Cameron University to focus on American Identities in the 21st Century for Academic Festival X

graphic image of festival logoCameron University has selected “American Identities in the 21st Century” as the theme for its 10th  academic  festival, a dynamic, privately funded, year-long symposium that explores a topic worthy of in-depth study. Through a series of presentations by nationally recognized speakers, Cameron will consider three distinct aspects of the festival theme: “Social Justice and the American Dream,” “Migration, Immigration and Emigration” and “America’s Place in the World: Power, Diplomacy and Commerce.”

“Cameron’s triennial academic festival has established a reputation for bringing thought-provoking, informative and entertaining speakers to southwest Oklahoma,” says Cameron President John McArthur. “Academic Festival X is no exception. We look forward to welcoming community members from throughout the region to these presentations as well as to other festival-related activities.”

Nationally acclaimed experts will headline Academic Festival X. Author/journalist Charles Mann, media correspondent and activist Michele Norris, and General (Retired) Jack Keane will share their expertise and perspectives in a series of individual speaking engagements.

Charles MannThe festival kicks off on Thursday, September 28, with a presentation by best-selling author/journalist Charles Mann. Mann is the author of “1491,” a nationally acclaimed history of the Americas before Columbus that received the National Academy of Science's Keck Award for Best Book of the Year. Mann’s follow-up, “1493”, covers the global effects of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. As a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and Science, Mann has covered the intersection of science, technology, and commerce for many newspapers and magazines here and abroad, including Bioscience, Fortune, Geo, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Paris-Match, Smithsonian, Der Stern, Technology Review, The Washington Post, and Wired.

He is the co-author of four other books, among them “The Second Creation” (a history of particle physics) and “Noah’s Choice” (a study of biodiversity). A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, Mann has received writing prizes from the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Physics, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Margaret Sanger Foundation. In 2008 the American Geographical Society named him an Honorary Geographer.

Michele NorrisFormer NPR host and special correspondent and founder of The Race Card Project, award-winning journalist Michele Norris will take the speaker’s dais on Thursday, November 9. Norris served as co-host of NPR's newsmagazine “All Things Considered,” public radio's longest-running national program, from December 2002 until stepping away from the program during the 2012 presidential campaign.  While on sabbatical, Norris travelled the country and developed two successful initiatives, The Race Card Project and NPR's Backseat Book Club. The Race Card Project encourages people to condense their observations and experiences about race into one sentence with just six words. Norris and collaborators won a 2014 Peabody Award for the project.

In September 2010, Norris released, “The Grace of Silence: A Memoir,” which focuses on how America talks about race in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidential election and explores her own family's racial legacy.  It was called one of the best books of 2010 by The Christian Science Monitor. Using her memoir as a catalyst for conversation, Norris has addressed thousands of students through campus “One Book” programs, encouraging discussions about the history of race relations in the U.S.

Jack KeaneGeneral (Retired) Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, will continue Academic Festival X on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. His presentation will impart a thorough and authoritative assessment of the national and global security landscapes and outline the keys to effective leadership in dynamic and unpredictable settings.  A four-star general and the former chief operations officer for the U.S. Army, a frequent FOX News contributor and a close advisor to the Trump administration, Gen. Keane is distinguished for his acute understanding of the constant and evolving threats facing our country and strategies for defending against them.

Long recognized as a steadfast and effective leader, during his four years as the vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Keane managed a global organization of more than one million soldiers, 250,000 civilian employees and a $118 billion budget. He was also responsible for maintaining positive relationships between the Army and Congress, the media, the American people, and policymakers.

On stage, Gen. Keane opens eyes with a no-holds-barred examination of the state of the country, the world and what it will take to protect America and secure it for future generations. As he candidly discusses the challenges and successes he faced at the helm of an institution where leadership is taught, practiced, and studied as a core value, Gen. Keane leaves audiences with a refined awareness of today’s unpredictable world and a deep understanding of what it takes to lead in the face of uncertainty.

The McCasland Foundation of Duncan is the primary sponsor of “American Identities in the 21st Century.” Over the years, financial support for the Academic Festivals has come from the McCasland/Amquest Bank Endowed Chair, established by the McCasland Foundation in 1989. Additional funding for this year’s festival is provided by the Cameron University Foundation and through Cameron University Lectures and Concerts Series.

“American Identities in the 21st Century” continues Cameron’s popular series of Academic Festivals. Cameron’s first Academic Festival, “Year of the Renaissance,” took place in 1991-92. Themes of previous Academic Festivals included cultural diversity; science and technology; bridging the millennium; globalization and the human experience; health and wellness; the country of Afghanistan’ and, most recently, an in-depth study of the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainability.

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June 8, 2017