UNK- The James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs will take place at the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus March 4-7, 2000. Sponsored by the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, the 2000 conference theme is “Images of Culture.”
Speakers and performers representing over 15 countries will be guests at UNK during the week giving lectures and presentations on subjects ranging from music’s impact on culture to U.S. influence on Australian politics. Government officials from Canada, Chile, India, Japan, South Africa and Sweden have been invited to attend the 2000 event as well as Fulbright Scholars Marian Kempny from Poland, Daniel Bach from France, and Muhammad Khalid from Pakistan.
The conference opens Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. with a presentation by Brane Kivokovic of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. His discussion of “Cultural Impact on Film” will lead into a film festival at 2 p.m. The film festival, featuring 17 foreign films, is a new addition to the Conference, and both presentations will take place in the Cottonwood Room of the Nebraskan Student Union .
A community reception is also scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday evening at the Museum of Nebraska Art. Chancellor Gladys Styles Johnston will give the conference welcome. Dr. Rodney Miller, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities will introduce the evening’s speaker, Gregory Whitecliffe. Whitecliff is a tribal chieftain from New Zealand and president of Whitecliffe College. An exhibit of his artwork will also be at MONA during the month of March. The UNK Choraleers choir will provide entertainment.
Sunday evening will feature Russian pianist Gregroy Haimovsky at 7 p.m. at MONA. Haimovsky was one of two artists whom Mr. Brehznev allowed to emigrate from Russia in a 1970’s agreement with the U.S. He and two assistants will perform a concert that evening.
A keynote address will be given Monday at 9 a.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall. Introducing the keynote speaker will be Nancy Smith, daughter of the conference namesake James E. Smith. Nancy works in the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington D.C. Joel Swerdlow, assistant editor of National Geographic and an extensive writer on global culture will then give his presentation titled, “One Billion Cokes a Day: World Culture at the Millennium.” Swerdlow will also meet with UNK and area high school students and speak at several sessions during the day. Panel discussions involving government officials, dignitaries, performers and special guests will also begin Monday.
Bringing the Conference to a close will be International Food Festival sponsored by the International Student Association Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the Health and Sports Center. Featured at the event will be Canadian folk group Hart Rouge. They will perform during the Food Festival.
Also new to the 2000 conference will be a collection of tiles, to be made a permanent display in the Nebraskan Student Union, that depict the hopes and dreams for the new millennium of international students studying in Nebraska.
Kay Horner, coordinator of the James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs, said the 2000 event, will encompass many different interests.
“Though the World Affairs Conference is hosted by the College of Fine Arts and Humanities this year, an effort has been made to create sessions that are appealing to all disciplines,” she said.
The first World Affairs Conference was held in 1964 under the direction of James Todd. In 1966, James E. Smith joined the UNK faculty and brought his influence to the conferences that were held every year from 1964-1975. Due to a lack of funding in the twelve-year period between 1976 and 1988, the conference was not held but was re-instated in 1988 as the James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs. Since then, the World Affairs Conference has been included in the annual budget of the university. Each year the leadership of the event rotates among the four undergraduate collegesÑFine Arts and Humanities, Education, Natural and Social Sciences, and Business and Technology.
The three main goals of the World Affairs Conference are (1) to introduce important global issues to the students and local community; (2) to expose conference participants to a variety of viewpoints from other countries; and (3) to promote international education.
For more information on the James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs, contact Kay Horner at (308) 865-5758 or Jerry Fox at (308) 865-8246.