rights, and reproductive rights since the 1970s, and continues to do so through IHWC. Under her leadership, the coalition has created international policy innovations and assisted in the creation of local organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain at Georgetown University, and Professor Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations at Hartford Seminary, will lead a discussion entitled “Religion in the Middle East: A Force for Violence or Peace?” on March 26. Hendi, the author of numerous publications on the topics of women and gender relations in Islam and Islam in the United States, also directs the PEACE office of the Muslim American Society. Landau’s work has been focused on the fields of interfaith education and Jewish-Arab peacemaking; he has lectured internationally on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and Middle East peace issues. The two will discuss the roles of religion and religious leaders in the Middle East conflict, followed by an interactive question-and-answer session.

Ross Benjamin ’03, translator of German literature and writer, will read and discuss his new translation of Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion on March 30. After graduating from Vassar, Benjamin was a 2003-04 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and a 2005 Woolrich Writing Fellow at Columbia University. His work has appeared in BookforumThe NationThe Times Literary Supplement, and The New York Times. His translation of Hyperion was published in 2008, as was his translation of Kevin Vennemann’s Close to Jedenew.

Ed Park, pictured, author of the novel Personal Days, will read on March 31, as part of the English department’s First Proof reading series. First Proof features lectures and readings by young writers, most of whom have just published their first work. Personal Days, praised as “comic and creepy” by The New Yorker and “witty and appealing” by The New York Times Book Review, was one of Timemagazine’s ten best fiction titles of 2008. Park is a founding editor of The Believer and a former editor of the Voice Literary Supplement. His reading will be at 5:00 p.m. in the Class of ’51 reading room of the Vassar Library. The English department’s First Proof series, Primary Sources series, and Public Voices series bring a wide variety of readings and lectures to campus, all of which are free and open to the public.

March 2009

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