National Geographic photographer presents at UNK World Affairs Conference


UNK Communications

KEARNEY – In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs will focus on how individuals and communities can positively impact the world.

Tom Clynes
Tom Clynes

Thoughtful and committed citizens who have changed the world will share their stories during the conference Sept. 29 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. The theme of this year’s conference is “Positive Engagement in the Global Community.”

“The world needs us to pursue our dreams,” said Bonnie Payne, international education outreach coordinator and event organizer. “Students today want to make an impact. It’s hard to believe that one person can make a difference, but when you hear the stories at the conference you realize you can.”

The conference, which is free and open to the public, features keynote speaker Tom Clynes, contributing editor and photographer at National Geographic Adventure.

His presentation – “Can One Person Really Change the World?” – will explore his assignments across the globe and people he has met who have turned ordinary lives into extraordinary, world-changing adventures. The keynote begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa E.

Clynes has covered environmental issues, science and adventure travel for the past decade. He also contributes to Popular Science, Men’s Journal, the New York Times, GQ and other publications.

Other speakers include Ken Pitkin from the Callaway United Methodist Church, who will discuss the church’s work building wells in Nigeria; Andrew Schindler from Tiny Hands International, who will speak about trafficking and homelessness; and Chuck Larsen from Water 4 Haiti, who will talk about Nebraskans 4 Haiti.

The world affairs conference began in 1964 to discuss global importance. The name of the conference was changed in 1988 to honor Professor James E. Smith.

For more information, go to

Full agenda for the World Affairs Conference:

Monday, Sept. 29

9 a.m. – Opening Remarks by Abdulwahab Akbar, President International Student Association and radiography/business administration major from Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Ponderosa E.

9:05 to 9:55 a.m. – “Give Peace (Corps) a Chance.” Anne Cummings, Lecturer and RN, Department of Biology and CHI Health Good Samaritan, Kearney; Jodi Garrelts, Law Student, University of Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln. Ponderosa E.

9:05 to 9:55 a.m. – “Small Nebraska Church Saving Lives: Callaway Nigeria Partnership.” Ken Pitkin, Chair Callaway Nigeria Partnership Committee Callaway United Methodist Church. Ponderosa A/B.

10:10 to 11:00 a.m. – “Intercepted: Trafficking and Homeless Victims.” Andrew Schindler, Project Manager Tiny Hands International, Lincoln. Ponderosa E.

10:10 to 11:00 a.m. – “Nebraskans 4 Haiti,” Chuck Larsen, Co-Founder Water 4 Haiti, Minden. Ponderosa A/B.

11:15 to 12:05 p.m. – “Nebraska Activism and Human Rights: The Palestinian Struggle.” Sandy Hanna, Katie Huerter and Nader Qaud, Members, Palestinian Rights Task Force of Nebraskans for Peace, Omaha. Ponderosa E.

11:15 to 12:05 p.m. – “World Health: Can One Person Make a Difference?” Mike Gross, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon GIKK Ortho Specialists, Omaha. Ponderosa A/B.

1:25 to 2:15 p.m. – “Music: Bridge Divides, Build Community, Heal Wounds of War.” Laura Hassler, Founder and Director Musicians without Borders, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This session features video clips introducing the Mitrovica Rock School in Kosovo, Rwanda Youth Music, Palestine Community Music, and From Woman to Woman projects led by Musicians without Borders, a global network organization using music for healing and reconciliation in areas torn by war and conflict. The session will conclude with musicians without Borders founder and director answering questions and making additional comments via video-conferencing. Ponderosa E.

1:25 to 2:15 p.m. – “South Sudan: One Person’s Impact in Healthcare.” Joseph Dumba, M.D. The Healing Kadi Foundation, Omaha. Ponderosa A/B.

2:30 to 3:20 p.m. – “Trade vs. Aid: Two Approaches to Poverty Alleviation.” Dusty Reynolds, Co-Founder and CEO RaceNote, Omaha; Sri Seshadri, Professor UNK Department of Marketing and MIS. Ponderosa E.

7:30 p.m. – “Can One Person Really Change the World?” Tom Clynes, author and photojournalist, Brattleboro, VT. Ponderosa E.


Source: Bonnie Payne, 308.865.8939,
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529,

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